As a collateral matter not directly asked but related… if you wonder why Zod couldn’t simply terraform another candidate planet, I’d ask you to consider the following:
- If terraforming is easy, why were there no living colonies or sister planets for Krypton to evacuate to?
- If the Phantom Drive allows for infinite attempts at terraforming, why did Krypton continue to mine its core unto its own destruction? Doesn’t it seem more likely that Phantom Drives are therefore finite?
- The Scout Ship (18,000 years old) does not have a Phantom Drive (invented by Jor-El) and required hibernation pods in order to make the journey to Earth. Unlike the World Engine, the Scout Ship does not appear to mate with the Black Zero. Even if Zod found another candidate planet, how was Zod going to bring the Scout Ship’s Genesis Chamber to the new prospect?
- If there was any possibility that Zod wasn’t going to terraform Earth, how could the plan that Jor-El conveyed to Lois have worked? That Jor-El predicted it, doesn’t it seem likely that the individuals who understand the technology could predict that Earth wouldn’t be passed up?
In sum, Zod was coming to roost on Earth, one way or another. Apart from his programming, he didn’t have to terraform it or subjugate it, but he didn’t have any alternative locations to work with.
- Terraforming the planet is a pretty logical move militarily and tactically. If you recall, Zod only deploys the World Engine after asking whether Kal-El needs to be alive to retrieve the Codex. Therefore, successfully terraforming the planet takes care of the human resistance, weakens or kills Kal-El without direct combat, and creates a perfect environment for the next generation of Kryptonians all in one move.
Zod’s only real alternative move was to field every Kryptonian aboard the Black Zero, at which point the Kryptonians would be utterly unstoppable, but he would also sacrifice his vision of Krypton in the process. If Zod was willing or able to make that kind of compromise, he would have resorted to natural birth, cloning, or agreed with Jor-El’s plan of coexistence… but Zod’s programming and toolbox was limited… the exact thing that Jor-El didn’t want for Kal-El and Krypton’s future.
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