Doomsday is one of the most iconic Superman villains in the character’s entire mythology, and the killing machine has been adapted from page to screen multiple times. When it comes to unforgettable Superman stories, The Death of Superman is one of them. The arc sees Clark Kent go up against the Kryptonian beast Doomsday, who has become known as the first being ever to kill the Man of Steel. While Superman does come back in Reign of the Supermen, Doomsday has been a major player in Kal-El’s DC history.

Outside The Death of Superman, Doomsday has a legacy of his own as he has been featured in multiple DC stories over the decades. Given the impact Superman’s death had on pop culture, it is no wonder other DC properties have tried to adapt the iconic storyline in one way or another. But when adapting or drawing inspiration from The Death of Superman, Doomsday is never far behind. While Doomsday has been introduced in various DC animated projects, the killing creature has also made it into the world of live-action.

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Given the visual demands that come with Doomsday from a production standpoint, it is incredible how many times the character has appeared in television and film over the years. While there have been a handful, it would not be shocking if another DC property uses Doomsday in the coming years, given the size and importance of his character.

Dario Delacio (Smallville Season 8)

The first time Doomsday was ever depicted in live-action was in the Superman prequel series, Smallville, the ultimate Clark Kent origin story before becoming the Man of Steel. Serving as the big bad for Smallville season 8, the writers approached Doomsday in a unique way where they incorporated the beast as part of Davis Bloome, played by Sam Witwer. While Witwer played the human side, actor/stunt worker Dario Delacio physically played Doomsday. Rather than make Doomsday completely CGI, the costume department actually built a physical suit for the creature that Delacio wore throughout the season. With a physical suit, combined with VFX, Smallville managed to have Doomsday for a whole season.

In this carnation, Doomsday was the son (so to speak) of General Zod and Faora, who genetically engineered the beast with the DNA of Krypton’s most powerful creatures. While still in the form of genetic matter, they attached him to Kal-El’s ship the day Krypton faced its doom. Anytime Davis would be stressed or angry, he would black out and mutate into Doomsday. During Smallville season 8, Davis controlled Doomsday from coming out, by killing criminals as a temporary solution. But once Davis learned he was created to kill Clark, it was only a matter of time before he could no longer hold Doomsday back. In the season finale, the Justice League uses Black Kryptonite to split Doomsday and Davis apart, with Clark battling the former before burying him underneath the Earth.

Robin Atkin Downes (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice)

For the creature’s cinematic debut, the DCEU introduced a variation of Doomsday in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Robin Atkin Downes voiced and performed Doomsday via motion capture while having a twist to the beast. In the 2016 installment, Lex Luthor, played by Jesse Eisenberg, retrieves General Zod’s dead body after the events of Man of Steel. Despite learning it was forbidden to do so, Lex uses the scoutship’s genesis chamber to perform a Kryptonian deformity on Zod’s corpse, which transforms him into a creature that resembles the iconic DC killing machine.

While Batman v Superman does adapt The Death of Superman, it turns out this wasn’t the real Doomsday. When Lex discovers the forbidden Kryptonian action, it is established that Kryptonians had done this before once, alluding to the actual Doomsday. Despite visually looking a lot like Doomsday, Snyder confirmed in 2020 that Man of Steel actually had an Easter egg to the beast. If you look closely during the Krypton scenes, a broken moon is seen in the background. Snyder revealed that long before Krypton’s death, Doomsday had destroyed it, confirming the real monster exists in the DCEU somewhere.

Staz Nair (Krypton)

Interesting enough, Smallville wasn’t the only Superman prequel series to feature Doomsday. Several years after Smallville’s end, SYFY developed the prequel show Krypton which took place 200 years before the planet’s famous death. Following the adventures of Kal-El’s grandfather Seg-El, played by Cameron Cuffe, Doomsday is revealed during Krypton season 1 in the episode “Civil Wars.” Krypton’s Doomsday had been in cryogenic stasis for thousands of years and was created through the Els and Zods. The prison could only be unlocked through the blood of an El and Zod, which is why Dru-Zod wanted to use Doomsday to defeat Brainiac. By the end of Krypton season 1, Doomsday does escape and is set up as a recurring threat in the second season. While the Krypton production team created Doomsday through CGI, they would use a puppet in any scenes where he wasn’t moving at all.

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However, in Krypton season 2, episode 7, “Zods and Monsters,” Doomsday’s origin story is explained as he was once a Kryptonian named Dax Baron, played by Staz Nair. Thousands of years ago, during a Kryptonian civil war, Wedna-El and Van-Zod got Dax to agree to partake in an experiment. Due to Dax having a rare genetic mutation, they believed his body would be able to survive their experiment and turn into a weapon that could end the war. The flashbacks show the duo performing the experiment over 100 times on Dax as he keeps coming back from the dead. However, every time Dax was resurrected, he mutated more and more into the DC monster. While it made him invulnerable to anything that could kill him, Dax was no more. 1000 years later, Doomsday served Dru-Zod, who was using Black Mercy’s toxin to control him.

Despite Seg’s best friend Kem blowing Wegthor, Krypton’s moon, Doomsday’s fate is actually unknown, and will never be known since the show was canceled. Even though Nair played Dax in one episode, this wouldn’t be the last Superman project he starred in. The actor went on to star on Supergirl in the last two seasons as William Dey. While Krypton was the latest DC property to include Doomsday, the creature seems to exist in the Arrowverse. Through a single brief reference at the start of Crisis on Infinite Earths, before Earth-Prime was created, Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman did battle Doomsday on Earth-38 at some point and was victorious. Perhaps Superman & Lois will be the next stop for Doomsday in future seasons if they ever choose to adapt The Death of Superman in the Arrowverse.

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