Michael Shannon’s Return as General Zod in “The Flash” Surprised…Michael Shannon

Now that details about director Andy Muschietti’s The Flash are coming to light—a film the new DC Studios co-chief James Gunn has called one of the best superhero movies he’s ever seen—we know that Michael Keaton’s return as Batman isn’t the only Michael reprising a role in the film. Michael Shannon also returns as the Superman nemesis General Zod, and the news surprised not just everyone who saw Zod die in Man of Steel but Shannon himself.

Speaking with LooperShannon revealed a little confusion when he was first approached. “I was a little confused,” Shannon told Looper. “I said, ‘As memory serves me, I think I died in Man of Steel. Are they sure they got the right guy?’ But then they explained to me the whole multiverse phenomenon, which I was a little behind the times on that. I can’t say that I’m a huge consumer of this genre of films — not that I have anything against them. If I’m going to watch a movie, the odds are it’s not going to be one of those, but I sure love making them.”

The “whole multiverse phenomenon” that Shannon is referring to is, of course, the way both DC Studios and Marvel have been playing with the conceit of a multiverse, one deployed by comic book writers for decades, in which a character might have died in one universe, but can be alive and well in another. For The Flash, Barry Allen (Ezra Miller), better known as the Flash, will use his super speed to race back in time to try and change the course of history and save his mother’s life. In doing so, however, Barry will wind up in an alternate universe in which Zod is very much alive and determined to wipe out Barry and anyone else standing in his way. Oh, also, in this universe, there are no other meta-humans (that is, superheroes like Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, etc.) which is why Barry has to recruit the only other superhero around who happens to be decidedly human and non-meta—Michael Keaton’s aging Batman.

Shannon’s reprising his role, but he’s not playing the same General Zod from Man of Steel. This is the nature of the multiverse and why there can be multiple Batmen (Ben Affleck also appears as Bruce Wayne in the film) and multiple Spider-Men over in Sony/Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home. Here’s what Shannon said about the role to Looper:

“I tried to get back into his skin,” Shannon said. “He’s a little different in this film. He’s a little more…I don’t know how to put it. You don’t spend as much time with him, so you don’t really get to know as much about what he’s thinking. It’s not necessarily his movie. That’s the thing with these multiverse movies — you get a little bit of this and a little bit of that. But it’s really Ezra [Miller’s] movie.”

For more on The Flash, check out these stories:

“The Flash” Will Premiere at CinemaCon 2023

“The Flash” Posters Reveal Michael Keaton’s Batman in Iconic Cape & Cowl

“The Flash” Trailer Reveals Michael Keaton’s Batman, Supergirl, & So Much More

Featured image: DEAUVILLE, FRANCE – SEPTEMBER 11: Michael Shannon poses during the unveiling of his dedicated beach locker room on the Promenade des Planches during the 47th Deauville American Film Festival on September 11, 2021 in Deauville, France. (Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images)


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