Kryptonian super-villian portrayed by Terence Stamp in Superman II. He, along with Ursa and Non, who were imprisoned in the Phantom Zone in the first movie, are freed by the shockwaves of a nuclear explosion in space.

They then go to the moon, kill a few astronauts, and hear over a radio that the astronauts were communicating with a place called Houston. Naturally the mistake the entire planet for being Houston. After all, they are kryptonian.

When they arrive on earth they notice they're a helluva lot stronger than they were. They figure out it's because of the sun. Anyways, once they get in contact with more humans the shit hits the fan. There's killing and throwing people around telepathically and all kinds of fun stuff.

Superman meanwhile is nowhere to be found. As he's having a moment (or three or four) with Lois Lane. Oh yeah, and forsaking all of his powers to be with Lois forever.

Zod's only real flaw is that he wasn't as ruthless as he could have been...sure he was a bad motherfucker, but you know...if this guy had the same powers as Superman, he could have done a lot more. He just didn't utilize it.

Well...that and he fell for the old rewired fortress of solitude trick.

Fun Quotes by General Zod (Courtesy IMDB):

Zod: So this is planet Houston. A very strange surface!

Ursa: You are master of all you survey.
General Zod: (bored) So I was yesterday. And the day before.

President: (on T.V.) This is your President. On behalf of my country and in the name of the other leaders of the world with whom I have today consulted, I hereby abdicate all authority and control over this planet to General Zod. Only by following all his directives will the lives of millions be spared... (desperately) Superman! Can you hear me? Superman! Where are you...
General Zod: Who is this Superman?
President: You'll find out and when you do---
General Zod: Come to me, Superman! I defy you! Come and kneel before Zod! Zod!

General Zod: I win. I always win. Is there no one on this planet who can challenge me?

Although Terence Stamp's scenery-chewing performance as General Zod is most famous from Superman II, the part was actually created for the first Superman film, in which Zod and his partners-in-crime are, in a brief sequence at the beginning of the film, incarcerated in The Phantom Zone.

This came about because the two films were originally to have been shot at the same time, in the manner of Richard Lester's 'The Three Musketeers' / 'The Four Musketeers'. However, Richard Donner, director of the original, fell out with the producers and was replaced by the aforementioned Richard Lester, resulting in a lengthy delay between the two films. This also explains the second film's campier tone, although Stamp is to be commended for remaining genuinely nasty - he actually killed people - despite being surrounded by buffoons.

As the previous writeup indicates, most of his lines are extremely quotable ("Kneel before Zod!" is a very good chat up line, even if your name is not Zod), and Stamp appeared to be having a whale of a time. Whether he likes it or not, it is for this film that he will be remembered by future generations; not Billy Budd, Far from the Madding Crowd, The Hit and so forth. Zod is also one of the earliest instances of a Hollywood blockbuster choosing to have a villain portrayed by a well-spoken British actor.

Furthermore, and thanks to Gamaliel:
http://www.generalzod.net/

A villain published by DC Comics. General Zod first appeared in Adventure Comics #283 in 1961.

General Zod was originally portrayed in the comics as a native of Superman's home planet of Krypton who, due to the heinous nature of his crimes, was sentenced to be banished into the Phantom Zone. The Phantom Zone allowed those who were in it to see our reality but not interact with it. After the destruction of Krypton, those who were trapped in the Phantom Zone believed that they were trapped forever, an endless insubstantial existence. It was not until Superman learned how to open up the Phantom Zone that they were able to escape. When those trapped there discovered that Superman was the son of the man who had found the Phantom Zone, they would often seek to use their new found abilities to exact their revenge on Jor-El's off-spring.

General Zod clashed with Superman on a number of ocassions. He was portrayed as a bald man and was often portrayed as a Kryptonian version of a Nazi. But with his ingrained hatred for Jor-El's family, his military training, and the powers he possessed as a Kryptonian under a yellow sun, General Zod was always a tough opponent for the Man of Steel.

After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC Comics was stuck with trying to figure out how the Legion of Super-Heroes could exist with no Superboy, since he had been a intregral part of their origin, though he did not exist after the reboot. It was decided that Superboy was part of a reality created by the Legion villain the Time Trapper, one which he discarded once it was no longer of use to him. In this reality, no other heroes appeared other than the now deceased Superboy. When the Lex Luthor of that reality discovered a Phantom Zone projector in the wreckage of Superboy's home, he unwittingly released three Kryptonian villains General Zod, Quex-Ull and Faora, who then began to decimate this reality. With the help of Lex Luthor, our Superman was taken to that reality which was laid waste by these other Kryptonians. Superman captured and tried the villains. He found them guilty and using green kryptonite, executed them.

General Zod later reappeared on a Krypton that Superman and Lois Lane visited by traveling through the Phantom Zone. This Zod was still espousing Kryptonian purity and eventually had to be defeated through the combined efforts of Superman and Jor-El.

Later still, a figure rose to power in the eastern European nation of Pokolistan. Calling himself the General and dressed in a red suit of armor, the General stood toe to toe with Superman, even breaking the Man of Steel's jaw. It was later revealed that this General was in fact a Russian who had be exposed to Kryptonite radiation through his parents who were both cosmonauts. The effect on their son was that he terribly weak under a yellow sun but under a red sun, he possessed Kryptonian level powers. Contacted by the spirit of the Zod from the pocket universe, the General began to amass power, ultimately desiring to change Earth's sun from yellow to red and take Superman's place. He succeeded for a time, but with the help of Lex Luthor, Superman was able to defeat the General.

Zod gained great popularity when the character was portrayed in the first two Superman movies by Terence Stamp. Stamp's over-the-top acting style and scene chewing including the well known line "Kneel before Zod!" have made this purely secondary character in his original form, a well known character to the general public.

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