Anyone who has seen either of the two Richard Donner Superman films will remember Terrence Stamp's performance as General Zod, a Kryptonian completely indifferent to human life, as well as a man with the obsession of getting people to kneel before him. Michael Shannon has been pegged to play the same character in Man of Steel, and we've only gotten one short glimpse of him in the trailer. In a recent interview with Totalfilm, Shannon revealed an interesting detail about his character.
[General Zod] is not a villain...He's not a villain any more than any other General fighting to protect his people. He doesn't like to just hurt people and steal diamonds; he's focused on being successful at his job.
I think the way Terrence Stamp approached it - and this isn't any kind if criticism of his performance - there was something detached about it. Pure, hatred, rage... I think this [characterization] is more ambiguous.
That actually sounds pretty interesting. Granted, the headline that most people are pulling from this is that "General Zod isn't a villain", when it seems like it would be more accurate to say that he's just a really sympathetic villain, but is easily the most fascinating detail about Man of Steel to come out in a long time.