Judging by the film’s swell box office success, a vast majority of the moviegoing public saw Man of Steel this past weekend. Response to director Zack Snyder’s take on the legendary superhero has been decidedly all over the map, but it certainly seems like this iteration of Superman—and possibly that larger DC Comics Movie Universe—is here to stay. Snyder and writer David S. Goyer have already been enlisted to tackle a fast-tracked Man of Steel sequel, and that film will pave the way for Justice League and further DC comics adaptations, including Wonder Woman and Aquaman films that Warner Bros. is reportedly revving up.
During their numerous interviews on the Man of Steel press tour, Snyder and Goyer have made no secret of the fact that the world of Man of Steel is not exclusive to Superman—other superheroes exist in the same universe. This is Warner Bros.’ answer to Marvel’s incredibly lucrative series of films, and Snyder and Goyer went so far as to include a number of Easter Eggs and hints at other DC characters within Man of Steel itself as a tease of what’s to come. In case you missed some of these quick geek-friendly references, hit the jump to read a comprehensive roundup. [Warning: Spoilers Ahead]
First off, here is Goyer explaining how Man of Steel exists in a shared universe and noting that the events of the film open the door for other superheroes to step forward:
“It is our intention that, in success, [Man of Steel] would be the zero issue and from this point onward, possible films could expand into a shared universe. In our world, the Man of Steel world, Zack has gone on record saying that we’re implying there are other superheroes in this world. But I don’t know that they’ve come forward yet. The idea is that Superman is the first one. There might be people helping people, but not in costumes, and that Superman comes forward and announces himself to the world. In him announcing himself, he’s the one that changes things.”
A big hat tip to /Film for spotting and expanding upon many of the below Easter Eggs and references.
LexCorp and Wayne Enterprises
The two biggest Easter Eggs that most people knew about going into Man of Steel involve two of the most well-known DC Comics characters: Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne. Luthor’s presence is the most prevalent, as the LexCorp logo is seen twice within the context of the film: once on the top of a building and again blasted on the side of an oil tanker that is used as a weapon during the climactic Superman/General Zod fight. [Update: A few eagle-eyed readers have alerted us that the LexCorp logo is also seen on the truck that drops adult Clark off at Martha’s house when he comes back to visit.]
Obviously, Snyder and Goyer will be making future Superman films, and what’s a Superman franchise without the character’s arch-enemy, Lex Luthor? Whether we’ll see Luthor as the primary baddie in the direct sequel is still unknown, but I’d be shocked if the character didn’t at least make an appearance in Man of Steel 2, even if we only glimpse Luthor as a seemingly straightforward businessman. Snyder and Co. had no qualms about switching up many of the Superman staples in Man of Steel, so I’m eager to see what their take on Lex Luthor entails.
The other major Easter Egg seen in Man of Steel has less to do with the Superman franchise and more to do with the DC Movie Universe as a whole. Again, during the Superman/Zod fight in the film’s third act, the two trade blows in outer space. As Superman approaches a satellite (that he also uses as a weapon), we see the Wayne Enterprises logo blasted on the side. This is Snyder’s way of confirming that, yes, Bruce Wayne and therefore Batman exists in the exact same world that Superman inhabits.
Christopher Nolan has been adamant that his Dark Knight trilogy stands alone, so the Man of Steel Bruce Wayne is not the same character we saw in Nolan’s three films, but instead will be a rebooted iteration of Batman that we’ll see in a standalone Batman film, Justice League, and possibly even a World’s Finest feature.
One of the more subtle references in Man of Steel hints at the existence of Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-El a.k.a. “Supergirl”. When Clark Kent first stumbles upon the Kryptonian scouting ship that becomes his Fortress of Solitude, he finds a series of cryotubes. One of the tubes is shown to be occupied by a mummified corpse, but the camera lingers on another tube that has been opened and is empty. This empty tube isn’t specifically addressed in the film, but we can surmise that one of the ship’s Kryptonian inhabitants vacated the ship alive, which means there’s another Kryptonian somewhere out there.
Speaking with Crave Online, producer Deborah Snyder specifically pointed out the empty pod as having possible ramifications for the future:
“You know what’s interesting, and I don’t know and I’m not going to say what it means or anything, but the one thing if you look closely when Henry’s going through the Fortress of Solitude there’s an empty… you know all the bodies… the pods? There’s an empty pod. I’m not going to say what, or if, it means anything but there is an empty pod there.”
When asked directly if the character she was referring to was Supergirl, Snyder responded, “No. [Laughs] I’m not going to say anything but, it’s a thing.” Goyer elaborated on the sequence while speaking with AICN, saying there was debate over whether to leave it in the film or not:
“I will say that I did intentionally leave some loose ends, not as sequel bait, but just because I thought they were interesting. I don’t know if anyone that’s viewed the film has picked up on this yet, but when Clark goes into the scout ship, which sort of becomes the Fortress of Solitude, you see four cryogenic sarcophagi for the crew that piloted that ship 18,000 or 20,000 years ago. There’s a shot there – and, it’s funny, at one point Zack took it out, but I cried ‘Uncle!’, and he put it back in. But you see there are four pods: three of them have skeletons in them, but one is open and there is no skeleton. Zack had missed it the first time he read the script. I pointed it out to him, and he was like, ‘Okay, that’s interesting. That’s an interesting loose end.’”
Given that Goyer was so intentional about the open pod, I wouldn’t be surprised to find the payoff from that shot somewhere in Man of Steel 2.
S.T.A.R. Labs and Cyborg
While the superhero character Cyborg is never specifically addressed in Man of Steel, the company responsible for the character’s transformation, S.T.A.R. Labs, is. Richard Schiff’s scientist character, Dr. Hamilton (also from the comics), is very briefly identified as an employee of S.T.A.R. Labs, and Goyer previously made the connection between the company reference and Cyborg, telling MTV “We make a reference to S.T.A.R. Labs at one point, that’s kind of a connection to Cyborg.” Whlie it doesn’t sound like Goyer and Co. have big plans for the Cyborg character anytime soon, S.T.A.R. Labs most definitely exists within the shared DC Movie Universe.
Carol Ferris/Star Sapphire
The inclusion of Carol Ferris in Man of Steel is an interesting decision. Ferris is played by Christina Wren in the film, and is seen as secondary military officer throughout the pic’s military-focused scenes. She has a notable line towards the end of the film wherein she calls Henry Cavill’s Superman “kind of hot,” and many are now taking this as a reinvention of the DC Comics character. Ferris is best known as the love interest of Hal Jordon aka Green Lantern (played by Blake Lively in WB’s failed Green Lantern pic), but the character also moonlights as a sometimes supervillain/superhero called Star Sapphire.
Again, we don’t necessarily know if Snyder and Goyer have bigger plans for Wren’s iteration of the character or if she was just included as a fun nod to comics fans, but it’s very clear that all involved have made a concerted effort to open the Man of Steel universe up to characters from a number of DC comics.
Booster Gold/Blaze Comics
Possibly the deepest reference of the bunch, the logo for Blaze Comics is seen on a far away building when Superman and Zod are flying towards each other in the film’s third act. In the DC Comics world, Blaze Comics is a company that publishes the Booster Gold comics, which center on a time-traveling character from the 25th century. He’s a sometimes member of the Justice League and first popped up in the mid 1980s, but given the obscurity of the reference, one imagines this was simply reward for die-hard fans and not necessarily a hint of things to come.
While not explicitly an Easter Egg, the inclusion of Clark Kent’s teenage love interest Lana Lang was so brief that it could technically qualify as one. Jadin Gould played the character in the film, and she was only glimpsed in flashbacks to Clark’s childhood in Smallville. The most striking appearance of Lana comes on the school bus, as she catches Clark’s eyes as he lifts the vehicle out of the water. It’s possible that further sequels could include more flashbacks, but Superman’s origin story was retooled heavily by Snyder and Goyer so there’s no telling what kind of purpose Lana serves in Clark’s life in the Man of Steel universe.
Surely there are more Easter Eggs that have been missed, so if you think you spotted something or have an interesting theory on one of the aforementioned references, sound off in the comments below.