Saturday, September 22, 2012

Has LEGO Revealed a MAJOR "Man of Steel" Spoiler??

Everyone else is running this, so I figure I might as well get my clicks while I can.

In one of those developments that I'm sure I'll be hearing about as the "symbolic death of film journalism" at the next critic's meetup; major movie news has once again been (potentially) made by the release of a toy company's product schedule: LEGO has been giving retailers the heads-up as to their 2013 licensed products, and references therein seem to have let some possible-surprises slip a little early.

One of them isn't all that much of a surprise (pretty much everyone has figured out who/what Ben Kingsley is ACTUALLY playing in "Iron Man 3," yes?) but the other MAY have given away the game for Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan's "Man of Steel."

All speculation at this point, but still... POTENTIAL MAJOR SPOILER AFTER THE JUMP!

Last chance to turn back, kids:

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The last entry on LEGO's product list for playsets reads as follows: 76009: SUPERMAN BLACK ZERO ESCAPE. If there's an especially well-versed DC Comics fan reading this in the vicinity near you, it may be wise to give them a bag to breathe into.

Who or what is "Black Zero?" Well, to give you an idea of why this could be the mother of all spoilers for this particular movie, the Silver Age (1968) story that introduced the first iteration of the character/concept was called "The Man Who Destroyed Krypton."

Yeah.

In the story (now long-deleted from "official" Superman canon by a Crisis or fifty) Black Zero is an alien "space saboteur" who specializes in causing the destruction of entire planets; and reveals that while Jor-El had been right about Krypton's demise being probable, the "internal pressures" issue would actually have worked itself out had Black Zero not given them an extra shove. When Zero turns his attentions to Earth, Superman is forced to release a Kryptonian supervillain named Jax-Ur from The Phantom Zone in order to defeat him.

In post-Crisis continuity, "Black Zero" is the name of a terrorist organization that was part of a clones-vs-natural-borns Civil War on ancient Krypton whose superweapon "The Destroyer" set in motion the milleniums-long chain reaction that eventually. resulted in the planet's ultimate demise. There's also been a "Black Zero Computer Virus" and the original's name/costume were adopted by an alternate-universe doppleganger of the post-Doomsday Superboy.

So, then... assuming that this is legit, what is "Black Zero" in "Man of Steel?" Is "what destroyed Krypton?" part of some big overarching mystery in the film? Is it a character? An organization? Just a "shout-out" for fans? Mucking around and "over-complicating" the Krypton backstory has been sketchy territory for Superman adaptations in the past... but it's also something I can easily imagine Warners aiming at to give the character some Batman-ish angst; and it'd be VERY typical of the ultra-literalist, mechanics-fixated Nolan Bros. to want to tie the end of Krypton in the backstory to the main story (re: Superman has to literally protect Earth from the same fate his father failed to prevent on Kypton.)

I'll be honest... neither of those theories sound like particularly good ideas to me, but I'm intrigued.

12 comments:

Paul said...

If they were going to go with a tie in for a villain that helped doom Krypton who can show up later as a Superman enemy on Earth then I don't think you can top the reimagining that Bruce Timm did with Brainiac in Superman TAS. Why Snyder/Nolan/Goyer and Co. didn't go that way is still beyond me.

lemonvampire said...

It may seem strange that Nolan would go to an obscure silver age character for a villain, but considering he based his Catwoman on the old Julie Newmar version it's not that surprising.

But, also considering how surprisingly well his Not-Catwoman actually turned out, I'm not too worried about it.

I'm actually really glad to have heard about this as a spoiler instead of seeing it first in the actual film. I had never heard of this character before and if I had just seen it in the film I would have been outraged at the thought that they had just made something up when they could have used the Brainiac plot from TAS.
Now that I know about this, if it even is in fact going to be in the film, I'm actually really intrigued/excited about it. One of the things I was worried about with the new film was that it was going to try too hard to be "modern," considering the no-briefs suit and the way DC has been butchering the character in all other respects for the last year, and not have any kind of connection or reverence for the history of Superman.
While I may not be a golden/silver age fanboy, my favorite versions of Superman tend to be the ones that pull from that history (Kingdom Come, Justice, New Frontier, Secret Origin, TAS), and I was really worried that this new version was going to be too reflective of DC's current treatment. But the more news I hear from it the more I feel like Nolan and Snyder really can pull it off, really can deliver a Superman for a new generation that still honors his history.

Trilbee said...

I'd take LEGO toy rumours with a massive grain of salt.

Let's not forget that loads of news outlets were posting Avengers "spoilers" because of LEGO sets by saying that the Red Skull would be in the movie.

That didn't happen.

Anonymous said...

I'm a much bigger fan of the Brainiac plot from Superman TAS than any of his other origins. Everything just makes more sense and feels more, well, real. Plus, it plays with the audience a bit. We know Brainiac is responsible for the destruction of Krypton, so the first time Supes and him meet, the audience is just shouting at their screens for Supes to fight, which he won't because he isn't aware of who Brainiac truly is yet.

Anonymous said...

I doubt it will be a massive spoiler it seems like the kind of thing that would start the story or releasing him will be part of the main villains plan for the climax.

TheDVDGrouch said...

Speaking of Superman the animated series in that show Jax-Ur was their General Zodd stand in villian. Maybe Black Zero is another Henri Duccard kind of name drop thing.

Sssonic said...

@ Anonymous: Honestly, one of the nicer touches of the TAS version is that Brainiac isn't responsible for the death of Krypton; in a way, he isn't even responsible for the death of the Kryptonian people (who, like the Donner version, are as much victims of their own arrogance as anything else). He just made sure to tactically hide information that would've allowed Jor-El to persuade the council to take action to save their civilization.

And Bob, I gotta say, if this is going to be your "schtick" for the entirety of your MoS coverage, i.e. assigning anything and everything you dislike about it to the Nolan Bros., I can't say I'm thrilled. I get that you like Snyder, and I get that you see this idea as more in keeping with the Nolans' storytelling philosophy, but even artists we like are more than capable of making bad choices, and it's going to get really cloying really fast if this turns into "if only Snyder had been given a freer hand!" without much in the way of evidence to really support that idea.

Times like this I'm thankful that the most I can muster for "Man of Steel" is ambivalence thus far.

MovieBob said...

@Ssssonic,

I'm inclined to presume that MOST of the specifics of the story originated with the Nolan Bros. because the "pitch" and subsequent screenplay for the film were set up by Johnathan Nolan and David Goyer, under Christopher Nolan's producer supervision, LONG before Snyder was secured to direct the film (for a time, it was actually believed that Johnathan would be making his directorial debut here in some circles.)

MovieBob said...

@Ssssonic,

I'm inclined to presume that MOST of the specifics of the story originated with the Nolan Bros. because the "pitch" and subsequent screenplay for the film were set up by Johnathan Nolan and David Goyer, under Christopher Nolan's producer supervision, LONG before Snyder was secured to direct the film (for a time, it was actually believed that Johnathan would be making his directorial debut here in some circles.)

Sssonic said...

@ Moviebob: Fair enough, then.

Sssonic said...

@Moviebob: And since I feel like that short little sentence might be taken the wrong way-and, if not, is a far punier thing than is warranted under the circumstances-, I'll just clarify for the record that I absolutely don't want to be That Guy, and am more than willing to admit I jumped the gun here.

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