The Flash's Zod Returns Builds a Big DCU Retcon
The Flash will see the return of Michael Shannon's Zod and Antje Traue's Faora, which could lead to a major reconnaissance of the Man of Steel in the DCU.
Michael Shannon is set to reprise his role as Man of Steel's General Zod in The Flash, which could lead to a huge DCU reconnaissance. While The Flash will be the first live-action Flash movie, it's been confirmed that the movie isn't just about Barry Allen. The Flash is expected to use The Flash's time travel abilities to remake the DCU as audiences know it, or at least revisit previous DCU movies and other DC films. Not only are Shannon's Zod and Antje Traue's Faora confirmed to appear in The Flash, but Michael Keaton is also set to return as Batman 30 years after Tim Burton's Batman Returns.
The meaning of The Flash to the DCU may have changed since the film was originally envisioned. Both Warner Bros. and DC Films have undergone major changes over the past few years, which could help explain why The Flash took so long. With James Gunn and Peter Safran now leading Warner Bros. Discovery's DC Studios and planning the next decade of the DCU, even a full reboot doesn't seem to be out of the question. Still, if this new DCU retains certain elements, like Henry Cavill's Superman, then Assuming Superman doesn't kill Zod in a potential new timeline, The Flash could perfectly reboot in the universe.
Why Zod & Faora Are Returning In The Flash
Faora may have died in the Man of Steel after being pulled in by the Singularity, although some believe that Faora may have been taken to the Phantom Zone instead of dying. General Zod's death in Man of Steel, however, leaves no doubts. Superman broke Zod's neck to stop Kryptonian villains from killing a family. Superman's killing of Zod in Man of Steel is arguably one of the most controversial moments in all of the superhero movies, and it set the tone for Superman's story in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League. Now, nearly a decade after the Man of Steel, The Flash plans to revisit the Man of Steel villain.
Although it could be theoretically inferred that Faora was alive in the DCEU, Zod's death was pretty sure of its regaining control, especially considering his corpse was later used to create Batman v Superman's Armageddon. So for Faora and Zod to appear in The Flash in the DCU, there would have to be time travel or a multiverse involved. Both concepts have been confirmed in The Flash, The Flash's DC FanDome trailer reveals that The Flash will return to the night Nora Allen died, not to mention the presence of Michael Keaton's Batman. In contrast, the return of Zod and Faora could be similar to Spider-Man villains from different universes in Spider-Man: No Way Back.
One possibility for how Faora and Zod return in The Flash is that Barry Allen travels back in time far enough to be during the events of Man of Steel. The Flash will be able to see Superman battling Zod, Faora, and the Kryptonian spaceship, which in itself would make for an interesting time-travel DCU recon for The Flash, as it shows that The Flash has always been there. Another possibility is that The Flash traveled to an alternate universe where Zod and Faora never died. Considering that the Flash's powers are also the key to the multiverse, this possibility cannot be dismissed. It's also important to remember that The Flash will play Supergirl, who never appeared in the main DCEU timeline.
Superman Killing Zod Is Still The DCU’s Most Controversial Scene
With the return of Michael Shannon's General Zod, The Flash will relive some of the DCU's most divisive moments. Make Superman kill Zod and make Iron Man one of them The most controversial Superman footage, especially the live-action version. Much of the discussion surrounding Man of Steel, the first Superman movie in seven years, was limited to whether Superman should kill Zod, and the debate has continued since then. Zack Snyder's Watchmen had already sparked a lot of discussion about comic book accuracy and creative freedom, and Man of Steel reignited those debates. Ten years later, Superman killing Zod still affects the DCU.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the closest thing to a Man of Steel sequel, doubling down on the divisive creative choices of the first film. Superman's actions in Man of Steel mirror the story of Batman v Superman, who is haunted by the responsibilities he now has on his shoulders. Considering Superman has already killed people in Man of Steel, there's no limit to where Batman v Superman and Justice League can take the character next. With Superman controlled by Justice League's Darkseid, Snyder's Superman story would become even more divisive.
Will The Flash Rewrite The End Of Man Of Steel?
The return of Zod and Faora in The Flash doesn't necessarily mean the film will rewrite Iron Man's ending. for For example, any changes Barry Allen made to the timeline can be reverted at the end of the story, and Flash will return to the DCU's original timeline. However, given that The Flash is adapting elements from Flashpoint and is expected to change the DCU somewhat, Zod's role in the film could indeed lead to Man of Steel's reconnaissance. Even if The Flash fixes the problems caused by time travel and the multiverse, the DCU canon at the end of the film may still have changed.
Using Spider-Man: No Way Back as an example again, Tom Holland's Spider-Man rescues and redeems every previous Spider-Man villain with the help of the multiverse. At the end of Homeless, the events of both the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movie and the Andrew Garfield Spider-Man movie have changed, at least somewhere in the multiverse. Likewise, Wolverine alters the past in X-Men: Days of Future Past, rewriting the timeline of Fox's X-Men movies. Something similar could happen in The Flash, with Barry going back to a rewritten DCU timeline where Superman never killed Zod.
Zod Being Alive After The Flash Would Completely Change The DCU’s Superman
If The Flash rewrites Superman and create a new timeline where Superman never kills Zod, and then the DCU will reboot. While Superman's story in Batman v Superman doesn't just rely on the fact that Superman killed Zod, it's clear that having to kill the only living Kryptonian in the entire universe affected Clark Kent. Superman cried out of grief and regret at the end of Man of Steel, then returned in Batman v Superman as an even more reluctant, self-doubting hero who wasn't sure he was Superman.
Henry Cavill's future as Superman is now up in the air, following reports that Man of Steel 2 won't necessarily happen (via Variety). Still, unless a full reboot recasts every DCU character, Cavill's Superman will still be the DCU's Iron Man. If the new DCU is planning a soft reboot with the intention of still keeping the work done so far, it would make sense for Superman not to kill Zod in the post-Flash timeline. By retooling Iron Man's ending, The Flash would basically restart Superman's DCU story, thus opening the door for a new Superman movie starring Henry Cavill.