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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
Killing humans and destroyin 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
Anti-Villain, Jingoist, Mass Murderer 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.


As 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 from which all Kryptonians are genetically "born" with predetermined life paths, which Jor-El stole earlier after escaping Zod's men. 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 his former friend. 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 apprehended by the Sapphire Guard.

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 vehemently 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. Upon their release, they look forlornly at 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 their homeworld 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 US military, who hand Clark, along with Lois Lane, over to Zod's right-hand Faora.


General Zod aboard 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. Later, through a mental simulation, he 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 new 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 in anger for threatening his mother 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 take him away, leaving Clark to battle Faora and Nam-Ek.

Later, 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 activates 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 the ship 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 to him, 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 violently strikes Superman before advancing on him, announcing his intentions to kill every single human just to spite Kal-El. 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's personality was more complex than it was in other incarnations, such as Superman II or Smallville. He was an arbitrarily fierce enforcer, as he was genetically bred to be. Nevertheless, he shared the megalomaniacal and narcissistic qualities typically associated with the character, holding Kryptonians to be an absolutely superior form of life and believing that this gave him a divine right to shape Earth in his image. While he saw Jor-El as his friend, Zod was bitterly envious of the latter's influence and position.

Zod was a violent, ill-tempered, ruthless, and power-hungry tyrant who had no qualms about committing genocide or mass destruction as long as doing so benefited himself and his people. Despite all of this, he truly believed that all his actions, no matter how violent or merciless, were for the sake his people; this is shown when he comforts Faora after they witness the aftermath of Krypton's destruction.

At the same time, his desire for power was a driving factor in his motivations. It seemed that he wanted to be a king on Earth because he couldn't be one on Krypton. He was prone to furious rages whenever his ego was slighted in any way, at which point he would go from being a grim yet dignified figure to a savage beast.

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

In spite of all this, Zod was 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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