Zack Snyder: ‘Man of Steel’ sequel explodes Superman, Batman universes

March 03, 2014 | 4:57 p.m.
supes lex21 Zack Snyder: Man of Steel sequel explodes Superman, Batman universes

Jesse Eisenberg will star as Lex Luthor in the upcoming "Man of Steel" sequel. (Jim Lee / DC Entertainment; Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

supe alfred1 Zack Snyder: Man of Steel sequel explodes Superman, Batman universes

Jeremy Irons will play Alfred Pennyworth in the upcoming "Man of Steel" sequel. (Brian Bolland / DC Entertainment; Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

supes affleck Zack Snyder: Man of Steel sequel explodes Superman, Batman universes

Ben Affleck has been cast as Batman opposite Henry Cavill's Superman in the upcoming "Man of Steel" sequel. (Ethan Van Sciver / DC Entertainment; Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

supe galgadot Zack Snyder: Man of Steel sequel explodes Superman, Batman universes

Actress and model Gal Gadot, best known for her work in the "Fast & Furious" film franchise, has been cast as Wonder Woman in Zack Snyder's upcoming "Man of Steel" sequel. (Alex Ross / DC Entertainment; Handout)

The untitled “Man of Steel” sequel hasn’t yet gone into production, and it’s already the most controversial movie in fandom.

Chalk that up to director Zack Snyder’s somewhat unconventional casting choices. First, comics stalwarts expressed surprise and skepticism in August with the revelation that Ben Affleck would inherit the cape and cowl from actor Christian Bale, taking on the role of Batman opposite Henry Cavill’s Superman in Snyder’s much-anticipated superhero sequel, the follow-up to his 2013 blockbuster that grossed more than $668 million at the worldwide box office.

Then came the announcement that Israeli actress Gal Gadot, best known for her work in the “Fast & Furious” films, would play Diana Prince/Wonder Woman in the movie, and the uproar started anew. Just last month, fresh fandemonium was heaped upon the movie with the announcement that boyish “Social Network” star Jesse Eisenberg, 30, had claimed the part of Superman’s traditionally burly, bald and middle-aged arch nemesis Lex Luthor.

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A month before physical production on the Superman-Batman movie is set to begin – and just days before the Friday opening of the Snyder-produced “300: Rise of an Empire,” director Noam Murro’s follow-up to Snyder’s revolutionary 2007 action film “300” — Hero Complex caught up with the filmmaker who revealed exclusive details about his latest directorial project. (Look for more on “300: Rise of an Empire” later in the week.)

Snyder spoke candidly about keeping tabs on fanboy “talk-back” and how outcry is “reassuring and frustrating at the same time.”

"Man of Steel" director Zack Snyder in New York on June 10, 2013. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

“Man of Steel” director Zack Snyder in New York on June 10, 2013. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Hero Complex: Have you started filming ‘Superman-Batman’?

Zack Snyder: We’re getting ready to start shooting in a month or so. It’s going great. I’m very excited. It’s very fun to get into this world with different heroes coexisting in the same universe, but a lot of balls in the air as they say. As a fan, it’s an amazing opportunity. You know, Superman and Batman in the movies have never existed in the same frame together. So it’s an interesting historical thing. We were just testing the suits, right? The new Batsuit and the Superman suit. It wasn’t even with the actors, right? It was just to see ’em. I was standing there, they were standing next to each other. And I was like, “Guys, someone take a picture! This has never happened before.” We slightly dork out. Like, “Are you kidding me?!”

HC: How surprised are you by all the outcry over some of your casting choices? From Gal Gadot to Ben playing Batman? Jesse as Lex Luthor?

ZS: There are two ways to think about it. We know the material. Unfortunately, the fans don’t know the material. So, we’re casting according to what’s happening in the script. And we’re hoping that leads to enough originality, enough perspective on what we’re doing that you get something fresh and exciting. I understand the canon. I’m not crazy. I know what these characters need from a mythological standpoint. I think Jesse is going to be an amazing Lex. Let’s not forget he was nominated for an Academy Award. It’s not like I just grabbed my friend to play the guy! This guy’s the real deal. By the way, in looking at all the talk-back, you can get all different perspectives in there too. Some people are hating to hate. Some people — someone did some fan art. And you look underneath and someone wrote, “I guess I can see it.” Honestly, are you kidding me? Just stop it! It’s reassuring and frustrating at the same time.

HC: It seems like you’re not insulating yourself from fan dialogue about the project. You’re out there listening to what people have to say. But ultimately, you are trying to serve the material. So what you’re saying is, fans should take heart in that.

ZS: Not just that. [The movie] literally takes the “Man of Steel” and “Batman” universes and explodes them. You’re not as tied to the mythology. In “Man of Steel,” we had to create an origin story, a mythology, and there’s a lot of energy into that, which we love doing. Don’t get me wrong. But when you think about how fun it is too — now that you’ve got these characters — to now let ’em loose. That’s fun!

— Chris Lee | @LATHeroComplex


Christian Bale plays Bruce Wayne in "The Dark Knight Rises." (Ron Phillips / DC Comics / Warner Bros.)‘Superman/Batman’: Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor

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60 Responses to Zack Snyder: ‘Man of Steel’ sequel explodes Superman, Batman universes

  1. John Daker says:

    Snyder = cool guy

  2. Ruben says:

    This sounds great from Zack, I wish all the best for the movie, I am very excited to see in theaters in 2 years time.

  3. Ally says:

    Does anyone know if Superman will kill even more innocent people in the sequel than he did in Man Of Steel?

  4. Scott says:

    Man of Steel came out in 2013…

  5. I thought some filming had already happened. Wasn’t there a shoot of a football game between Gotham and Metropolis?

  6. Allred Pennyworth says:

    Only problem is, you don't have ¨these characters¨. You've merely created a cool looking context and suit for one character and his 'emotional beats' to happen in (unsuccessfully, I might add). Having looked at the whole of cinematic history & what Snyder represents is an extreme of a trend I hope will pass. The cinematographer who thinks, in hubris, that he can direct performance.
    His filmography speaks otherwise. If Amy freaking Adams seems wooden & out of place in your film – it tells me you need to reel yourself back a bit, rather than explode a whole universe on-screen in one movie, as he plans. Avengers didn't explode – it built carefully, every scene presenting essential conflict between 2 or 3 characters at a time- acted out believably & light-heartedly, despite their other-worldliness. Brand recognition over content is the real reason MoS made any bank, in my eyes. The New 52 is burying DC publishing by alienating readers with jarring, unecessarily ¨cool¨ & inconsistent changes. Snyder might just be a place holder, for better things to come, as it seems with DC's publishing arm, which is a mess ….

  7. Myron Nash says:

    Man of Steel was awesome. I'm really lookin' forward to see the sequel. Can't wait to see how it plays out. A crossover between Superman and Batman along with Wonder Woman. How intresting. I wish you all the best of luck, Zack Snyder.

  8. Cliff Rivera says:

    I TRUST SNYDER. Why? Because I saw Watchmen and Man of Steel.

  9. Patrick Brunet says:

    I like Ben Affleck chosen for Batman,I enjoyed daredevil,unlike most I can see beyond the opinions of “movie critics” and “”box office revenues”. I.also like the idea of Gal Gadot as wonder woman,however Jesse Eisenberg looks/sounds nothing at all like the Lex Luthor character,and the villains rumored to be in Batman vs Superman are way too early,the timelines are all screwed up with Batman being supposedly semi-retired,I’m gonna sadly skip this one,such a shame.

  10. jj says:

    There have been countless versions and stories re supes and batman in the comics. Zack is just another talented dude that is lucky enough to tell his story on the big screen. Relax. Enjoy the epic visuals. This is a great time to be a comic book fan.

  11. Karmick says:

    Have lots of faith in Zack & the whole gang for the MOS sequel. I’ve loved everything he’s done, incl. Sucker Punch, & to think of all the possibilities to come after a blast out origin piece to DC’s Big Screen Universe like Man of Steel has me licking my lips.

    SO cheers to Here comes #2, albeit a tad slower than I’d like.

  12. Ron says:

    Interesting to contrast this more typical approach to movie making (completely recasting roles and changing core props like the suits from movie to movie) against the Marvel approach of interlocking each movie with the same actors and contiguous storylines to create continuity. Overall I think I prefer the Marvel approach to the continual 'reboot' excuse for changing core elements of each story

  13. knockerofflatulence says:

    This movie is another attempt at the already failed comic book genre.

    Can’t wait for this genre of films to die.

  14. Bird says:

    regardless of whatever direction the story is going in, or that the fans don't know what direction it is going in, that's no excuse to justify the terrible casting choice of Eisenberg. so please don't try and calm fans nerves with bullcrap Snyder. just replace him with someone more acceptable before filming begins. you are taking a character who people love to hate and putting an actor many find irritating to even look at in his shoes. even the thought of this kid trying to act tough is laughable. possibly little kids will find him menacing, but adults will think it's a joke. goofy! and as I'm sure Lex will be a recurring character throughout the series, that's a very large risk to take of tainting all future films with someone so completely wrong for the part. as much as I bitched about the rumors of Denzel Washingtn, they couldn't have chose anyone worse then Eisenberg, and I'd be more accepting of a black Lex over that turd.

  15. Mike says:

    Will there be more senseless killing in the sequel? I'm wondering if Snyder can make Superman less heroic this time. He's set the bar pretty low.

  16. Dan says:

    I thought Man of Steel was ok until the last big fight where he just about wrecks Metropolis. The same scene in Christopher Reed's Superman 2 had him lure Zod and co to his Fortess of Solitude to avoid innocent deaths, and outwit Zod haha!

  17. jos3 says:

    Is their a batman origin story atleast

  18. B Antonetty says:

    I read Snyder's comments on the fan reaction to the Man of Steel Sequel so in case he forgot, WE PAY YOUR SALARY!!!! Haven't you ever heard that the customers always right? If we don't see the movie you're out of a job so I'd try to make a movie that the fans will enjoy, not what you think we should enjoy. Snyder has made great cinema in the past, but I think his past success is blinding his decision making in this current project.
    My father always said " That if something isn't broken, don't try to fix it".
    If Christian Bale backed out of playing the Dark knight I'm almost certain it was because of where Snyder was going with the character. As soon as that happened, Warner bros should have tried to work something out with Christopher Nolan and postpone production. I agree with the negative reaction to the end fight scene in Man of Steel, anyone who reads Superman comics knows that he put the lives of others ahead of anything including himself. So to have this huge slobber knocker in the end in which innocents were killed made no sense to the Superman character. Now if people didn't like that, just imagine what Snyder will bring in the sequel.
    What Snyder doesn't understand is that when you tamper with what a comic writers idea, image and essence of a character that has been loved by so many for generations, that you'll always loose.
    I thought the whole Frank Miller story line of Batman defeating Superman was stupid and ill conceived.
    Let's see, you have a man essentially with gadgets in a suit, intelligent, taking on a man who is impervious to anything on the planet earth, and who should be just as or more intelligent. (I don't know maybe the yellow sun doesn't effect Superman's brain), and the guy in the bat suit wins??? Hell in that case Batman would have no problem with Darksied or Mongol. Hey, Miller lets do a cross universe where Batman takes on Galactus and beats him too, not very plausible now?
    Oh yea, that's right he used kryptonite, because you can find kryptonite at any hardware store in the neighborhood. Please what a joke!!!! I suppose Batman also had a sample of Superman's DNA to figure out that Kryptonite had a negative effect on his body or did Lois Lane published that in the daily planet I forget? Also, how about using someone other than Lex Luthor? Superman has a plethora of great villains. Brainiac, Lobo, Parasite, Livewire, Bazzarro just a few that come to mind, come on let's move on from Lex?
    With all that being said I'm not expecting too much from Snyder's next project but as we all can see from the casting alone it'll be a train wreck that we all will be happy to look away, I know I will. When Warner Brothers comes to their senses and gets Bale and Nolan back and pairs them with Cavill, that'll be a movie everyone can enjoy cause Snyder is not the man for this project.

  19. Mer says:

    The last time i heard, this was supposed to be a Superman movie. But it seems he would have to share so much billing with so many other superheroes. Come on guys let us be realistic here. We didnt have enough of Superman the last time around, he in fact had a lot of issues to settle to himself, the world, and to the Fans and then they bring him back with other big timesuperherous the next time around? How many minutes of exposure is he getting in this sequel? We would have accepted if early on the producers had been honest enough to admit that it wasnt a Superman movie they were doing but Justice League. Just my two cents

  20. Mystikwizard says:

    Why on Earth is he casting a 30 year old to play Lex Luthor?

  21. Skyden says:

    Because Lex is younger in this universe. It's not a Justice League movie. I have faith in the characters.

  22. Louis Kranyak says:

    Hope they upgrade the costume to look like the comics!

  23. Will W. IV says:

    I don’t follow the comics as avidly as most of the fans that post here so forgive me if what I write has a hue of ignorance. I feel that aside from the obvious fiction and fantasy of a being like superman truly existing Snyder opened up the character with the realism that when violence of the magnitude depicted in his fight scenes occurs in reality there will most assuredly be at the very least massive carnage and most definitely casualties or loss of life. Has anyone that’s posted here heard of friendly fire or collateral damage. Even a being such as superman would b unable to save everyone. And if memory serves he did try to fly away from the area more than once and was stopped by Zod and his troops as well as our government. Seems like some fans are looking for perfection in superman and one thing which shouldn’t b forgotten is that superman despite his powers and kryptonian birth is also a human in terms of his imperfection and lack of omnipotence. After all, he’s not god, which would truly b the only force I feel capable of preventing all loss of life or limb. This brings him closer to the real world I feel and if nothing else makes him more human than alot of true humans. Many of us have the capacity to help our fellow man or even save lives here and there and most don’t. Well, that’s my 2 cents worth and if nothing else perhaps it can b food for thought. I look forward to the sequel, seems different and interesting.

  24. Gary McClain says:

    I liked Man of Steel and thought Synder did a great job of bringing some originality to General Zod and the Clark Kent story. Kostner did a good job as the father of Clark Kent and it was nice to see a deviation from the Superman 2 script. The reason this film grossed over a half of a billion bucks is due to catching the public off guard with something fresh. Anyone who can pull that off should be given the benefit of the doubt on the sequel. Why jump all over a script that has not been finished?? I do not have a problem with the final fight scene because that is a closer version to the reality we are living in today. Our world is much more violent than it was 40 years ago, so why not reflect this in film? Synder has every right to portray the film the way he thinks it should be written, since he is the one creating the franchise. Let's kick back and enjoy the ride!!

  25. Mark says:

    I tend to think that the last fight scene in MOS will lead into some inner turmoil for Superman-realizing the destruction caused by the fight, and dealing with taking Zod's life. I am wondering if Batman will come forward in a mentoring type of role for a more immature Superman who is learning to deal with his very public personality and responsibilities.

  26. Grim says:

    I wanted current actor to play batman, he was good in "The dark knight" and "Dark knight rises". Ben would be better as "Flash" than "Batman". Hope it all works out when this movie hit the theaters>

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