Target stores have gotten in a new multi-pack of action figures that include two versions of Superman, General Zod, J0r-El...and a big armored fellow named "Namek," who's not referred to in any of the film's materials. Heck, he's not even listed in the IMDb credits for the film. So who is this guy?
Here's a pic of the pack to give you an idea of what we're talking about:
Yup, we can see why people might be confused about Namek, especially considering how hard he is to miss in the pack.
So, who is he?
The answer is pretty much what you think it'd be: A Kryptonian criminal. Here's the evidence.
If you look at the Dark Knight Trilogy, the Nolans and David Goyer went pretty deep in mining classic Batman comics for characters and plot points. "Man of Steel" seems to have run a similar course, and its depiction of bad dude General Zod is no exception.
For example, without a thorough synopsis of the film, there's nods to a number of classic and not-so-classic stories. The emblem on Zod's outfit resembles a hammer and sickle, similar to "Russian Zod," a really, really, really bad character from around 2000 or so that was a mutated son of cosmonauts with armor and Original Zod's ghost in his head. We told you he was a bad character.
Likewise, various materials note that Zod and company are exiled on a ship called "Black Zero." That's a name associated with various versions of the Superman mythos, including a retconned villain who claimed to have blown up Krypton (don't ask), an alternate-reality Superboy, and most significantly for the film, a terrorist group on Krypton featured in both the comics and the "Smallville" TV show. You can read about all the different versions on this page.
This brings us to Namek.
We've already seen that instead of Ursa, the female cohort of Zod featured in the Richard Donner/Christopher Reeve Superman films, "Man of Steel" is going with Faora, another Kryptonian villainess from the comics.
So it's not surprising that the film might go with a different character who could be a counterpart for Non, the big bad silent dude from those films.
There's no character in the comics named "Namek," but if you go with the Kryptonian hyphenated name system, there is a "Nam-Ek." This was a character who appeared in several 1970s and 1980s comics, a Kryptonian scientist who tried to make himself immortal by stealing the genetic material of the Kryptonian creature the Rondor, and wound up all purple and rhino-like as a result. He was last scene literally just before the Superman continuity got rebooted in the 1980s, where he was possessed by the living Phantom Zone in a really, really weird story in the last issue of "DC Comics Presents."
Another version of Nam-Ek, played by actor Leonard Roberts, appeared on "Smallville" as a disciple of that show's version of Zod. He was ultimately killed off.
So, this version of Nam-Ek could be a Zod-follower like the TV version, but a big bad tough type like in the Richard Donner films.
Of course, we won't know the final answer until "Man of Steel" comes out, but this seems to be the most likely answer.
So if you were confused about the toy -- don't be!
Hope this helped...though we'll admit the film of "Man of Steel" could still prove us wrong.
Who do you think Namek could be? Let us know!