(Warning: Mild SPOILERS for 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' lie below — albeit ones largely given away in the movie's trailers. If you've not yet seen the movie, however, then proceed with caution and all that...)
Now, while Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice may only be a sequel to 2013's Man Of Steel in the very loosest of senses (with Henry "Superman" Cavill himself having argued that it's more the beginning of something new), the two films remain inextricably linked. After all, Batman v Superman's opening moments (to say nothing of Batman's central motivation) are largely defined by the events of Man Of Steel, albeit in much the same way that The Avengers is inevitably defined by the solo Marvel movies that came before it.
There is, however, one other key way in which Batman v Superman tied itself to Man Of Steel, though as it turns out...
Michael Shannon's Cameo In 'Batman v Superman' Was Much Smaller Than We Thought
While Shannon's reappearance as General Zod played a key role in the plot of Batman v Superman — and especially in Lex Luthor's scheming — it seems that we may have actually seen much less of Michael Shannon in the role than we initially thought.
While Shannon certainly did work on the movie, it turns out that a whole lot of the shots of Zod that made it into the final cut weren't actually him at all. Instead...
A Special Effects Team Basically Cloned Michael Shannon
Or, rather, the folks over at Studio ADI — tasked with creating an HD-ready model of Shannon's Zod — created something so disconcertingly life-like that cloning really doesn't seem all that out of the question.
I mean, honestly, take a look at this here image of the replica in question, and tell me that you wouldn't believe that was really Shannon at a passing glance.
Just look at it — it's glorious(ly unnerving).
What's more, from the looks of that video — and the description of the process provided by the folks over at Studio ADI themselves...
For the blockbuster BATMAN VS SUPERMAN, ADI created two ultra-realistic replicas of the deceased General Zod that would withstand close scrutiny by a camera lense. Fitness trainer Greg Plitt came to ADI for us to lifecast his body from the neck down while our colleague Barney Burman loaned us a headcast of actor Michael Shannon. Once the Shannon headcast was copied both the head and body were run in silicone with a polyfoam fill to make them solid. Tony Matijevich, Brian Clawson, and Tim Leach created both Zod bodies; Denise Baer punched hair; Mike Larrabee painted both Zods.
...it sure doesn't sound like it was a simple process. Which is actually reassuring when you think about it, because that right there is the sort of special effects work that would make faking your own death — or that of others — much, much easier.
Nicely played, Studio ADI. Nicely played...
What do you think, though?
Would you believe that the Zod replica was really Michael Shannon?