Ah, the benefit of X-ray vision hindsight. It was roughly two years after the release of Man Of Steel that we first learned Man Of Steel 2 was likely on “permanent hold,” to use the delightfully oxymoronic parlance of the time. Back then, the given reason was because Warner Bros. was so amped for Batman V Superman. Oops.
But now, it seems that short-sighted corporate eagerness to jump into the shared universe of glowering, lumbering machismo didn’t just push the DCEU into a world of heroes the world didn’t quite feel like collectively embracing yet. It also deprived us of the chance to see Superman become the good guy we all expected, according to a new interview with Henry Cavill in Square Mile. More than a little controversy at the time of Man Of Steel’s release centered around the climactic ending, which (spoiler alert?) featured Superman snapping the neck of his enemy General Zod—not exactly the “all life is precious and worth saving” mentality we had come to expect from the hero. And had Man Of Steel 2 gone forward, the ramifications of that finale would’ve helped frame the character in a new light, according to the actor:
The killing of Zod would have led to a wonderful reason why Superman never kills. Not, he never kills just because his dad said so one day. He made the decision himself because of an impossible scenario, to which he then said, “I don’t care if it’s impossible again, I’m gonna find a way to make it possible in the impossible.”...we didn’t get the opportunity to show the other side of it, the “I’m ready to be Superman now and I’m ready to show the world the best examples.” That’s where the joy and glee comes from, and that sense of warmth from the character, which is his real superpower—he makes people believe in themselves. It was a shame because it would’ve been nice, and it would have been a lovely coupling with the seriousness and the depth of Man of Steel.
That’s a good idea, Henry Cavill! Truly, such patience and character development for the Kryptonian would have made a lot more sense, then, going into Batman V Superman, as it would have actually given us some clearer moral definition to the stakes. But hey, just never dealing with things can also work out, right? It’s not like we ever got a payoff for that scene where Superman gets into the bathtub with Lois Lane in BvS and massive amounts of water splash all over the floor, and they just ignore it. Did it cause long-term damage? Did it leak through the tile and the downstairs neighbor complained about the drip? Much like the events of Man Of Steel 2, the universe may never get to know.