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‘Man Of Steel’ Producer Christopher Nolan Disagreed With Film’s Controversial Ending [Spoiler Audio]

If you’re mad about the ending of Man of Steel, particularly the one event that seems to have most touched a nerve with some Superman fans, don’t lay the blame at the feet of co-plotter and producer Christopher Nolan. At least, not all of it.

Director Zack Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer had to convince Nolan (also the director and co-writer of The Dark Knight trilogy) that the controversial moment was the way to go. Read the whole, spoiler-filled story and hear it in podcast form after the jump.Here’s how it went down:

The original script to Man of Steel didn’t include Superman killing General Zod to save an innocent family from incineration. In that draft, Zod was sent back into the Phantom Zone and that was that. It was Snyder who pushed for Supes to kill the movie’s big villain, because the hero’s “aversion to killing [was] unexplained.”

Snyder’s got a point. How are you going to know whether you like killing or not unless you try it? Anyway, Goyer was immediately on-board with the idea, but Nolan initially balked, even checking with DC Comics to see if the publisher would even sign off on its superhero icon ending a life, even the life of a mass murderer. DC didn’t mind.

With DC’s blessing, Goyer rewrote the ending to include the kill-or-see-people-get-killed scenario that leads Supes to snap Zod’s neck, and that’s when Nolan gave it the thumbs-up.

Whether you’re open to the idea of movie Superman killing a villain or find it repulsive, the event certainly seems to have opened up a debate about superheroes in movies and whether they can or should be held to the same rigid standards of morality many of them maintain in comic books. Certainly a huge share of fictional action heroes and real-life heroes kill in ways people can categorize as justifiable, but raising such issues in the context of Superman seems to have split even the filmmakers who brought Man of Steel to the screen, and will doubtlessly be discussed more as the film’s legacy grows.

You can hear Snyder and Goyer talk about the whole thing, as well as other changes to the Superman mythos in Man of Steel, near the end of this episode of the Empire Film Podcast:

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