Evan Agostini /Invision/AP
WARNING: This post contains major spoilers about the ending of "Man of Steel."
The controversial decision to have Superman kill General Zod at the end of "Man of Steel" upset many comic purists, who argued that Superman's mythology clearly stated that he isn't a killer. But screenwriter David S. Goyer thinks that dark twist was a necessary piece of character development for Clark Kent's alter ego.
Goyer explained his logic at the BAFTA and BFI Screenwriters' Lecture:
Goyer added that filmmakers didn't want to take the easy way out with Zod, since there would be no easy way to explain why Superman didn't kill him -- "[N]o prison on the planet could hold him and in our film Superman can't fly to the moon," he said -- and they intend to explore the repercussions of his decision in upcoming sequels.
We were pretty sure that was going to be controversial. It's not like we were deluding ourselves, and we weren't just doing it to be cool. We felt, in the case of Zod, we wanted to put the character in an impossible situation and make an impossible choice.
This is one area, and I've written comic books as well and this is where I disagree with some of my fellow comic book writers – 'Superman doesn't kill'. It's a rule that exists outside of the narrative and I just don't believe in rules like that. I believe when you're writing film or television, you can't rely on a crutch or rule that exists outside of the narrative of the film.
"[O]ur movie was in a way 'Superman Begins,' he's not really Superman until the end of the film," Goyer said, comparing "Man of Steel" to the mythology-creating first installment of "The Dark Knight Trilogy." "We wanted him to have had that experience of having taken a life and carry that through onto the next films. Because he's Superman and because people idolize him he will have to hold himself to a higher standard."
We already know that Superman will face Batman in the next "Man of Steel" sequel, but what about future collaborations in the "Justice League"? In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Goyer was tight-lipped about the possibility, giving a short, coy answer to a question asking whether or not he was working on such a film.
"[M]ight be, can't say," he replied.
Guess we'll have to wait and see how things shake out in "Batman vs. Superman" before we get a straight answer from Goyer.