Warning: Spoilers about the end of "Man of Steel" ahead.

Many Superman fans were upset that the last son of Krypton kills General Zod at the end of "Man of Steel," and executive producer Christopher Nolan feels their pain. As it turns out, Nolan was also against the out-of-character turn for Superman, before being convinced otherwise by screenwriter David S. Goyer.

Here's Goyer discussing the end of "Man of Steel" with Empire magazine:

One of the lessons that Chris and I learned from Batman was that if you're going to revitalize an iconic figure like that, you have to be prepared to slay some sacred cows and you have to be prepared to weather the slings and arrows of some people. You have to respect the canon, but constantly question the canon. If you don't reinvent these characters -- and they are constantly being reinvented in the comic books -- then they become stagnant and they cease being relevant. We were feeling -- and I think a lot of people were feeling -- that Superman was ceasing to be relevant.

[...]

Killing Zod was a big thing and that was something that Chris Nolan originally said there's no way you can do this. That was a change. Originally, Zod got sucked into the Phantom Zone along with the others. I just felt it was unsatisfying and so did Zack. We started questioning and talked to some of the people at DC Comics and said, "Do you think there's ever a way that Superman would kill someone." At first they said, "No way. No way." We said, "But what if he didn't have a choice?" Originally, Chris didn't even want to let us try to write it. Zack and I said, "We think we can figure out a way that you'll buy it." I came up with this idea of the heat vision and these people about to die. I wrote the scene and I gave it to Chris and he said, "OK, you convinced me. I buy it."

[...]

I think it makes some people feel uncomfortable; other people say, "Right on." That was the point. Hopefully what we've done with the end of the film is we've gotten people -- the mainstream audience, not the geek audience -- to question [the character]. Hopefully we've redefined Superman.

For some, Goyer's redefinition of Superman was a bridge too far.

"I think this is the single most disturbing plot point in any blockbuster movie this summer. Disturbing, because I get the vibe that the filmmakers don’t even come close to understanding how crazy, how unexpected, how just plain wrong Superman killing someone is," Darren Franich wrote for EW.com, perhaps giving voice to the "geek audience" that Goyer was referring to in his quotes. "Having superpowers doesn’t give Superman the moral authority to decide who lives and who dies; if anything, it gives him less authority, since he has so much more absolute power to abuse absolutely. The crazy thing is that, in 'Man of Steel,' his power is exactly what gives him the authority."

Leave your own thoughts on this "Man of Steel" debate in the comments below. Listen to the Empire Magazine podcast, featuring Goyer, in the window above.

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  • Henry Cavill

    Actor Henry Cavill attends the "Man Of Steel" world premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Monday, June 10, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Henry Cavill

    Actor Henry Cavill attends the "Man Of Steel" world premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Monday, June 10, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Amy Adams

    Actress Amy Adams attends the "Man Of Steel" world premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Monday, June 10, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder

    Director Zack Snyder and his wife, producer Deborah Snyder, attend the "Man Of Steel" world premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Monday, June 10, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Michael Shannon, Kate Arrington

    Actor Michael Shannon, left, and actress Kate Arrington attend the "Man Of Steel" world premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Monday, June 10, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Laurence Fishburne

    Actor Laurence Fishburne attends the "Man Of Steel" world premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Monday, June 10, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Kevin Costner, Christine Baumgartner

    Actor Kevin Costner, left, and wife Christine Baumgartner attend the "Man Of Steel" world premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Monday, June 10, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Antje Traue

    Actress Antje Traue attends the "Man Of Steel" world premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Monday, June 10, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Ayelet Zurer

    Actress Ayelet Zurer attends the "Man Of Steel" world premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Monday, June 10, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Dylan Sprayberry

    Actor Dylan Sprayberry attends the "Man Of Steel" world premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Monday, June 10, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Amy Adams

    Actress Amy Adams attends the "Man Of Steel" world premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Monday, June 10, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Russell Crowe

    Actor Russell Crowe attends the "Man Of Steel" world premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Monday, June 10, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Henry Cavill

    Actor Henry Cavill attends the "Man Of Steel" world premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Monday, June 10, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Amy Adams

    Actress Amy Adams attends the "Man Of Steel" world premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Monday, June 10, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas

    Producers Christopher Nolan, left, and Emma Thomas attend the "Man Of Steel" world premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Monday, June 10, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Michael Shannon

    Actor Michael Shannon attends the "Man Of Steel" world premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Monday, June 10, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Amy Adams, Henry Cavill

    Actress Amy Adams and actor Henry Cavill attend the "Man Of Steel" world premiere after-party at Skylight at Moynihan Station on Monday, June 10, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Amy Adams, Henry Cavill

    Actress Amy Adams and actor Henry Cavill attend the "Man Of Steel" world premiere after-party at Skylight at Moynihan Station on Monday, June 10, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Amy Adams, Henry Cavill

    Actress Amy Adams and actor Henry Cavill attend the "Man Of Steel" world premiere after-party at Skylight at Moynihan Station on Monday, June 10, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • "Man Of Steel"

    Christopher Nolan & Zack Snyder

  • "Man Of Steel"

    Henry Cavill as Superman

  • "Man Of Steel"

    Henry Cavill as Superman

  • "Man Of Steel"

    Henry Cavill as Superman

  • "Man Of Steel"

    Henry Cavill as Superman

  • "Man Of Steel"

    Henry Cavill as Superman

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    Henry Cavill as Superman

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    Antje Traue as Faora.

  • "Man Of Steel"

    Michael Shannon as General Zod.

  • "Man Of Steel"

    Henry Cavill as Superman.

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    Russell Crowe as Jor-El.

  • "Man Of Steel"

    Amy Adams as Lois Lane

  • "Man Of Steel"

    Michael Shannon as General Zod

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    Antje as Faora, Michael Shannon as General Zod.

  • "Man Of Steel"

    Michael Shannon as General Zod.

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    Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Henry Cavill as Superman, Antje Traue as Faora

  • "Man Of Steel"

    Russell Crowe as Jor-El, Henry Cavill as Superman

  • "Man Of Steel"

    Russell Crowe as Jor-El

  • "Man Of Steel"

    Henry Cavill as Superman

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    Michael Shannon as General Zod

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    Director Zack Snyder

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    Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Christopher Meloni as Col. Hardy

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    Henry Cavill as Superman

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    Harry Lennix as Gen. Swanwick, Richard Schiff as Dr. Emil Hamilton

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    Henry Cavill as Superman

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    Henry Cavill and director Zack Snyder

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    Director Zack Snyder and Amy Adams

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    Russell Crowe as Jor-El, Ayelet Zurer as Lara Lor-Van

  • "Man Of Steel"

    Amy Adams as Lois Lane

  • "Man Of Steel"

    Russell Crowe as Jor-El

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    Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, Rebecca Buller as Jenny. <strong>CORRECTION</strong>: Buller's character was originally referred to as "Jenny Olsen" in this slide.

  • "Man Of Steel"

    Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, Amy Adams as Lois Lane.