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?

    • Sonny Crockett says:

      I hope so….starting in alphabetical order. Good idea, ALLY?)

    • Joey1013 says:

      Your a Moron. He didn't kill any innocent people in movie, Zod is not innocent. You didn't see one innocent person die from Superman. You seem to fan of cheezy Superman 2 movie which Superman murdered a depowered Zod?

      If you didn't read Superman comics shut up.

      • guest says:

        So it's okay to kill a bunch of unborn children without even flinching claiming they already had their chance, but the guy who swore 45 minutes ago that he was going to annihilate the planet must have a few shed of tears because he apparently had a chance right? ;)

      • Tom says:

        There were no unborn children in the birthing matrix.
        All he did was destroy a bunch of artificial wombs.

      • guest1204 says:

        That genesis chamber was inoperable, your comment is invalid.

      • John says:

        So, you didn't see all those skyscrapers come down? Just because the filmmakers didn't show people people crushed under tons of steel and concrete doesn't meant that they weren't. Of course there would be people in those buildings, you nit. So, Superman, as depicted in MOS, was responsible for the deaths of likely THOUSANDS. If he didn't come to earth, Zod would not have been after him, and all those unseen innocents would not be buried under all that rubble.

      • sugarcoater says:

        Lol, Joey1013 calls out someone for being a moron, yet can't even spell the FIRST word of his response properly!

    • guest1204 says:

      Didn't know Zod was innocent? From what I saw he was the only one who died literally by the hands of Superman. Superman killed Zod in the comics too along with some other villians. So many people complained that Bane's death was insignifcant in TDKR so they give Zod a powerful demise in Man of Steel and everyone cries about it like SUperman's good virtue was completely tainted or something. He did what he had to in order to eliminate the threat. People just always need something to complain about.

      • Marty says:

        In Superman 2 he threw Zod into that pit AFTER he had lost his super powers. Does no one remember this?

      • John says:

        From what you saw? If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to see it, it doesn't exist? That's you logic here. Be as much in denial as you want, but when those multiple skyscrapers came down in the film, there were undoubtedly thousands of lives lost — even though we didn't see the individual people inside them die (just like 9/11).

  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?

    • jwlk says:

      Yes, but rumors say the scene might have been scrapped after Affleck's "Argo" screenwriter came in to rework some of the Goyer script, so who knows?
      So excited for this momentous movie event! Worlds Finest, fyeah!

  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.

    • Mitchell Moore says:

      I'm with you Cliff. And I trust him even more because of his brave choices. One very important reason that Jesse Eisenberg will be a great Lex Luthor is because when I was growing up and reading the comics, Lex and Clark were approximately the same age, give or take a year or two. Man Of Steel 2 is going to be awesome!

    • Mike says:

      Superman doesn't kill so I don't know who was in Man of Steel.

    • David Chatman says:

      Exactly, exactly.

  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

    • Neotokyo says:

      Well….DC/ Warner Bros. didn't really have a choice. Superman Returns bombed at the box-office, and fans of Superman hated it…they basically just told a 2006 version of the Richard Donner Superman. The ONLY good comic book property that's made money was The Dark Knight Trilogy. Though Marvel's story-telling and tired over-the-top acting gets old, they hit all the right notes in terms of releasing movies slowly, and then creating a narrative for each character (franchise) until they team up. That makes more money for Marvel/ Disney/ ABC and continues to kick DC's ass. This is also in part due to Warner cutting their ties with Legendary Pictures (possibly the greatest movie production studio of the modern age) and stalling to make the sequel of Man of Steel 2, while casting the most obscure actors for certain roles.

    • reply says:

      Marvel has continually revised the suits as well. Look at Iron Man: different suit in each film. Capt America has a different suit in Avengers, and yet another revised suit in the upcoming sequel.

  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.

    • Stephen says:

      Sounds to me like you already "love to hate" Eisenlex so…. mission accomplished?

      • Bird says:

        I would have to want to pay to see it for them to accomplish their mission. They clearly have failed.

      • ryan says:

        A lot of people hate these casting decisions. Most of these people have forgotten that they once thought heath ledger was the worst choice for a villain until they waited to see him and ate their words. There is a reason the people making this movie were chosen t do so and not me or you. There’s also a reason they havesold the number of tickets they did for their other movies.

      • Bird says:

        Yes. I know. Makes me wonder if it's still the same people in charge at DC and WB that let Joel Schumacher take over. Those films also made decent money at the time. Fact is, no matter how they shave his head, Eisenberg can't hide under white face and fake scars to make him appear menacing at all. Lex doesn't look like a pussy in any of the comics, or animated series and animated films. It is an essential element of the appearance of Lex that he does not look like a pussy. No matter what modern twist the put on it, he does not look the part.

      • seJ says:

        If Patrick Stewart was a few decades younger he would have been a great choice for Lex. I have been thinking that Affleck be a poor choice for Batman , but the more I thought about it, the more I am doubting that thought. His Daredevil was convincing enough, and that may carry over to Batman… hmmm. I do have to agree with Pennyworth above about Amy Adams not being a good choice for L. Lane. I have seen some pictures of the new Wonder woman and albeit she is smoking hot, she just doesn't look "wonder woman" enough to me .

  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.

    • Aquasira says:

      I hope not. Superman is a moral absolutist, meaning that he would NEVER kill anyone (except under extreme circumstances he would sacrifice himself in order to save others). That's why the movie is called Man of Steel. If he kills anyone with his own hands/powers, then Snyder cannot label the film Superman since Superman's core values are being slandered. I hope Snyder redeems himself as a director and makes Superman more friendly and genuinely human in nature rather than standoff-ish as he was portrayed in MoS.

  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!

    • Guest says:

      Ok…. I am a little confused… I could have sworn that all of those buildings that people are referring to in Metropoiis were already torn to bits by the gravity machine and not by Superman and Zod……? That gravity machine had been at work for quite some time and during that time I think most people either evacuated or they died from the impacts.

  17. jos3 says:

    Is their a batman origin story atleast

    • Eric says:

      Yeah. There's Batman Begins in film form. Or if you want to read it I would recommend Batman Year One or an alternate origin such as Batman Earth One. Any one of those will get you caught up on his origin.

  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.

    • guest says:

      I didnt have to read much of what you wrote to know that you have no idea what youre talking about

    • guest says:

      I agree with the previous reply, you really don't know what you're talking about. They didn't "recast" batman because Bale wouldn't do it, the Dark Knight Trilogy was a stand-alone franchise set in a different universe from Man of Steel. It ended with Bruce Wayne faking his death and retiring from being Batman. Bale refused to play batman again before they even finished the trilogy. He didn't have a problem with it, he was just done, he felt he could bring no more to the role and the franchise would not do well with a 4th installment. Man of Steel is a different world and in it Batman is apparently already well established to the point of being presented older and more grizzled and jaded from years of fighting crime.

      Also consider that in this world, Superman is the new guy and his first day on the job is fighting super villains. Talk about being tossed in the deep end without your floaties. Of course he would make mistakes, ts not like he went to hero school first. He did whatever he could to stop the threat. Sure there was a high death toll but the blood was not entirely on his hands, and yet as a character, I've no doubt it still haunts him as though it was. Lessons are learned and he may endeavor to be more cautious to avoid the loss of innocent life in future conflicts.

      And one more thing, since you think Nolan was so perfect, Batman is supposed to have a similar code of never killing, not even the bad guys but what do you think was likely to happen as he was driving around flattening occupied police cars? Did anyone think of the lives he jeopardized and possibly ended with some of his destructive stunts? Of course not because it looked so awesome.

      Step back, take a breath and remind yourself it's an action movie. Stop complaining and wait until it actually comes out, then either go see it or don't.

    • John says:

      Didn't read past the "we pay your salary" malarky. No, you arrogant so-and-so, you do not pay his salary. You hardcore comic fan geeks represent and extremely small margin of the paying audience. Yes, you're obnoxiously loud and vocal in your usually inappropriately angry and narrow-minded opinions, but you represent a sliver of who goes to the movies — any movies.

  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

    • Nick E says:

      I have concerns with Supe having enough screen time. I want them to continue what they starte din MoS. Namely, continue with him just starting at The Daily Planet.

  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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