Michael Shannon will play Superman: Man of Steel villain, General Zod

michael-shannon“Kneel before Zod!”

Try to imagine the eminently creepy Michael Shannon uttering those words in next year’s Zack Snyder-directed DC Comics adaptation, Superman: Man of Steel. He hopefully will, as the actor has officially been cast in the upcoming movie, bringing an end to a lengthy search and boundless speculation regarding who the reboot’s top villain might be.

A press release confirms that Shannon-as-Zod will “go toe-to-toe” with star Henry Cavill, who was confirmed in late January as Snyder’s Man of Steel. Shannon joins a cast that also includes Amy Adams as Lois Lane and veteran performers Diane Lane and Kevin Costner as Clark Kent’s adoptive parents, Ma and Pa Kent.

Snyder said in a statement: “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.”

This won’t be Zod’s first big screen bow. In truth, Shannon has some pretty big shoes to fill. The Christopher Reeve-starring Superman II was the first film in the series to feature the Kryptonian criminal, with a standout performance from Terence Stamp. Snyder had better plan on bringing Stamp’s iconic “Kneel before Zod” line back for Shannon.

The big question now is whether or not we’ll be seeing Superman arch-nemesis Lex Luthor make an appearance as well. It is possible that Snyder may steer the story away from that character to avoid building too many similarities between Man of Steel and Superman II, but it is hard to imagine any Superman story that doesn’t in some way feature the bald megalomaniac.