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The Flash – General Zod in the DCU explained

One of the best DC villains is back for The Flash release date, with Michael Shannon reprising his Superman movie role as the Kryptonian scumbag General Zod.

Michael Shannon returns as Superman villain General Zod in The Flash

Who is General Zod in The Flash? Michael Shannon is, perhaps surprisingly, back in the DC world. The Flash, among its many bits of time travel chaos, reintroduces General Zod to the DC Universe.

Shannon’s take on one of the best DC villains first appeared in the DCU back in 2013, when he squared off against Henry Cavill in the Superman movie Man of Steel. But The Flash release date marks his return to the franchise and raises the prospect that he could reappear in more new movies in the future. More from Michael Shannon is always a good thing. I think we can all agree (Check out what we thought of Shannon in our The Flash review).

But who is General Zod, and why does he show up in The Flash? After all, his last appearance had a very definitive, neck-snapping conclusion to it. Read our The Flash review for more on the movie, and then come back here to find out everything about Zod.

General Zod in the DC comics explained

General Zod is one of Superman’s greatest and most notorious enemies in DC Comics, behind only Lex Luthor and, perhaps, Darkseid. 

In the comics, Dru-Zod was introduced as a military leader on Krypton and a contemporary of Superman’s dad, Jor-El. He attempted to take over the planet at one point, for which he earned himself decades of imprisonment in the Phantom Zone.

Superman freed him when his sentence was up but ended up sending him back after he tried to conquer Earth. He’s a baddie, that’s for sure.

General Zod in DC Comics

General Zod in the DC movies explained

General Zod appeared as the main villain in the ’80s movie Superman II, played by Terence Stamp, with Michael Shannon first playing the character in 2013’s Man of Steel.

Terence Stamp first showed up as the Kryptonian menace in the 1978 Superman movie, and he reprised the role as the main villain in Superman II. In an attempt to conquer the Earth, he forces the President of the United States to surrender his leadership. Naturally, Superman eventually foils him.

In Man of Steel, Michael Shannon took up the role. This version of Zod killed Jor-El during the uprising that destroyed the planet. We meet him after he’s escaped from the Phantom Zone, and the evil general plans on terraforming Earth to create a new Krypton using the World Engine.

During an enormous battle in which there are thousands of civilian casualties – the backlash changed how all of the best superhero movies set up their endings – Superman is able to destroy the device. He is then reluctantly forced to kill Zod by snapping his neck in order to protect humanity.

Michael Shannon as General Zod in Man of Steel

General Zod in The Flash explained

Michael Shannon returns as General Zod in The Flash, and it looks like he’s set on destroying Earth again.

The Flash follows Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) back in time as he tries to save his mother, but it seems to cause some unwanted consequences. Just like in Man of Steel, Zod arrives on Earth, and it seems he has some nefarious plans for the fate of the planet. After all, he wouldn’t be one of the best movie villains otherwise.

Based on the action scenes we’ve seen in the trailers, it looks like the two Barry Allens, Michael Keaton’s Batman and Superman’s cousin Kara Zor-El (Sasha Calle), join forces to fight back against Zod and his minions as there’s no Superman in sight.

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General Zod powers and abilities explained

General Zod is a Kryptonian, just like Superman, and gets very similar powers from Earth’s sun, including superhuman strength, X-ray vision, and the ability to fly.

It’s fair to say that Kryptonians have a badass array of skills when they’re under our yellow sun, making them pretty much invulnerable to any human weapons. Fortunately, most universes have an equally powerful Superman to fight back.

In fact, Superman tends to be stronger than Zod in most cases due to the fact he has spent most of his life living beneath the sun, which gives him his powers. Clark Kent gets his abilities enhanced over time, while Zod only shows up for long enough to power up his terraforming machine.

Michael Shannon as General Zod in The Flash

That’s everything you need to know about General Zod and his return as part of The Flash cast. For more on the DC movies and their resident speedster, find out about ‘how fast is The Flash?‘ and ‘is Christian Bale in The Flash?‘. We’ve also explained how The Flash adds James Gunn to the DCU and an article explaining how to watch The Flash.

We’ve also got all of the details on the best movies coming up as part of Gunn’s Chapter 1 Gods and Monsters plan, including the Superman Legacy release date and The Brave and the Bold release date.