Back in 2008, Bryan Singer was actively developing a more action-packed sequel to 2006's Superman Returns
that he was planning to direct. It had the rumored title of The Man of Steel
, and post-Returns
, Singer and his writers Dan Harris and Michael Dougherty often dropped hints at what they were planning for the sequel.
Of course, Warner Bros. would later scrap any plans for a sequel to the film, even though according to Dougherty there was never any official or concrete plans or a deal for them to work on the sequel. In 2008, Singer had this to say about his proposed sequel plans:
"The first one was a romantic film and a nostalgic film. I’ll be the first person to own up to that without making any apologies for it. I knew it was going to be that from the outset. And now that the characters are established, there’s really an opportunity to up the threat levels…Clearly there’ll be a body count [laughs]. From frame one, it will be unrelenting terror!”
Recently, Michael Dougherty sat down with Moviehole
and revealed some details about what the sequel to Superman Returns
would have been had WB given Singer and co. the greenlight.
Had he gotten the call, the writer (now director; he helmed Trick R’Treat) says he would’ve introduced “Other Kryptonians – I’ll be purposely vague about that” into Supes’ world. These Kryptonians “wouldn’t necessarily be evil right off the bat”, says Dougherty, “That’s too easy and cliché. I don’t think people just show up and they’re evil. In my mind, if the Kryptonians really were a space-faring race – which they obviously were – then it would only make sense that there would’ve been colonies and off-planet missions. So yeah, the possibility of other Kryptonians making their way to Earth seemed like a pretty big one in my mind."
Dougherty also dropped a hint when asked if any of Superman's villains would appear in the film from the comics that "Brainiac was always interesting" implying that he was at one point or another apart of their sequel plans. Dougherty also speaks candidly about the tepid reaction to Superman Returns
, and seemed eager to do the sequel if anything to right some of the wrongs.
“I feel like a lot of the stuff that we had taken out [of Superman Returns] – either stuff that we had shot and got cut, or stuff that was cut from the script – could have helped [the film] more. I see all the potential that it had – I love action, so I wanted action, and I was the guy in the room who kept whining about wanting a super villain”.
This makes sense. I read an earlier version of the screenplay which had some scenes that were shot but then cut- like Superman's trip to the remains of Krypton- which would have been incredible to see. Also, the film had other supervillains that were later exorcised from the story, including plans to feature General Zod (which I'm assuming now after reading Dougherty's comments that he pushed for). I believe when Dougherty says that some of the changes Singer made both during pre-production and production might have hindered the project in some shape or form.
I think Singer is a very talented director, but I think he was possibly the biggest detriment to the project in terms of being unattached to the material. I honestly think he had too
much of an emotional attachment to Donner's movie that influenced his judgement when it came to making a thrilling and exciting film. I still love Superman Returns
, and I feel it has a fantastic emotional epicenter about unrequited love and feeling like an outsider, but I still feel like it is an imperfect film that would have benefited from a more balanced narrative.
Anyway, what are your thoughts on Dougherty's comments? Would you have liked to have seen a more action-packed sequel to Superman Returns
or are you glad we're getting a reboot from Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan?