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The Crazy Details Behind The Insane J.J. Abrams Superman Reboot That Almost Was

After the false start that was Bryan Singer's Superman Returns, the big screen version of the Man of Tomorrow is finally on firm path towards a stable cinematic future. Director Zack Snyder brought the character back with Man of Steel in 2013, and with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and, presumably, Justice League on the horizon will keep a continued continuity going for at least a few years. But what if things had gone in a completely different direction? What if instead of having filmmakers like Snyder, Christopher Nolan and David Goyer working behind the scenes it was instead J.J. Abrams instead? As you'll learn watching the video above, that reality at one point was actually a possibility.

The Weekly Planet podcast did a special segment this week where they too an in-depth look back at the history of the J.J. Abrams-scripted Supes movie that almost was: Superman: Flyby. Plucking details from multiple versions of the in-development script, the show reveals that the film would have featured some major changes to the origin story of the titular superhero that would have shocked many fans. With directors like McG and Brett Ratner being looked at for the director’s chair, the movie would have included (among other things):

  • Krypton not exploding
  • A baby Kal-El being sent to Earth specifically to live with the Kents
  • Lex Luthor being revealed as a Kryptonian
  • Jor-El committing ritual suicide to join his dead son (Superman dies and is resurrected in the film)
  • Lots and lots of Matrix-inspired Kryptonian kung fu

In comparison to what Zack Snyder did in Man of Steel, these are some insanely radical changes. Considering that many fans take every chance they take to tear down the 2013 movie, I seriously wonder what fans would have made of Flyby had it ever actually be been made.

This, of course, is far from the first time that we've ever heard about a particularly out-there version of a superhero movie that wound up getting trapped forever in development hell. Some of you will remember that years ago Darren Aronofsky was going to make an adaptation of Frank Miller's Batman: Year One that would have featured a homeless Bruce Wayne, an African-American auto-mechanic named Al subbing in for the role of Alfred, and a batmobile that was also a Lincoln Continental. And then there's the story of Kevin Smith's attempt at his own Superman reboot, which ran into development issues that included studio notes for giant spiders, robot best friends and polar bears at the Fortress of Solitude. That said, the comic book movie industry has changed quite a bit since the time that any of these projects were in the works, so it's pretty safe to say that we won't be getting anything like them in the next few years if not decades.

To get the full, hilarious story behind Kevin Smith's Superman, I would highly recommend watching the video on the next page:

Eric Eisenberg
Eric Eisenberg

NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.