Movie Talk

‘Man of Steel’ Viral Spot Issues a Command From Superman’s Enemy General Zod

Movie Talk

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Michael Shannon as General Zod in 'Man of Steel'

Michael Shannon as General Zod in 'Man of Steel' (Photo: Clay Enos/Entertainment Weekly)

Superman's most fearsome foe is back, and he'd like to have a word with you.

A new video for this summer's "Man of Steel" presents a static-filled message from General Zod (played by Michael Shannon) to both the citizens of Earth and the lone Kryptonian living amongst them, Kal-El (better known around these parts as Superman). Zod wants Superman -- who, of course, was sent to our planet as a child — returned to him. We can deliver him, or he can give himself up in 24 hours, otherwise, Zod promises that Earth will "suffer the consequences."

Watch the viral spot for 'Man of Steel':

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Terrence Stamp as Zod

Terrence Stamp as Zod in 'Superman II' (Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures)

You don't really see Michael Shannon's face through the static in the video, but his words alone tell you this is a much different interpretation of the character of Zod. The General was originally played by Terrence Stamp, briefly at the beginning of the original 1978 "Superman," and then leading the trio of villains in 1980's "Superman II." Stamp's portrayal of Zod as an escaped convict from the Phantom Zone was both unhinged and imperious, famously commanding Superman (Christopher Reeve) to "Kneel before Zod!"

Shannon's take on the villain looks to be very different, and not just because he dropped the mustache and British accent. The Oscar-nominated actor (for 2009's "Revolutionary Road") told Entertainment Weekly that his Zod isn't crazy so much as dangerously proud of his home world. Shannon said, "He actually has some affection for anybody who's a Kryptonian, including Superman… He doesn't really have any malignant feelings towards him; he just wants him to be patriotic." In other words, Zod may not want Superman to kneel, necessarily, just help him bring the human race to their knees.

Superman's divided loyalties looks to be a major factor in the story of "Man of Steel," which is written and produced by the team that previously reinvented the Caped Crusader in "Batman Begins." British-born actor Henry Cavill, who dons Superman's red cape this time around, told EW that his outsider status lies at the heart of the new film. Cavill said, "Imagine what it would be like to be someone like Clark Kent/Kal-El, and feel like a stranger amongst even those you love, never developing full relationships with people for fear of them discovering how much of a freak you are… It's just a lonely existence."

We should be getting a better look at Zod's efforts to capture Superman and subjugate humanity when the new trailer for "Man of Steel" arrives soon. There is what looks to be a countdown in Kryptonian numbers on the website IWillFindHim.com which is ticking down the seconds to some big reveal. It will have to hold us, because the movie doesn't swoop into theaters until June 14.

Watch the previous trailer for 'Man of Steel':

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