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General Zod (DC Cinematic Universe)

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Full Name
General Zod, Zod
Man of Steel
Professional Criminal, Terrorist
Powers / Skills
Master Strategist, Flight, Superhuman Strength, fighting skills, heat vision
Kill people and destroy everything in his path or on Earth with the World Engine.
Retrieve Kal-El (Formerly), kill Kal-El, obtain the Genetic Codex, create a new Krypton on Earth, and eliminate the human race.
Type of Villain

You are not alone.
~ Zod repeatedly on a transmission believe your son is safe... I will find him. I will reclaim what you have taken from us! I will find him. I will find him, Lara. I WILL FIND HIM!
~ General Zod, to Lara)
I exist only to protect Krypton. That is the sole purpose for which I was born. And every action I take, no matter how violent, or how cruel, is for the greater good of my people. And now, I have no people. My soul--that is what you have taken from me!
~ Zod, explaining his purpose in life to Kal-El before their final battle

General Zod is the main antagonist of the 2013 superhero film Man of Steel.

He was portrayed by Michael Shannon.


When the planet Krypton faces imminent destruction due to an unstable core deprived of resources, the Ruling Council comes under threat by a rebel faction led by Zod and comprised of his followers. Zod tries to convince Jor-El, his long-time friend, to join him, but when Jor-El refuses, he orders two of his soldiers to take the scientist away.

Later, Zod and his soldiers travel to Jor-El's home, seeking the Codex, an inventory of genetic information which all Kryptonians are genetically "born" from with predetermined life paths, which Jor-El stole earlier. Zod enters the citadel and confronts Jor-El, demanding the Codex. When he learns that Jor-El and his wife Lara conceived a child, Kal-El, naturally, an angered Zod moves to destroy the spacecraft containing Kal-El and the Codex, leading to a fight with Jor-El. Jor-El wounds and momentarily overpowers Zod, who begs Lara to not launch the craft, but when Lara ignores his pleas, he cries out in anger before fatally stabbing Jor-El. Moments later, Zod exits the citadel and orders his men to shoot down Kal-El's ship, only for all of them to be interrupted and by the authorities.

Sometime after that, Zod and his followers stand on trial before the Council, who sentence them to the Phantom Zone for their crimes. Zod rants angrily at the Council leader, denouncing them as fools, before turning on Lara and declaring that he will find her son. He and his men are then placed into suspended animation before being loaded aboard the Black Zero, a massive Kryptonian ship which is then put into the Phantom Zone.

Shortly after Krypton explodes, Zod and his comrades are freed from the Phantom Zone. Upon their release, they see the field of Krypton's remains. They then spend the next thirty-three years searching the galaxy, only to find that all of Krypton's colony worlds died out when Krypton stopped communicating with them centuries ago.

Around the time that Kal-El, now named "Clark Kent," activates an ancient Kryptonian scout-ship on Earth, Zod's crew picks up the ship's distress signal and travels to Earth, where Zod demands that Kal-El surrender to him. Because Zod threatens to harm humanity if he does not comply, Clark agrees to surrender to the U.S. military, who hand Clark, along with Lois Lane, over to Zod's right-hand Faora.


General Zod in his ship

Once face-to-face with Clark, Zod greets him cordially, but does little to help when Clark collapses due to his body not being suited to the Kryptonian environment aboard the Black Zero. Through a mental simulation, Zod speaks with Clark and reveals that he intends to use a world engine in conjunction with the Black Zero to transform Earth into a new Krypton and eradicate the human population, then use the Codex to re-populate the planet with genetically-engineered Kryptonians.

Searching for the Codex, Zod travels to Smallville, Kansas, accompanied by Faora and a couple of other soldiers. There, he arrives at the Kent Farm, where he interrogates Clark's adoptive mother Martha as to the Codex's whereabouts. Fortunately, Clark, having escaped from the Black Zero along with Lois, arrives and tackles Zod, whom he punches several times before they crash-land in the middle of Smallville. Zod's helmet is damaged during the struggle; exposed to Earth's environment, he's overwhelmed by his manifesting superpowers. Two of his men arrive and takes him away, leaving Clark to battle Faora and Nam-Ek.

Back aboard the Black Zero, Zod, recovered from his sensory overload, learns that Jor-El encoded the Codex within Kal-El's own cells. He then deploys the world engine to the Indian Ocean and initiates the terraforming process by hovering the Black Zero over Metropolis. While this happens, Zod heads to the Arctic, where he boards the scout-ship and uses a Kryptonian key to activate the Genesis Chamber. He is confronted by a hologram of Jor-El, who tries to persuade him to abandon his plan, but he rebuffs the hologram and purges it from the ship's systems before taking the helm and flying it to Metropolis.

Clark, now dubbed "Superman," destroys the world engine, while the military loads Kal-El's spacecraft onto a military cargo plane and flies it towards the Black Zero. When Superman arrives and crashes into the scout-ship, Zod protests against him destroying the ship, as in doing so, any chance of saving Krypton will be lost, but Superman declares that "Krypton had its chance!" before using heat vision to damage the scout-ship, causing it to crash in the middle of the city.

After Zod's soldiers are sent back into the Phantom Zone, Zod emerges from the wreckage. When Superman comes over, he laments the loss of his men and the chance to re-create his long-dead homeworld. Zod's grief quickly turns to a murderous rage, and he strikes Superman before advancing on him, announcing his intentions to kill every single human. He and Superman then engage each other in a final, lengthy battle throughout Metropolis, causing great destruction.

Zod and Superman end up crashing into a train station, where Zod spots an innocent family and emits a blast of heat vision that inches closer and closer to the family. Superman begs Zod to stop, but Zod says "Never!" and continues bringing the heat beams closer to the family until Superman is forced to snap his neck, killing him.


Zod was a warrior at heart, as he was made to be. He is a violent, ill-tempered, ruthless and power-hungry tyrant who has no problem with genocide or mass destruction as long as it benefits himself and his people. Despite all of this, Zod truly believes all his actions, no matter how violent, are for the sake his people. This is shown when he comforts Faora after they witness Krypton's destruction.

He believed that Earth couldn't be shared between the humans and his Kryptonians because of the fact that Kryptonian anatomy requires a more dense atmosphere unlike Superman who, after 33 years, had adapted to Earth's atmosphere.

Zod is shown to feel regret as well, especially his murder of Jor-El as the two were once friends and did agree on the fact that was Krypton's doom was inevitable.


  • It has been confirmed by the film's writers that Zod deliberately provoked Superman into killing him, as he believed that he no longer had a purpose in life, and thus wanted to die after his plan to rebuild Krypton failed.


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