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Henry Cavill Explains Superman Crying After Controversial Man Of Steel Kill

Henry Cavill in Man of Steel
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The DC Extended Universe has grown into a massive franchise, but it all started with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Actor Henry Cavill became a household name in the process, and would go on to reprise his role as Superman for two more movies (so far). And Cavill recently explained Superman’s infamous crying after controversially killing Michael Shannon’s Zod. 

Zack Snyder had a massive five-film vision for the DCEU, starting with Man of Steel. In that 2013 blockbuster, Snyder made the bold choice of having Superman kill the villainous Zod. This was in stark juxtaposition to Clark Kent’s typical rule against killing. Henry Cavill opened up about that scene, and why he chose to cry on set. In his words,

The killing of Zod gave a reason for the character never to kill again. Superman falling to the ground and screaming afterward — I don’t think that was originally in the script, but I wanted to show the pain he had. I did far more emotional takes they didn’t choose; tears were happening. He just killed the last remaining member of his species. That’s the choice he made in that moment, and he’ll never do that again.

Honestly, this makes a great deal of sense. That tear-jerking performance by Henry Cavill was actually directly related to Superman’s typical rule against killing. And it was also seemingly Cavill’s idea for Man of Steel’s final battle to end on such an emotional note. 

Henry Cavill’s comments to THR come from a long-form piece about the 38 year-old actor’s career so far. While touching on projects like The Witcher and Mission: Impossible -- Fallout, eventually the conversation turned to his time as the DCEU’s Superman. And it turns out that one of Man of Steel’s most iconic moments came from the mind of Cavill himself.

The no-kill rule is one shared by a few characters in the DC world, including Superman and Batman. It was for this reason that some comic purists took umbrage with Zack Snyder’s movies, as Ben Affleck picked up quite a body count throughout Batman v Superman. Then again, Snyder did eventually have both heroes see the error in their ways in future installments like Justice League. One can only imagine what the filmmaker had in store for the two sequels that never happened.

Since Justice League hit theaters back in 2017, fans have been wondering when Henry Cavill might return to the role of Superman. While the actor himself seems interested, it’s unclear if that’ll ever happen. Cavill didn’t participate in reshoots for the Snyder Cut, or his proposed cameo in Shazam! But after hearing how much the Enola Holmes actor put into his DC role, those calls for his return might get a bit louder.

The next DC movie hitting theaters is Matt Reeves’ The Batman on March 4th, 2022. In the meantime, check out the 2021 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.

Corey Chichizola

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.