Superman: The Man of Steel

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Re: Superman: The Mustache of Steel

Postby mr.negativity » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:51 pm

/film:
Michael B. Jordan Being Considered for New Superman, But ‘Supergirl’ is WB’s Current Priority


Screen Rant:
Henry Cavill Not Leaving Superman DCEU Role According to Agent


BMD:
Finally, Christopher McQuarrie Tells The True Hollywood Story Behind #Mustachegate
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Re: Supergirl

Postby jellydonut25 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:23 pm

mr.negativity wrote:
jellydonut25 wrote:Are they going to be dumb and not use Melissa Benoist?

Yes!

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Re: Superman: The Man of Steel

Postby Dr Kain » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:21 pm

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

This franchise is falling apart quicker than Donald Trump's popularity.

Hopefully next time they will get an actor and not a piece of cardboard for Superman. Oh, and maybe some writers.
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Re: Superman: The Man of Steel

Postby lhb412 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:19 pm

I kind of feel bad, because I think he could have been a good Superman if he was given the chance. I mean, he's good in other movies, and even though Justice League was a bit of a mess I thought he acquitted himself very well as a more traditional, heroic Superman at the end.

Michael B Jordan as a possible new Superman? I'm totally okay with that, and I think he'd be able to be a good Superman and a good Clark Kent.

I hope that Warner Brothers gets a handle on the series. I mean, they're doing quite well in their other slate of movies that don't feature superheroes. The Meg, Crazy Rich Asians, and The Nun are all WB movies and have been the number one movies for like the last month and a half! They're the solid number two Studio behind Disney.
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Re: Superman: The Man of Steel

Postby Dr Kain » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:52 am

We already have a black Superman though, his name is John Henry Irons. No need to race swap our man in blue and red.
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Re: Superman: The Man of Steel

Postby mr.negativity » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:04 am

lhb412 wrote:I kind of feel bad, because I think he could have been a good Superman if he was given the chance. I mean, he's good in other movies, and even though Justice League was a bit of a mess I thought he acquitted himself very well as a more traditional, heroic Superman at the end.

COLLIDER:
Henry Cavill Should Have Been the Next Great Superman

THR SEPTEMBER 12, 2018:
After a Superman Shake-Up, What Happens to the DC Film Universe?
Graeme McMillan wrote:Where will the DC Universe go now?

With Henry Cavill out as Superman, what could the Warner Bros. film team be planning for its Kryptonian focus? According to Tatiana Siegel and Borys Kit's story Wednesday, the studio could be placing Supergirl front and center when it comes to representing the S-shield. It’s a smart move, given the character’s existing fan base and the chance it offers DC/Warners to retool the larger DC universe and move it away from earlier movies, as need be.

Unfortunately, the current DC Cinematic Universe has exhausted the obvious comic book source material that would have allowed for a narrative excuse to drop Superman for an extended period of time — namely, the character’s death and resurrection. In comic book lore, Superman’s death at the hands of Doomsday in 1992’s Superman No. 75 led to the character being absent from DC’s fictional universe for more than half a year, with the various Superman comic books even being temporarily suspended from publication for a number of months to sell the idea that the death was, perhaps, more permanent than the cynical fan base believed.

The comic book resurrection of Superman also offered the potential to recast the role, in a sense; before the “real” Superman reappeared, four characters showed up, each one laying claim in some way to the mantle and legacy of the character — two of them literally believed to be a resurrected Superman, another being a clone of the original and the fourth an entirely separate character who nonetheless personified the morality and attitude of Superman at his best.

Ultimately, all turned out to be red herrings, but the idea that Superman would return from death altered could, in different circumstances, be used to insert a different actor into the role onscreen, explaining away Cavill’s replacement. Unfortunately for Warners and DC, Justice League did away with that possibility by bringing him back more or less as he’d been before.

There are other ways to write around Superman. Beyond literally ignoring the problem and never mentioning him — something that might, admittedly, be difficult when simultaneously introducing his cousin as a primary character — there’s the option of referring to him as simply being permanently busy saving the day elsewhere when danger calls on other heroes. He’s Superman, after all. Who’s to say he’s not helping deal with a natural disaster on the other side of the planet when Archvillain X threatens Coast City, Keystone or Gotham? It’s a solution that helps make the world seem a little bit larger, if it also risks making Superman look like the superhero version of a deadbeat dad.

Supergirl herself may be the key to the problem. Throughout the decades of the character’s existence, there have been occasions in which Supergirl has essentially subbed in for her cousin when various circumstances have demanded it — either he’s temporarily lost his powers, or been forced to abandon his traditional duties for one reason or another. Such a situation could come into play with DC’s movies moving forward, with Superman off in space for an extended period, lost in time or forced into retirement until the powers that be decide that it’s time for him to return.

Such a move would also open up storytelling possibilities for the rest of the DC heroes, too. As Suicide Squad and Justice League demonstrated, Superman has assumed a position of moral authority in DC’s movie universe; what happens when that is gone, but only temporarily and it’s known that he’ll return at some point? How do the other heroes step up to fill the void? (Do they even try?) The method of his removal could also prove additive to the larger universe-building: What if he’s visiting the Phantom Zone, or traveling to the future to the Legion of Super-Heroes or meets any number of other characters from other periods of DC lore?

The move could allow Supergirl a space to become established in her own right, and Superman a chance to lie low for awhile until he and the audience have forgotten about what he previously looked like. It’s not death, but it’s the next best thing: a chance for rebirth, for the character and the larger cinematic universe as a whole.

WATCH

Dr Kain wrote:We already have a black Superman though, his name is John Henry Irons.
Spoiler Below:
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Maybe Warner Bros. will make a movie about Calvin Ellis or Val-Zod.
Spoiler Below:
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Re: Superman: The Man of Steel

Postby lhb412 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:05 am

Doesn't matter what ethnicity Superman is. He's American, and they come in all colors.
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Re: Superman: The Man of Steel

Postby jellydonut25 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:02 pm

lhb412 wrote:Doesn't matter what ethnicity Superman is. He's American, and they come in all colors.

....I'm torn on this one.

Generally, I don't care too much, but I feel like Clark Kent's identity is fairly "white."

He's a rather naïve individual. SUPPOSEDLY born (until he finds out the truth) and definitely raised on a small farm in rural Kansas. He's a well-liked person in that town. GENERALLY SPEAKING, that's not the story of a black person growing up in a rural southern town.

Granted, you can change Superman's ethnicity and still keep basically all of what keeps him important as Superman...and potentially make it even more powerful a message...

...but I don't have the confidence that a studio would make that change in ethnicity and then correspondingly change the character's upbringing and background enough to corroborate with that change. It'd be a change made to change his skin color, and not have enough thought put into it.

It's a dicey subject, but that's my view on it. It COULD be done, but I doubt it'd be done RIGHT.
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Re: Superman: The Man of Steel

Postby lhb412 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:18 pm

The best arguments I've read against a black Superman today have been from black folks saying how Superman is tied to Siegel and Shuster's Jewish roots: blending into white society while not being Anglo.
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Re: Superman: The Man of Steel

Postby klen7 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:17 pm

lhb412 wrote: He's American

He's an undocumented alien. I think DC even officially did away with the "Truth, Justice and the American Way" a few years back as a publicity stunt
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Re: Superman: The Man of Steel

Postby lhb412 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:05 pm

Is it still cannon that the Kents and a local doctor fudged the paperwork to make it seem like Clark was their biological child?
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Re: Superman: The Man of Steel

Postby canofhumdingers » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:55 pm

lhb412 wrote:Is it still cannon that the Kents and a local doctor fudged the paperwork to make it seem like Clark was their biological child?


No idea, but I’ve been reading volume 1 of the Superman Chronicles (every Superman story ever written collected in order of publishing date), and in the very early origin stories he’s not discovered or raised by the Kents at all. Some stranger finds him and drops him at an orphanage.

Personally, I’ll be sad if Cavill is bumped out of the role. I think he makes a great Superman and I’d love to see him, Affleck, and Gadot (and the others) team up one more time before it’s all over. My pipe dream would be to follow up WW2 and Aquaman with a two part Batman/Superman story (two individual films, one per character, that overlap through the villain’s story) that then leads into a Justice League 2 with Darkseid.

But I know how unlikely that is. Even so, I do hope Cavill gets to reprise the role at least one final time to give us his swan song now that he’s finally become the classic Superman we all want.

For the record, I actually really enjoy his arc over the course of MoS, BvS, and JL. He opens himself up to the world in Man of Steel. He struggles through the repurcussions of that revelation and must wrestle with his own (very human) feelings and self doubt while the world at large wrestles with the very idea of a Superman in BvS. He ultimately chooses the difficult path of being the true hero he is deep down and pays the ultimate sacrfice. Then in JL he is finally resurrected as the classic “Boy Scout” Superman (once he remembers exactly who he is and what happened, that is...) who has made peace with his struggles and is able to save the world with a smile. But I can understand why many people take issue with such a long journey to get to the character they wanted to see (and quite probably thought they had gotten to by the end of MoS).
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Re: Superman: The Man of Steel

Postby jellydonut25 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:20 am

He had a good enough start in MoS. Then he's just a mopey butthole who hates being Superman and wants to murder Batman for two movies.

Zack Snyder doesn't understand superheroes.

It's what made him a good choice for Watchmen...and WOEFULLY awful for everything else.
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Re: Supergirl 1970

Postby mr.negativity » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:52 am

Ken Jeong Ready to Replace Henry Cavill as Superman


klen7 wrote:
lhb412 wrote: He's American

He's an undocumented alien. I think DC even officially did away with the "Truth, Justice and the American Way" a few years back as a publicity stunt

CBR 04.29.2011:
John Parkin wrote:In a nine-page story called “The Incident” by writer David Goyer and artist Miguel Sepulveda, Superman meets with Gabriel Wright, the fictitious national security advisor to the president of the United States. In a “ripped from the headlines” story, Superman visited Tehran, Iran to show solidarity with the citizens demonstrating against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s regime. Wright’s upset that Superman caused an international incident, to which Superman replies that he’s renouncing his citizenship.

“….I intend to speak before the United Nations tomorrow and inform them that I am renouncing my U.S. citizenship,” Superman says. “I’m tired of having my actions construed as instruments of U.S. policy. ‘Truth, Justice and the American Way’ — it’s not enough anymore. The world’s too small. Too connected.”

He later adds, “I”m an alien, Mr. Wright. Born on another world. I can’t help but see the bigger picture.”


Screen Rant:
Supergirl Movie Rumor: The Origin Story Is Set In The 1970s
COOPER HOOD wrote:The Playlist reports that as of right now Supergirl is being conceived as a period piece with a likely 1970s setting. This would be an origin story for a teen Kara, but also make it impossible for Superman to appear. In the traditional comic book stories, both Kara and Kal-El left Krypton at the same time, but Kara didn't arrive on Earth for a few decades more. When she did, her baby cousin was all grown up and the superhero known as Superman, but that would all change with this approach. These are however early and unconfirmed reports on the story, and could change as the script is developed.

Obviously, this would be a major change to Supergirl's story and the Superman mythos. Supergirl being introduced in the 1970s would make her the first Kryptonian hero on Earth, instead of her cousin, and would theoretically make it so she could be a mentor to Superman. He's only suited up for a few years, but a 1970s introduction means Supergirl has been an active hero for close to 50 years by the time she's introduced in the present day. This would however raise questions, like where has she been for the last half-century, why don't people recognize the symbol, and why isn't she part of Superman's life?
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Re: Superman: The Man of Steel

Postby Benjamin Haines » Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:27 pm

I think the whole entertainment media really jumped the gun on Henry Cavill's tenure as Superman being over. Just look at the original THR article that broke this "story." Despite the headline proclaiming "Henry Cavill Out as Superman Amid Warner Bros.' DC Universe Shake-Up," there are really only two undisputed points cited as evidence in the body of the article:

  • WB had been trying to enlist Cavill for a Superman cameo in Shazam! but contract talks between Cavill's WME reps and the studio broke down.
  • WB is developing a Supergirl movie which will be an origin story featuring a teen superheroine.

That's all. Henry Cavill has not said that he's done playing Superman and neither has WB. Just because they aren't developing a new Superman movie right now and he won't be popping up in Shazam! doesn't mean that Cavill couldn't return as Superman down the line. Until Cavill publicly says that he's done with the role or WB announces their intention to recast, there's no reason to believe that both parties aren't still leaving the door open for Cavill to return as Superman in the future.

This was WB's statement in response to that THR article:
"We have a great relationship and great respect for Henry Cavill that continues to remain unchanged. Additionally we have made no current decisions regarding any upcoming Superman films."


Meanwhile, Cavill's response to this media frenzy was just to post this brief video on Instagram later that same day. That seems a lot more like the response of a guy who just doesn't currently have a Superman project on his plate as opposed to a guy who's decided he doesn't want to play Superman anymore.
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Re: Superman: The Man of Steel

Postby klen7 » Wed Sep 26, 2018 10:20 am

^ he probably signed a 6 picture deal (or some other number) then WB wanted him to do a cameo and his agent said "sure but that counts as one of the pictures" and WB said "no, this is in addition to that", but getting out from under the current deal would let him renegotiate for a bigger piece of the pie, so it ends in a stalemate
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Re: Superman: The Man of Steel

Postby Dai » Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:27 pm

If he was signed for a particular number of movies, you would expect him to be on contract for at least one more due to Justice League being truncated from two movies to one.
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Re: Superman: The Man of Steel

Postby mr.negativity » Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:54 pm

Screen Rant:
Dean Cain: My Superman Would Have Saved Pa Kent in Man of Steel
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VARIETY OCTOBER 15, 2018:
Flash Standalone Movie Pushes Start Date, Eyes 2021 Release (EXCLUSIVE)
BRENT LANG and JUSTIN KROLL wrote:Following the box office disappointment of “Justice League,” Warner Bros. has been reevaluating its approach to making movies based on DC Comics characters. The studio is not moving forward with Batman and Superman movies featuring Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, respectively. It is expected to recast the Dark Knight with a different actor.
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Re: Superman: The Reboot of Steel

Postby mr.negativity » Mon Dec 10, 2018 3:23 pm

/film December 10th, 2018:
Amy Adams is Pretty Sure She’s Done Playing Lois Lane, Says DCEU is Being “Revamped”


THR DECEMBER 14, 2018:
Why 'Superman' Is So Hard to Leave in the Past

Deadline January 23, 2019:
Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Set In Warner Bros First Look
Mike Fleming Jr wrote:Warner Bros has made a first look deal with Michael B. Jordan and his Outlier Society banner. This comes after Jordan had a year in which he starred in Best Picture nominated blockbuster Black Panther, and reprised in Creed II. The deal with Warner Bros. Pictures Group was announced by its chairman, Toby Emmerich. This marks a continuation of their partnership following the unveiling of a joint production diversity policy in September 2018, the first of its kind. Warner Bros. Pictures’ upcoming Just Mercy, a Jordan-starring and producing vehicle, became the first film under the new policy.

“Michael has become a leading voice in a new generation of talent and is creating real change in the industry,” said Emmerich. “His talent is undeniable, and beyond that, his commitment and conviction around representation and inclusion are inspiring—he truly walks the walk. We’re extremely proud to be in business with him and excited about a number of projects on the horizon.”

“Michael has been part of the WarnerMedia family since starring on The Wire for HBO when he was 15-years-old,” said Kevin Tsujihara, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. “From our work with him on the two Creed films and more recently on Just Mercy, we’ve come to know him as someone who is thoughtful, focused and serious about making great films that are representative and inclusive of new voices and new talent on camera and on set. We’re honored that he’s chosen Warner Bros. as his creative home.”

“Warner Bros. is the perfect home for myself, my brilliant president of production Alana Mayo and Outlier Society,” said Jordan. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for their visionary leadership and commitment to producing a broad slate of films, which gives us more range and more opportunity as producers. Most importantly, they share my passion for telling unique, creatively-fulfilling stories and giving a voice to the next generation of talent.”

Courtenay Valenti, President, Production and Development, Warner Bros. Pictures, worked closely with Emmerich on this deal, along with Jordan’s agency, WME, and attorney Bloom Hergott.
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Re: “Superman No More”

Postby mr.negativity » Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:50 pm

BMD:
It’s Official: Ben Affleck Will Not Return For THE BATMAN
Spoiler Below:
phpBB [media]

Heroic Hollywood:
Henry Cavill Is Superman No More In Spider-Man Inspired Art
Spoiler Below:
Image


Heroic Hollywood:
With Ben Affleck Out As Batman, Is Henry Cavill Officially Done As Superman?
SEBASTIAN PERIS wrote:Yesterday, Ben Affleck officially announced he will not return as the Caped Crusader in Matt Reeves’ The Batman and the confirmation has fans wondering if this means rumors of Henry Cavill retiring from the Superman role will also prove to be true.

Rumors of Ben Affleck retiring from the Batman role persisted for over a year after the Academy Award-winning writer of Good Will Hunting and producer of Argo stepped away from the director’s chair for the Caped Crusader’s first solo film in the DC Extended Universe. Last night, Affleck finally confirmed he will not return as the Dark Knight in a Tweet expressing his excitement for Matt Reeves’ upcoming film and while many fans were disappointed to learn the actor will not continue playing the Caped Crusader, others turned their attention to the rumors on Henry Cavill’s future as Superman.

After making his debut as Superman in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, Henry Cavill reprised the role in Batman v Superman and most-recently portrayed the character in Justice League. While Cavill expressed an interest in returning for a second solo Superman film, his future as the character has been in doubt following reports on his manager and Warner Bros. being in heated contract negotiations. Rumors of his exit were fueled when Henry Cavill signed on the portray Geralt of Rivia in Netflix’s adaption of The Witcher. While some were holding out hope that Henry Cavill would reprise his role as Superman in another DC project, the fact that the rumors of Ben Affleck relinquishing the Dark Knight role turned out to be true has fans concerned that an official announcement on Henry Cavill leaving the Superman role behind is inevitable.

Do you think Henry Cavill is out as Superman or is there still hope he can return as the Man of Steel? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

The Witcher is currently filming and stars Henry Cavill, Freya Allan, Anya Chalotra, Johdi May, Adam Levy, MyAnna Buring, Mimi Ndiweni, Therica Wilson-Read, and Millie Brady. The eight-episode series will premiere on Netflix later this year.

Stay tuned to Heroic Hollywood for the latest news on Henry Cavill’s future as Superman and more details on the DC Extended Universe.



COLLIDER FEBRUARY 6, 2019:
Exclusive: Henry Cavill Is Not Demanding Script and Director Approval for ‘Man of Steel 2’
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Re: Superman: The Man of Steel

Postby mr.negativity » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:24 pm

YouTube:
Michael B. Jordan Responds to "Superman" Rumors
Spoiler Below:
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Re: Superman: The Man of Steel

Postby O.Supreme » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:12 pm

Well, I have to give him props, his answer was about the best response you could come up with that wouldn't bring any ire from the fandom
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Re: Superman: The Man of Steel

Postby Gentleman » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:12 pm

Show me the responses from the media when a Caucasian man is selected to play Black Panther. When the net doesn't explode with race rage, I'll endorse any race-swapped character you can name. Bunch of hypocritical bastards.

Edit - didn't do my due diligence. MBJ said he'd like to play Calvin Ellis, a Superman from a different Earth that debuted in 2009, and he was black from his creation. That's a great choice. Play a fresh character. I'd watch it; he's a great actor. I just cringed when "black Clark Kent" gets mentioned.
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Re: Superman: The Man of Steel

Postby jellydonut25 » Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:08 am

Making a POC character white is NOT AT ALL REMOTELY THE SAME THING as adding a minority character in place of a formerly white character.

...but that's going down a line of thought that really isn't apropos for this board.
...and in this one instance (and a SMALL handful of others) I agree that this particular character has a rather white identity.
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Re: Superman: The Man of Steel

Postby mr.negativity » Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:31 pm

COLLIDER MARCH 7, 2019:
5 Superman Movies That Never Happened: From ‘Superman Lives’ to ‘Batman vs. Superman’
ADAM CHITWOOD wrote:Although there have been eight produced feature films about the character, with someone as iconic as Superman there have been plenty more that were planned, developed, and even written, only to fall by the wayside for one reason or another. Christopher Reeve brought the character to vivid life on the big screen in 1978’s Superman, but after his tenure ended with 1987’s Superman IV: The Quest for Peace following diminishing returns, Hollywood spent over a decade trying to figure out how best to get the Man of Steel back on the screen.

We know the movies that did come to fruition, but I wanted to take a look back at five attempts to bring Superman to the big screen that never happened.

Superman Reborn

In 1993, after the 1987 low-budget Superman IV: The Quest for Peace garnered a poor critical and commercial reception, Warner Bros. sought to reinvent the franchise, spurred in part by the success of the “Death of Superman” comics storyline. The studio purchased the rights to the character and set Jon Peters to produce, who at the time was just coming off of producing Batman and Batman Returns for the studio. The success of Tim Burton’s radical comics adaptations were further reason to bring the Superman character out of retirement in a big way, and so Demolition Man screenwriter and WB script doctor Jonathan Lemkin was hired to write the script.

The resulting story, titled Superman Reborn, focused on the relationship troubles between Clark Kent and Lois Lane, with Doomsday acting as the movie’s villain. The twist was that the film actually opened with Superman’s death, at which point he professes his love to Lois, impregnating her with his child. Their son grows at an accelerated rate, reaching age 21 in the span of three weeks and essentially serving as the resurrected Superman.

Warner Bros., however, felt the story and themes were too similar to their own Batman Forever, which was poised for release in 1995, and thus brought in Gregory Poirier (Rosewood) to rewrite the script. Instead of lightening the tone, however, Poirier leaned hard on Superman’s existential woes and dived into the notion of being an outsider on Earth. He added the villain Brainiac, who creates Doomsday, and changed the story so that after Doomsday kills Superman, the Man of Steel is then resurrected by alien/Brainiac victim Cadmus. The resurrected Superman is without his suit, however, and must don a robotic suit to square off against Brainiac, eventually wearing a radical redesign of the Superman costume that was more akin to the Batsuit.

While Warner Bros. was initially thrilled with Poirier’s rewrite, they changed their tune in 1996 after a meeting with Kevin Smith, which then spurred the creation of the most infamous Superman movie never made.

Superman Lives

The life and death of Superman Lives has been well-covered before, including in the late, great Jon Schnepp’s wildly fascinating documentary The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened?. Its history begins with a meeting between Kevin Smith and Warner Bros. executives in 1996, which took place as Smith was red-hot off the success of Clerks and Chasing Amy. The studio asked what he thought of Gregory Poirier’s script for Superman Reborn, with Smith candidly telling them it was “terrible” and that Poirier “didn’t get the Superman mythos.” As a self-professed comics fan, Warner Bros. worried that Smith’s opinion was a preview of the film’s response from the legion of Superman fans across the globe, so they asked the filmmaker to start over and write the Superman script he would want to see.

As Smith has recounted many times before, he was given certain parameters by producer Jon Peters, who provided Smith with the following guidelines: Superman must wear an all-black suit, Superman can’t fly, and Superman must fight a giant spider in the third act. Moreover, the studio wanted Smith to keep Brainiac as the villain and to maintain the twist of Superman dying in the film, with WB execs still thinking the key to bringing Superman back to the big screen was mining the “Death of Superman” comics arc.

the-death-of-superman-comicSmith acquiesced, and the resulting story found Lex Luthor summoning Brainaic and his robot companion L-Ron to help defeat Superman by blocking the sun’s rays, which diminishes the superhero’s powers enough for Doomsday to kill him. The script was littered with cameos and Easter Eggs, including appearances by Deadshot and Batman, the latter of whom gives a eulogy at Superman’s funeral. Peters subsequently requested more action in the script while Warner Bros. set about finding a director.

Robert Rodriguez turned down the chance to direct citing exhaustion from just finishing From Dusk Til Dawn, but Tim Burton sparked to the idea of tackling DC’s other major superhero and signed on to take the helm in 1997 with a planned Summer 1998 release date. Nicolas Cage was then chosen to lead the picture as Kal-El, with Cage and Burton both signing lucrative pay-or-play deals, meaning they would get paid whether the movie happened or not. Kevin Spacey was lined up to play Lex Luthor, Chris Rock was considered for the role of Jimmy Olsen, Jack Nicholson was mentioned as a possibility for Brainiac, and Sandra Bullock and Courteney Cox were on the shortlist for the role of Lois Lane.

But after Burton signed his deal, it turns out he wasn’t too crazy about Smith’s script after all. He wanted to make his version of Superman, so Burton brought in screenwriter Wesley Strick, who had previously performed rewrites for Burton’s Batman Returns. Under Burton’s instruction, Strick essentially threw out Smith’s draft and performed an extensive rewrite, keeping only the “death of Superman” thread.

Unsurprisingly, Burton’s new iteration of the film fleshed Superman out as an outsider, leaning heavily on the alien aspect of the character with a sort of “reluctant messiah” bent, which would later serve as the main story angle for Man of Steel. The film also found Brainiac invading Lex Luthor’s body at the midpoint of the story, and eventually being revealed as the creation of Jor-El, the “first born” who was scorned by the favoritism showered over Kal-El.

Burton aimed to differentiate Superman Lives from his Batman movies by telling a story set mostly in daylight, and had decided on Pittsburgh as the primary shooting location to stand in for Metropolis. The budget soared as high as $190 million, however, and in 1998, following the disappointments of costly sci-fi films like The Postman and Sphere as well as the cancellation of the Lois & Clark TV series, Warner Bros. issued a new mandate to cut back on “event” movies in favor of lower-priced films. Given that Superman Lives was already wildly expensive and didn’t have a script that the executives loved, Warner Bros. opted to halt development and put the picture in a state of suspended animation. Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler) was brought in to take another crack at the script, but ultimately the film faded away and Burton left to work on Sleepy Hollow.

Superman Flyby

But as Superman Lives fell apart, Warner Bros. didn’t stop trying to get a new Superman movie to the big screen. After Burton and Cage had departed the previous project, the studio continued to try and crack the script, bringing in writers like William Wisher (Judge Dredd) and Paul Attansio (Donnie Brosco) to provide their own takes on a Superman story. After meeting with a number of directors, Warner Bros. eyed McG to direct in early 2002, fresh off his successful Charlie’s Angels reboot. The studio also wasted no time in finding a new vision, setting J.J. Abrams to pen the script in February 2002.

Abrams lobbied hard to land the Superman job, and his resulting screenplay started from scratch, even discarding the “death of Superman” theme that the studio had been so bullish on throughout the 90s. Abrams’ script, Superman Flyby, was designed to be the first film in a new trilogy and opened in dramatic fashion, announcing the destruction of several major cities before revealing an epic battle in which Superman is defeated by Ty-Zor, a fellow Kryptonian. It’s at this point that the script flashes back 29 Earth years to tell Superman’s origin story, which eventually finds him crossing paths with Lois Lane when both characters are in their twenties.

This film’s iteration of Lex Luthor portrays him as a CIA Agent investigating UFOs, with the character stumbling across a new ship similar to the one in which Superman arrived. Superman reveals himself to the public by saving Air Force One (a sequence that would be reworked in Superman Returns), after which he’s hailed as a hero; but his heroic status is short-lived. Ty-Zor, along with three other Kryptonians, land in the Washington Mall and wreak havoc on Earth, defeating and killing Superman in the process. Luthor then becomes President, but Superman is resurrected (of course) and brings justice once and for all. But Abrams had one final twist in store, wherein Luthor reveals that he’s actually from Krypton and is imbued with special powers. Another battle sequence ensues that borrows heavily from The Matrix, and after Luthor is defeated, Superman sets off to Krypton to see what’s been going on in a “To Be Continued…” fashion.

jj-abrams-superman
Image via Paramount Pictures

While Abrams’ script leaked online and was pretty much ravaged by AICN, Warner Bros. felt confident about the optimistic approach to the genre in the wake of Spider-Man’s success and 9/11, and after debating whether to make Superman Flyby or Batman vs. Superman first (more on that in a minute) first, they opted to greenlight Superman. However, the project then ran into another hiccup: McG found himself busy with the Charlie’s Angels sequel, so the studio needed a new director.

WB moved quickly and in September 2002 hired Brett Ratner, fresh off the smashing success of Rush Hour 2 and on the cusp of the release of Red Dragon, to take the helm. Casting began, but proved difficult. In the pre-Marvel Studios era, actors were afraid of being tied to a franchise for three films, and Josh Hartnett, Paul Walker, Brendan Fraser, and Ashton Kutcher all turned the lead role down. For the supporting characters, Ratner had Christopher Walken in talks to play Perry White, with his eye on Anthony Hopkins and Ralph Fiennes for Jor-El and Lex Luthor, respectively. However, in March 2003 Ratner abruptly dropped out of the film, officially citing the difficulty over casting the lead role, but also reportedly due to feuds with producer Jon Peters and the struggle to effectively tell Abrams’ story within a realistic budget.

McG subsequently returned to the film and continued casting, with Robert Downey Jr. set to play Lex Luthor. He also brought in The O.C. creator Josh Schwartz to do a polish on Abrams’ script, but then the movie hit another speed bump: McG had a debilitating fear of flying, but Warner Bros. was adamant about shooting in Australia for tax reasons. After arguing unsuccessfully to shoot in Canada instead, he left the project, later claiming he felt it was “inappropriate” to tell such an American story from Australia before eventually admitting it was his fear of flying that made him depart.

It was at this time that Warner Bros. first considered Bryan Singer for the director’s chair, and it turns out the filmmaker had long had a desire to tell a Superman story. So when WB broached the issue, Singer dropped out of filming X-Men: The Last Stand and devoted his energy to rebooting Superman, throwing out Abrams script and starting work on what would eventually become Superman Returns.

Batman vs. Superman

While Superman Flyby was in development, Warner Bros. was simultaneously working on another major DC Comics adaptation: Batman vs. Superman. In 2002, they enlisted Se7en scribe Andrew Kevin Walker to pen the script (later polished by Akiva Goldsman) and signed Wolfgang Peterson, fresh off Air Force One and The Perfect Storm, to direct.

The story picked up five years after Bruce Wayne hung up the cowl for good, choosing to retire after the death of Robin. He’s happily married, living a quiet life, when The Joker—thought dead—kills Wayne’s wife with a poison dart. Batman at first blames Superman for his wife’s murder, as the Man of Steel was the one who prevented Batman from killing Joker in the first place, stopping him from delivering the fatal blow after a severe beating. So Batman subsequently comes out of retirement, but instead of seeking justice, he’s simply in it for the joy of beating up baddies, which Superman finds distasteful, spurring a beef between the two. Eventually we discover that Lex Luthor was behind the murder of Bruce Wayne’s wife, with the aim of pitting Batman and Superman against each other, and the two heroes team up to take the Superman villain down.

Warner Bros. was incredibly high on the prospect of Batman vs. Superman and set the film on the fast track for release in 2004, but in the summer of 2002, J.J. Abrams delivered the script for Superman Flyby, and the studio had to decide which movie to move forward with first. In the post-9/11 world, the thinking was that audiences were keen to see something more hopeful, more optimistic, and that would be Abrams’ script over the more gritty Batman vs. Superman. Peterson got so far as approaching Christian Bale and Josh Harnett for the role of Superman before Warner Bros. opted to hit pause on Batman vs. Superman, at which point Peterson moved on to Troy and the project disappeared into development hell. The following January, with Superman Flyby in active development, Christopher Nolan was hired to reboot the Batman character in what would eventually become Batman Begins, holding out hope that one day down the road, they could finally bring the two most famous comic book characters together onscreen once and for all.

Superman Returns Sequel

With Bryan Singer’s romantic reboot Superman Returns, Warner Bros. had at last—after over a decade of development—brought Superman back to the big screen. The film was intended to kick off a new standalone franchise, and in February 2006, four months before its release, Warner Bros. officially announced a sequel for release in 2009 with Singer returning to direct and Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, Sam Huntington, Frank Langella, and Tristan Lake Leabu reprising their roles.

Singer intended to work with screenwriters Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris once more on a follow-up that would be more action-centric after Returns softly rebooted the series, with Brainiac and Bizarro considered as the film’s primary villains. The movie would also pick up plot threads from the end of Superman Returns, namely the “New Krypton” landmass that was floating in space.

But once Superman Returns actually hit theaters, Warner Bros. was less bullish on sequel prospects. Its $52 million weekend was short of what other comic book films like X-Men: The Last Stand were opening to, and while it eventually hit a worldwide gross of $391 million, the lofty budget and marketing costs meant the studio saw little to no profit.

Instead of being outright cancelled, the Superman Returns sequel just kind of quietly disappeared, with Singer eventually moving on to Valkyrie and Jack the Giant Killer while continuing to express his desire to return to the Superman franchise. Alas, Warner Bros. began actively looking for ways to reboot the series in 2008, and shortly thereafter David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan came in with the pitch for what would become Man of Steel.

Final Thoughts

While it remains to be seen if a proper Man of Steel sequel will join the ranks of these other unmade Superman projects, 2016 gave us the realization of 2002’s scuttled Batman vs. Superman by way of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, albeit in an entirely new form. As you can see, when massive IPs are involved, Hollywood usually takes its time in trying to find the perfect way to bring them to audiences worldwide. Sometimes the resulting film is a shadow of a better, edgier version that was in development, and sometimes it’s a Frankenstein-esque amalgam of many different scripts and takes. The Hollywood machine is a bizarre beast, and while I’d personally have loved to see Burton’s Superman Lives or even Peterson’s Batman vs. Superman, we’re left to simply imagine what could have been while hoping that the eventual adaptations that do make it to the big screen have been worth the wait.
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