My father believed that if the world found out who I really was, they'd reject me... out of fear. I let my father die because I trusted him. Because he was convinced that I had to wait, that the world was not ready. What do you think?
I have so many questions. Where do I come from?
My father believed that if the world found out who I really was, they'd reject me…out of fear. I let my father die because I trusted him. Because he was convinced that I had to wait, that the world was not ready. What do you think?
Krypton had its chance!
Let's put our cards on the table, General. You're scared of me because you can't control me. You don't, and you never will. But, that doesn't mean I'm your enemy.
What if a child dreamed of becoming something other than what society had intended? What if a child aspired to something greater?
Earth's sun is younger and brighter than ours was. Your cells have drunk in its radiation, strengthening your muscles, your skin, your senses. Earth's gravity is weaker yet its atmosphere is more nourishing. You've grown stronger here than I ever could've imagined. The only way to know how strong is to keep testing your limits. You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun, Kal. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.
You're not just anyone, Clark, and I have to believe that you're—that you're sent here for a reason. All these changes you're going through, one day—one day, you're goin'a think of them as a blessing, and when that day comes, you're goin'a have to make a choice: a choice of whether to stand proud in front of the human race or not.
You'll just have to decide what kind of man you'll want to grow up to be, Clark, because, whoever that man is, good character or bad, he's—he's gonna change the world.
My name is General Zod. I come from a world far from yours. I have journeyed across an ocean of stars to reach you. For some time, your world has sheltered one of my citizens. I request that you return this individual to my custody. For reasons unknown, he has chosen to keep his existence a secret from you. He will have made efforts to blend in. He will look like you, but he is not one of you. To those of you who may know of his current location: the fate of your planet rests in your hands. To Kal-El, I say this: surrender within twenty-four hours, or watch this world suffer the consequences...
Tell me, you have Jor-El's memories, his conscience, can you experience his pain? I will harvest the Codex from your son's corpse, and I will rebuild Krypton atop his bones.
If you destroy this ship, YOU DESTROY KRYPTON!
Look at this. We could have built a new Krypton in this squalor, but you choose the humans over us. 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!
There is only one way this ends, Kal: either you die or I do.
I was bred to be a warrior, Kal-El, trained my entire life to master my senses. Where did you train? ON A FARM!?
Jor-El: Goodbye, my son. Our hopes and dreams travel with you.
Lara Lor-Van: He will be an outcast. They'll kill him.
Jor-El: How? He'll be a god to them.
[Jor-El is on assembly with the Elders of Krypton]
Jor-El: Will you not understand? Krypton's core is collapsing. We may only have a matter of weeks. I warned you, harvesting the core was suicide. It has accelerated the process of implosion.
Lor-Em: Our energy reserves were exhausted. What would you have us do, El?
Jor-El: Look to the stars, like our ancestors did, for habitable worlds within reach. We can begin by using the old outposts.
Ro-Zar: Are you seriously suggesting that we evacuate the entire planet?
Jor-El: No, everybody here is already dead. Give me control of the Codex. I will ensure the survival of our race. There is still hope. I have held that hope in my hands.
[There is a large blast as Zod is bringing about a coup for control of Krypton]
General Zod: This council has been disbanded!
Ro-Zar: On whose authority?
[Zod shoots and kills Ro-Zar]
General Zod: Mine. The rest of you will be tried and punished accordingly.
Jor-El: What are you doing, Zod? This is madness!
General Zod: What I should have done years ago. These lawmakers with their endless debates have led Krypton to ruin.
Jor-El: And if your forces prevail? You'll be the leader of nothing!
General Zod: Then join me. Help me save our race. We'll start anew. We'll sever the degenerative bloodlines that led us to this state.
Jor-El: And who will decide which bloodlines survive, Zod? You?
General Zod: Don't do this, El. The last thing I want is for us to be enemies.
Jor-El: You have abandoned the principles that bound us together. You've taken up the sword against your own people. I will honor the man you once were, Zod. Not this monster you have become.
[Zod arrives as Jor-El and Lara are about to launch their son into space]
General Zod: I know you stole the Codex, Jor-El. Surrender it and I'll let you live.
Jor-El: This is a second chance for all of Krypton, not just the bloodlines you deem worthy.
General Zod: What have you done?
Jor-El: We've had a child, Zod. A boy child. Krypton's first natural birth in centuries, and he will be free, free to forge his own destiny.
General Zod: Heresy! Destroy it!
[Zod attempts to destroy the launch, but is stopped by Jor-El and they engage each other in combat. Lara is nearly complete with the launch sequence. As Jor-El has Zod temporarily restrained he begins to plead with Lara]
General Zod: Lara, listen to me, the Codex is Krypton's future. Abort the launch!
[Lara continues the launch sequence and sends her son into space]
General Zod: NOOOOOOO![Zod stabs and kills Jor-El. Lara runs over to his fallen body and mourns him] Your son, Lara, where have you sent him?
Lara: His name is Kal, son of El. And he is beyond your reach.
[Zod is being tried for the crimes by the Kryptonian Elders]
Lor-Em: General Zod, for the crimes of murder and high treason, the council has sentenced you and your fellow insurgents to 300 cycles of somatic reconditioning. Do you have any last words?
General Zod: You won't kill us yourself! You wouldn't filthy your hands but you'll damn us to a black hole for eternity! [He spits at him in disgust] Jor-El was right! You're a pack of fools! Every last one of you! [He approaches Lara, but is held back by a guard] You…you 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!
[He is silenced as they are banished to the Phantom Zone]
[Jonathan Kent shows Clark the pod in which they found him in, revealing he is not from Earth]
Jonathan Kent: We found you in this. We were sure the government was gonna show up on our doorstep. No one ever came. [He hands him the key] This was in the chamber with you. I took it to a metallurgist at Kansas State. He said whatever it was made from didn't even exist on the periodic table. It's another way of saying it's not from this world, Clark, and neither are you… You're the answer, son. You're the answer to "Are we alone in the universe?"
Clark Kent (13 years old): I don't want to be.
Jonathan Kent: And I don't blame you, son. It'd be a huge burden for anyone to carry, but you're not just anyone, Clark, and I have to believe that you were sent here for a reason. All these changes you're going through, one day your going to think of them as a blessing and when that day comes, you're going to have to make a choice. A choice for whether to stand proud before the human race, or not.
Clark Kent (13 years old): Can't I just…keep pretending I'm your son?
Jonathan Kent: [Voice breaks] You are my son. [Hugs Clark tightly] But somewhere out there, you have another father too, who gave you another name. And he sent you here for a reason, Clark, and even if it takes the rest of your life, you owe it to yourself to find out what that reason is.
Jor-El: To see you standing there having grown into an adult…if only Lara could have witnessed this.
Clark Kent: Who are you?
Jor-El: I am your father, Kal, or at least a shadow of him. His consciousness. My name is Jor-El.
Clark Kent: Kal? That's my name?
Jor-El: Kal-El, it is.
Clark Kent: I have so many questions. Where do I come from? Why did you send me here?
Jor-El: You came from Krypton, a world with a much harsher environment than Earth's. Long ago, in an era of expansion, our race spread out through the stars, seeking new worlds to settle upon. This scout ship was one of thousands launched into the void. We built outposts on other planets, using great machines to reshape environments to our needs. For 100 thousand years our civilization flourished, accomplishing wonders.
Clark Kent: What happened?
Jor-El: Artificial population control was established. The outposts and space exploration were abandoned. We exhausted our natural resources. As a result, our planet's core became unstable. Eventually, our military leader, General Zod, attempted a coup, but by then it was too late. Your mother and I foresaw the coming calamity and we took certain steps to ensure your survival. This is a genesis chamber. All Kryptonians were conceived in chambers such as this. Every child was designed to perform a predetermined role in our society as a worker, a warrior, a leader, and so on. Your mother and I believed Krypton lost something precious, the element of choice, of chance. What if a child dreamed of becoming something other than what society had intended? What if a child aspired to something greater? You were the embodiment of that belief, Kal. Krypton's first natural birth in centuries. That's why we risked so much to save you.
Clark Kent: Why didn't you come with me?
Jor-El: We couldn't, Kal. No matter how much we wanted to. No matter how we loved you. Your mother, Lara, and I were a product of the failures of our world as much as Zod was. It's hard to explain.
Clark Kent: So I'm alone?
Jor-El: No. You are as much a child of Earth now as you are of Krypton. You can embody the best of both worlds. The dream your mother and I dedicated our lives to preserve. [He reveals to him the Superman suit] The people of Earth are different from us, it's true, but ultimately I believe that is a good thing. They won't necessarily make the same mistakes we did, but if you guide them, Kal, if you give them hope. That's what this symbol means. [Pulls back his coat to reveal the House of El symbol on his chest] The symbol of the House of El means "Hope". Embodied within that hope is the fundamental belief in the potential of every person to be a force for good. That's what you can bring them.
Lois Lane: I figured if I turned over enough stones you'd eventually find me. Where are you from? What are you doing here? Let me tell your story?
Clark Kent: What if I don't want my story told?
Lois Lane: It's going to come out eventually. Somebody's going to get a photograph or figure out where you live.
Clark Kent: Well, then I'll just disappear again.
Lois Lane: The only way you could disappear for good is to stop helping all together and I sense that's not an option for you.
Clark Kent: My father believed that if the world found out who I really was, they'd reject me, out of fear. I let my father die because I trusted him. Because he was convinced that I had to wait, that the world was not ready. What do you think?
Father Leone: What's on your mind?
Clark Kent: I don't know where to start.
Father Leone: Wherever you want.
Clark Kent: That ship that appeared last night? I'm the one they're looking for.
Father Leone: …do you know why they want you?
Clark Kent: No. But this General Zod, even if I surrender, there's no guarantee he will keep his word. But if there's a chance I can save Earth by turning myself in, shouldn't I take it?
Father Leone: What does your gut tell you?
Clark Kent: That Zod can't be trusted. The problem is, I'm not sure the people of Earth can be either.
Father Leone: Sometimes, you have to take a leap of faith first. The trust part comes later.
Lois Lane: Why are you surrendering to Zod?
Superman: I'm surrendering to mankind. There's a difference.
Lois Lane: You let them handcuff you?
Superman: Wouldn't be much of a surrender if I resisted. And if it makes them feel more secure, then all the better for it.
Lois Lane: What's the "S" stand for?
Superman: It's not an "S". On my world it means "Hope".
Lois Lane: Well, here it's…an "S"....how about "super....".
[Superman has a vision while his body is adapting to the Kryptonian atmosphere on Zod's ship]
General Zod: Hello, Kal. Or do you prefer Clark? That's the name they gave you, isn't it? I was Krypton's military leader. Your father, our foremost scientist. The only thing we agreed on was that Krypton was dying. In return for my efforts to protect our civilization and save our planet, I and my fellow officers were sentenced to the Phantom Zone. And then, the destruction of our world freed us. We were adrift, destined to float amongst the ruins of our planet until we starved.
Superman: How did you find your way to Earth?
General Zod: We managed to retrofit the phantom projector into a hyper-drive. Your father made a similar modification to the craft that brought you here. And so, the instrument of our damnation become our salvation. We sought out the old colonial outposts looking for signs of life, but all we found was death. Away from Krypton, these outposts withered and died long ago. We salvaged what we could: armor, weapons, even a World Engine. For 33 years, we prepared, until finally we detected a distress beacon you triggered when you accessed the ancient scout ship. You led us here, Kal. And now, it's within your power to save what remains of your race. On Krypton, the genetic template for every being yet to be born is incarnate in the Registry of Citizens. Your father stole the registry's Codex and stored it in the capsule that brought you here.
Superman: For what purpose?
General Zod: So that Krypton can live again, on Earth. Where is the Codex, Kal?
Superman: If Krypton lives again, what happens to Earth?
General Zod: A foundation has to be built on something. Even your father recognized that.
General Zod: Your father acquitted himself with great honor, Kal.
Superman: You killed him?
General Zod: I did. And not a day goes by where it does not haunt me. But if I had to do it again, I would. I have a duty to my people, and I will not allow anyone to prevent me from carrying it out.
[General Zod activates the Genesis chamber]
Computer: Genesis Chamber activated.
Jor-El: Stop this, Zod, while there's still time.
General Zod: Haven't given up lecturing me, have you? Even in death.
Jor-El: I will not let you use the Codex like this.
General Zod: You don't have the power to stop me. The command key I have entered is revoking your authority. This ship is now under my control.
Jor-El: Our people can coexist.
General Zod: So we can suffer through years of pain trying to adapt, like your son has?
Jor-El: You're talking about genocide.
General Zod: Yes. And I'm arguing its merits with a ghost.
Jor-El: We're both ghosts, Zod. Can't you see that? The Krypton you're clinging onto is gone!
General Zod: [Ordering the computer] Ship, have you managed to quarantine this invasive intelligence?
Computer: I have.
Jor-El: You'll fail.
General Zod: Then prepare to terminate it. I'm tired of this debate.
Jor-El: Silencing me won't change anything. My son is twice the man you were. He will finish what we started. I can promise you that.
General Zod: Tell me. You have Jor-El's memories. His conscience. Can you experience his pain? I will harvest the Codex from your son's corpse, and I will rebuild Krypton atop his bones.
[Zod then terminates the artificial Jor-El]
[Zod is in sheer defeat after the destruction of everything he was going to use to terraform Earth; with the return of his crew along with Dr. Emil Hamilton, and Colonel Nathan Hardy to the Phantom Zone, Zod and Superman are the last of the Kryptonians]
General Zod: Look at this. We could have built a new Krypton in this squalor, but you chose the humans over us. 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!
[He lunges at Superman and attacks him in his rage and pain at having lost his purpose]
General Zod: I am going to make them suffer, Kal-El. These humans you've adopted, I will take them all from you, one by one!
Superman: You're a monster, Zod. And I'm going to stop you.
General Zod: If you love these people so much, you can mourn for them!
[Zod starts firing heat vision next to a cornered family and Superman struggles to keep him from doing it]
Superman: Don't do this! [the beams get closer to the family] Stop! [Zod doesn't as the family panic more]Stop!!
General Zod: [last words]Never.
[Superman snaps Zod's neck, killing him]
[Superman has taken down one of the government's surveillance satellite drones]
General Swanwick: Are you effing stupid?!
Superman: It's one of your surveillance drones.
General Swanwick: That's a $12 million dollar piece of hardware!
Superman: It was. I know you're trying to find out where I hang my cape. You won't.
General Swanwick: Then I'll ask the obvious question: How do we know know you won't one day act against America's interests?
Superman: I grew up in Kansas, General. I'm about as American as it gets. Look, I'm here to help, but it has to be on my own terms. And you have to convince Washington of that.
General Swanwick: Even if I'm willing to try, what makes you think they'd listen?
Superman: I don't know, General. I guess I'll just have to trust you.
[Superman flies away and the General turns to see Captain Carrie Farris grinning]
General Swanwick: What are you smiling about, Captain?
Captain Farris: Nothing, sir…I just think he's kinda hot.
Clark Kent: I'm tired of "safe!" I just wanna do something useful with my life!
Jonathan Kent: So farming, and feeding people, that's not useful?
Clark Kent: I didn't say that!
Jonathan Kent: Our family's been farming for generations, Clark.
Clark Kent: Your family, not mine. I-I don't even know why I'm listening to you right now! You're not my dad, okay? You're just a guy who found me in a field!
Martha Kent: Clark!
Jonathan Kent: It's alright, Martha. He's right, Clark has a point. We're not your parents. But we've been doing our best, and maybe... maybe our best isn't good enough anymore.
We were pretty sure that was going to be controversial. It's not like we were deluding ourselves, and we weren't just doing it to be cool. We felt, in the case of Zod, we wanted to put the character in an impossible situation and make an impossible choice.
This is one area, and I've written comic books as well and this is where I disagree with some of my fellow comic book writers - 'Superman doesn't kill'. It's a rule that exists outside of the narrative and I just don't believe in rules like that. I believe when you're writing film or television, you can't rely on a crutch or rule that exists outside of the narrative of the film.
Also our movie was in a way Superman Begins, he's not really Superman until the end of the film. We wanted him to have had that experience of having taken a life and carry that through onto the next films. Because he's Superman and because people idolise him he will have to hold himself to a higher standard.
From the beginning, I had a philosophical approach to what I would do with Superman. And I always sum it up by saying that the most realistic movie I've made is a movie about Superman --because that's what I felt like the movie needed.