Zack Snyder Still Insisting His Version of Superman Is the Best, You Don’t Understand “True Canon”


Depending on who’s writing him, Superman may be characterized a bit differently. But Zack Snyder recently took issue with fans who say he changed Superman in Man of Steel.

Snyder was a guest on the Hall of Justice podcast recently and got to talking about his movie universe. He says Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is “pretty much done,” and that it’s more of a prequel to Justice League rather than a sequel to Man of Steel.

“If Batman and Superman now exist in the same universe that means that there’s just a floodgate of DC characters waiting to come roaring into the story,” he said adding that other Justice League characters we’ve been hearing about have very small roles. “Except for Wonder Woman, we see her pretty well,” he said. [Editor’s Note: Insert joke about actually being able to see Wonder Woman here.]

But the host got Snyder to discuss how he felt about the huge reaction, both positive and negative, to Man of Steel.  Which is a thing people still aren’t over. He said:

I was pretty ready for it because I knew that we were really updating a character, a beloved character. And I don’t think changing him…you know people are always like ‘you changed Superman’ and I’m like, if you’re a comic book fan, you know I didn’t change Superman. If you know the true canon, you know that I didn’t change Superman. If you’re a fan of the old movies, yeah I changed him a bit. But you know that’s the difference. You know I’m a bit of a comic book fan and I always default to the true canon. Not the sort of cinematic canon that in my opinion, where they play slightly fast and loose with the rules. And so, I feel like I tried to create a Superman that would set a tone for the world.


Superman, like Batman, is a lot of different things to a lot of different people. But unlike Batman who most would agree is at his base about “justice,” Superman for most is about “hope.” Superman is good and pure. A boy scout. And those qualities weren’t started by Richard Donner’s 1978 Superman film, they were amplified by him, and Christopher Reeve’s excellent performance, for the world to see. A world where huge box office numbers come from a majority of viewers who don’t read comic books. So yes, a Clark/Superman who didn’t grow up learning harsh lessons but keeping his positive outlook and demeanor, a Superman who didn’t do everything he could to save human beings at every turn, upset a lot of fans. Comic book readers and otherwise.

[Edited to add: I don’t think Snyder “changed” Superman, I know a lot of the things people get annoyed at are things that did happen at one point or another in the comics. I do, however, think “change” is not quite the right word for him to be using as most people just didn’t like the characterizations in general. They felt, as I did, other versions of the character are more enjoyable to watch. That a more hopeful Superman (which has equal, if not more, basis in comic canon than a Superman who kills) is truer to the character that’s developed through the years and preferable to Snyder’s version which he seems to think is better (or the “true canon,” as he said). No one can claim the “right” version of the character, just the one they prefer which was the idea behind pointing out how Snyder’s language here is frustrating to some fans.]

Snyder went on to say he and executive producer Christopher Nolan “worked closely together to try and make a movie that felt consistent with the DC Universe as it was created and was something that I wanted to do anyway.”


But do you want DC’s heroes to act like they did when they were first created or do you want them to act more like 75 years and countless creators with interesting ideas have formed them?

When the host brought up how the Justice League characters might also be depicted differently from what most of us see, Snyder told him “My point is that we don’t take liberties. My point is that if you know anything about the actual characters you’ll see that they’re very much… what we’ve done is create a universe where those characters can really be the mythological characters as they’re designed in the comic books. If you were a fan of them in the comic books you’ll get a great opportunity to see what they look like and how they move and are real.”


I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to grasp the Superman Snyder sees in his mind. And that’s ok, it’s his interpretation. But I’m also not convinced the Superman he sees actually exists in “true canon,” whatever that is. And I’m also not convinced his condescending and gatekeeping attitude that he knows better than everyone else helps fans reconcile their opinions of his previous work with what lies ahead.

Batman v Superman is set to be release March 25. Feel free to share your thoughts on what qualities or characteristics you’ve always felt Superman should have.

(via Batman-News)

47 Responses to “Zack Snyder Still Insisting His Version of Superman Is the Best, You Don’t Understand “True Canon””

  1. Wheez Von Klaw says:

    The expository dialogue in “MOS” was horrifying. Snyder really doesn’t get why using a villain from the Richard Donner films would be criticized? Snyder is such a comics fan but he probably never looked at one killer Curt Swan Silver Age comic. Man of Steel is fascinating as one of the worst trainwreck in cinematic history. Can’t remember seeing anything with less characterization in years.

  2. Mike E. Delta says:

    I started reading in 89, where oddly enough Supes was in space running away from his guilt of having to kill a General Zod (but with kryptonite). I learned later the extent of what I’d read, but I fell in love w comics after learning that they’re a bit more nuanced than what id seen in movies. Some may not be fans of the story set up by Byrne, but I recognized the elements of that story titled oddly enough ‘Man of Steel’ so while I too was shocked by what he did, I simply didn’t like how they had to “wrap up” so quickly afterwards. .but I did accept it. =[

  3. dbrown7733 says:

    Mr. Snyder, it’s interesting that you “insist” your movie is the “best Superman” yet, you’ve spent more time defending your movie’s legitimacy more than ANY of your predecessors. Here’s the huge difference– no one has to spend time defending the Donner/Reeve films, but you have dozens of apologists (ESPECIALLY you yourself) that have defend the “legitimacy” of your film every waking minute. Great films don’t need defending, which is why ALL Superman movies will CONTINUE to be judged against the Donner/Reeve Superman films and not yours. Your continual defensive attitude about this each time you receive criticism tell us your movie has not measured up to be the very “best” Superman film as YOU claim it is. Accept it.

  4. dbrown7733 says:

    Mr. Snyder, we know true canon. Many of us have decades of comic collecting and reading under our belts dating as far as the Silver Age. If your understanding of Superman and other characters don’t date that far back as that, you have no real clue on what “true canon” is.

    You’ve fixed it in your OWN mind that you THINK you followed true canon, grabbing bits and pieces of a few comics on what YOU wanted “Superman” to be in your own mind. Don’t get salty with long time fans and pretend you know what you’re talking about because you don’t, Buddy. Throwing a few words around like “true canon” to hide behind your pretense isn’t working with us, only with kids haven’t read comics very much and basing what they think a character is solely off of your movie are the only ones who believe you.

  5. They Call Me The Fizz says:

    So Snyder felt the need to drop the squid and add Niteowl II as a witness to Rorschach’s death… But insists his Superman is “True Canon”

    *long breath* YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

  6. Tyler Whisinnand says:

    Those god damn childish motherfucking fuck-sticks don’t know what they are talking about!!! NONE OF THEM READ A GOD DAMN COMIC IN THEIR LIFE, SO THEY CAN’T SAY THE MOVIE WASN’T FAITHFUL TO THE CHARACTER AND THE STORY!!! Zack is right. These fucking pricks don’t know what they are talking about.

  7. Kruger says:

    That picture of Jonathan Kent kinda says it all about canon and understanding the character and makes everything Snyder said bullshit.

    That was the most pathetic thing I have seen in any grande scale comic book film, so far.

    • WheelchairNinja says:

      Yeah… When Bo Duke is a better Pa Kent than yours, it really shows that you fundamentally don’t understand Superman.

  8. WheelchairNinja says:

    Human. Superman’s defining characteristic is that despite being an alien, he’s the most human, humane character in the DCU. Everyone thinks he got his powers from being born on Krypton. He didn’t. His true power comes from growing up in Kansas. His strength doesn’t come from Earth’s yellow sun, it comes from being raised by parents who taught him that every life has value, that the strong should defend the weak, and to always stand for Truth, Justice, and the American Way. That’s the “true canon” of Superman.

  9. Jim Cook says:

    “Though we gather here today bound together in sorrow and loss, we share a precious gift. We are all of us privileged to live a life that has been touched by Superman. The Man of Steel possessed many extraordinary gifts, and he shared them with us freely. None of these gifts were more remarkable than his ability to discern what needed to be done, and his unfailing courage in doing it, whatever the personal cost. Let us all strive to accept his gift and pass it along, as an ongoing tribute to Kal-El of Krypton, the immigrant from the stars who taught us all how to be heroes.” – J’onn J’onzz – “Hereafter-Justice League”

  10. Snyder’s Batman appears pretty Batman like from what I can tell, but Man of Steel is such a travesty of a Superman Movie. In it, Superman does everything he doesn’t do in the comics. I really don’t know he is on about this True cannon. Superman doesn’t have casualties. He has super speed, he can zoom in and save everyone’s life while still fighting whoever, That is his thing.

    • icarus says:

      But in Man of Steel he is not “that” Superman yet. There is a reason the movie is not called Superman; he doesn’t become Superman till the end of the film. Now that he knows what’s out there and what role he HAS to play and the hero he has to be he will be the Superman that doesn’t have casualties. That has super speed, where he can now zoom in and save everyone’s life while still fighting whoever.

      • Gordon Borland says:

        The real reason Man of Steel is called Man of Steel is because The Dark Knight made money.

        • Kruger says:

          Well, yeah.

          Just to be honest, on their places we would do the same to increase the money income.

          Too, bad film wasn’t anywhere as good and didn’t have legs to carry it over a 1 billion mark.

      • That is a valid point. I will consider that in the future.

    • Kruger says:

      Yes, except the moment he says “Oh, shit” looking at Poopsday, even though he already discovered that all powerful aliens exist and even battled with one before.

      And ”I thought she was with you”, thing is so bad.

      Seems like Oscar winner Terrio wrote the best parts and lines such as “Tell me do you bleed” and Goyer, as always, wrote the bad parts.

      It is a common thing in his scripts, inconsistency in characters. Batman appears to be all valid, but he falls right into shit when he says Goyer’s lines.

  11. corvus1970 says:

    Which canon is true, Zack? Golden age? Silver age? Bronze Age? Post-Crisis? Post-Crisis part deux? New 52? Which one Zack?? You keep on talking. With every arrogant statement, you get closer and closer to saving me $12 on a movie ticket.

  12. PC Principal says:

    Get outta here with this garbage article, and stop trying to pimp your crap on more popular sites!!

  13. Adriano Docconi says:

    I do think his Superman exist in “true canon”. His name is Superboy Prime.

  14. AverageDrafter says:

    My hope is that they stick to their director driven films and just let Snyder and company burn off their gritty boners while exploring other tones with other properties. In particular I look at Shazam! as the biggest indicator of how far DC is willing to cartoon up their live action. The lack of information concerning that project could either mean they are really trying to nail down what they are doing, or that they have no idea how to make it work.

  15. PowerSerg says:

    This universe is awful but I mean it’s for some people so that is good I guess. It’s not like the comics right now are any better.

  16. VBartilucci says:

    There is, I think, a reason that the “new” Superman DC has been serving us for the past few years has not caught on. Namely, they’ve gone and made enough changes to the basic core of the character that he’s not…him…anymore. And that same thing happened in the movie, and, I expect, in this one as well.

    Superman and Batman Don’t Kill. Yes, that was something that more became part of their character after the Comics Code, but it was done so well, and for so long, that it almost retroactively because a “from day one” thing. I mean, nobody REALLY talks about the period where he couldn’t fly.

  17. VindicaSean says:

    Unless Snyder got all of his character notes on Superman from the Superdickery blog entries, Snyder’s Superman is not Superman. And I’m not even much of a Superman fan, though I used to be. Christopher Reeves’ performance certainly took his traits to an entertaining extreme, but they maintained a core of the character that Snyder clearly sees as unworthy of bothering with. And, as an aside, can we please cut it out with the Christ imagery for a character created by two Jewish guys in 1930s? He’s an immigrant, and an adopted son, but he is not a Christ alegory.

    • willdevine says:

      So long as the first Donner film remains in the public eye, there will always be a Christ allegory bent to how Superman is portrayed.

    • Garfii Kartyk says:

      He’s not Christ, but they did write him as a messianic figure, which is a central part of Judaic beliefs.

    • Outside says:

      Just to the first line of your post; no, he didn’t get it from a blog, he got it from the very earliest Superman comics, where amongst other things he threw people like Lex Luthor out of tall buildings because they were jerks. As such, he is just using more of the Superman history book than the old movies did.

      • John Ender says:

        But he always referred to Birthright and Earth One as the basis for MOS in interviews and if you read those two stories you realize how diametrically opposed to those interpretations the movie is

        • Outside says:

          Yes, ‘basis’, that doesn’t mean he based it entirely on those two stories. They may have made up the biggest part of Snyder’s vision, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been pinching stuff from elsewhere to form his version of the character. A pinch of Golden Age here, a whiff of Byrne there and a dash of Morrison to round off the god-comparison.

          • John Ender says:

            actually they were used only for the action set pieces and nothing else… and I understand what ‘basis’ is but there isn’t one in the character itself.

  18. Steven McDade says:

    At least DC Entertainment is recognizing that there is a Mulit Verse so we don’t have to worry about Mr. Snyder’s high opinion of his universe. I like his work, but still see Man of Steel to NOT be a Superman movie, but the start of a very dark cinematic universe that is in need of the Crisis to begin so it can be deleted. :-)