In Man of Steel Kal-El triggers the homing beacon on the scout ship, this signal is picked up by Zod who then travels to Earth. Zod explains this is how he is here but not how he knew Kal-El was also here.

When he reaches Earth he insists that humanity hands over Kal-El as he is a wanted criminal, he also states that he knows Kal-El has not revealed himself to the world and has lived among them as one of them.

How does he know all this information?

  • He didn't know where Jor-El had sent his son, if he had he would have gone straight there.
  • He can't detect the pod Kal-El landed in, if he could he would have gone straight there and wouldn't have had to take it from Lois Lane's mind.

There is no evidence that Kal-El has been on Earth for Zod to detect, it is just as, if not more likely that humanity found the scout ship and triggered something in it. If Kal has been living in secret there is an equal chance he just isn't there at all.

  • 5
    Because he read the script
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 12:44
  • He said he'd find him, didn't he?
    – tilley31
    Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 23:13
  • 3
    @tilley31 - He probably just gives the same speech every time he comes to a new planet
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 1:07

1 Answer 1


I think this is a case of Zod simply making a series of deductions and assumptions:

  • He knows that Kal-El was sent away by his father and that the pod is equipped to travel through interstellar space.

    A prismatic distortion field enveloped it as it reached the upper atmosphere. Space-time rippled around the craft, wavering like a mirage, before it blinked out of existence, passing into another dimension.
    Gone, Zod thought. But to where?

    Man of Steel: Official Novelisation

  • He's already been to the majority of former Kryptonian colony worlds and outposts and hasn't found a single survivor.

    But the galaxy proved a cold and unwelcoming place. Years passed as they traversed the cosmos, looking for a new home—and perhaps the treasure Jor-El had stolen from them. In desperation, they sought out the old colonial outposts, searching for signs of life.

  • Authorised entry to the ship (which in turn triggered the beacon that woke Zod) was restricted to not just Kryptonians, but specifically those with Command Access Keys.

    A welt formed across his arm. He panicked and stumbled backward, glancing about frantically for a way he might protect himself. His desperate gaze fell upon a small diamond-shaped port in the wall above his head. It was shaped like the S-shield on the head of his key.

  • Zod deduces (presumably by monitoring TV channels that have leaked into space) that this is an uncontacted world


So we have a quartet of clues to play with; A missing Kryptonian child. That no Kryptonians have survived the collapse of Krypton's empire. A distress signal that can only have been activated by a Kryptonian (and which may also have communicated that the 'Command Key' used to activate it belongs to the House of El) and a world that hasn't noted the arrival of an alien.

Taking all of that into account, it doesn't take a huge leap of faith for Zod to conclude the the mystery ship-activating Kryptonian is precisely the child (now a man) that he's been so ardently seeking over the past thirty years.

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