General Zod, who was last seen being tossed off the earth and imprisoned in another dimension in 1980's "Superman II," is being freed and returned to the big screen as part of Zack Snyder's rebooted take on the franchise. Michael Shannon will be taking on the role of the iconic villain in "Man of Steel," Warner Bros. announced on Sunday.
"Zod is not only one of Superman's most formidable enemies, but one of the most significant because he has insights into Superman that others don't," Snyder said in a statement. "Michael is a powerful actor who can project both the intelligence and the malice of the character, making him perfect for the role."
Shannon's name first entered the "Man of Steel" conversation in late March, when Deadline reported that he was one of several actors being eyed for the role. As far back as late February, Viggo Mortensen was mentioned as another candidate. All this chatter about Zod — a Kryptonian baddie with a penchant for making mortals kneel before him and who was portrayed by Terence Stamp in the original franchise — followed an assurance from Snyder back in November that the character would not appear in the new film.
"The Internet has no idea what's going on," he told Empire magazine, adding that rumors of Zod's involvement are "just wrong."
Or not. Shannon joins Henry Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Diane Lane and Kevin Costner as Martha and Jonathan Kent, Superman's adoptive parents. The film is slated for a December 2012 release.
Though Shannon nabbed an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his part in "Revolutionary Road," the "Man of Steel" gig arguably presents the 36-year-old with his most high-profile role to date. He starred in the first season of HBO's "Boardwalk Empire," and has appeared opposite Kristen Stewart in "The Runaways," Nicolas Cage in "The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans" and Josh Brolin in "Jonah Hex."
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