While promoting his Army of the Dead action film, the director is opening up on what he could have done for a second Henry Cavill Superman film, and it would have involved him clashing with a famous Superman enemy.
Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel plans
While Man of Steel was a hit, it wasn’t intended to be the true start of the DCEU. It appeared more that Snyder would be allowed to simply put his stamp on Superman for a new generation.
While the film was praised for Henry Cavill’s performance as Superman, it also received criticism for violence and the controversial decision to have Superman kill Zod to end his threat.
Snyder had plans for a sequel, but that soon changed into Batman v Superman which was intended to set up Justice League. The saga of that latter film and its Snyder Cut has already become a Hollywood legend.
Speaking to the Brobible podcast, Snyder shared he wanted Superman to take on more cosmic threats for a solo sequel.
“We talked about a Brainiac movie. I do think that the Kryptonians that are in the Phantom Zone are probably still around. And there was always a possibility for their return. Faora and whoever’s left. That was a thing that was always out there that we talked about as a possible sequel.
I just think it’s best to give Superman these extraterrestrial challenges because I think you’ve got to be careful with — other than Lex Luthor, because, of course, you have to continue with Lex, because Lex is his real nemesis — but I think you really have to look outside of the Earth for challenges for him because of how powerful he is.”
That Snyder would choose Brainiac as a big-screen enemy is little surprise.
Superman vs Brainiac
Next to Lex Luthor, Brainiac is the most famous and iconic of Superman’s enemies.
Debuting in 1958, this green-skinned alien with a computerized mind travels the universe, shrinking cities into bottles to study. Among them is Kandor, once the capital of Krypton. He will also absorb the history and knowledge of a planet before destroying it.
Over the decades, Brainiac and Superman would clash several times, with Brainiac attempting to conquer Earth or add Metropolis to his connection.
In the 1980s, the alien transformed into a more robotic form to battle Superman. He was then shifted back to his green-skinned body but maintained a cold alien outlook that sees living beings as nothing but insects for study.
While he is often defeated, Brainiac continues to evolve his form and expand his intellect to challenge Superman. The character has appeared in almost every animated Superman show.
James Marsters portrayed an altered version of Brainiac in the Smallville TV series. He was also the chief protagonist of the short-lived Krypton series, where he was obsessed with conquering the planet.
Supergirl makes mention of Brainiac, as his descendant, Brainiac 5 (Jesse Rath), is actually a member of the heroic Legion of Super-Heroes
Brainiac on film?
Snyder isn’t the first to want to bring Brainiac onto the big screen. An early version of Superman III would have used him as the villain as well.
Kevin Smith’s famously never-made Superman Lives film would have had Brainiac posing as a heroic figure to lure Earth into a trap before Superman defeats him.
And finally, Bryan Singer stated that his planned sequel to 2006’s Superman Returns would also have featured Brainiac as the main foe.
It only makes sense as even those with a passing interest in Superman know the name of this villain. It would have been intriguing to see him in the Man of Steel world, emphasizing he’s less a single being and more a twisted force absorbing the intellects of civilizations.
While Snyder’s take on Brainiac would be daring, it’s hard to imagine a future Superman movie won’t try to find a way to make this alien threat a major big-screen villain.
Justice League: The Snyder Cut streaming on HBO Max.