Michael Shannon Deemed Kryptonian Baddie in 'Superman: Man of Steel'

[caption id="attachment_44489" align="alignleft" width="220" caption="Getty Images"]Michael Shannon[/caption]

Dust off those knee pads: in 2012, we'll once again be kneeling before the great and powerful General Zod!

Warner Bros. has sent an official press release that declares Michael Shannon, the actor who earned an Oscar nomination for his supporting role in "Revolutionary Road" and is currently chewing up scenery in "Boardwalk Empire," as the villain General Zod in Zack Snyder's upcoming "Superman: Man of Steel."

Comic and movie fans are familiar with the tyrannical antics of Zod, who first appeared in the '60s and, most famously, battled the superhero in Richard Lester's "Superman II."

Previously portrayed by Terrance Stamp, Zod is an angry Kryptonian who escaped the planet's destruction during his incarceration in the alternate universe known as "The Phantom Zone." Producers on "Man of Steel" have already made it clear that their film has no continuity with Richard Donner's original or its sequels (including 2006's "Superman Returns"), so Zod would be starting fresh with this new installment.

In the press release, Snyder explains his choice of Shannon saying that, "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. Michael is a powerful actor who can project both the intelligence and the malice of the character, making him perfect for the role."

The reaction to Zod's inclusion has been mixed across the web, with many fans wondering why Snyder, writer David Goyer and producer Christopher Nolan decided to retread on familiar territory. Reasonable questions, but most people were unhappy with director Bryan Singer's "Returns" film for a lack of equally-empowered supervillains to fight The Big Blue Boy Scout -- now they have one.

With a caliber actor like Michael Shannon bringing his gravitas to a role of pure evil, the resuscitation of Zod in the "Superman" franchise is easily one of the most exciting bits of superhero movie decisions in ages. "Superman" is officially flying high.

"Superman: Man of Steel" is set to start shooting this summer, aiming for release in December 2012.