Thanks for reading!
This was a blast to revisit. I found myself mentally editing as I went along. But I enforced a strict no-tinkering policy. If I hadn’t, then I would have sunk into an old obsession all over again.
Originally, I conceived a five-movie series, with a television show running in between. I still have the notes for sixty or so episodes and how they would lead into a big movie every summer. Let’s take a peek at that (and test my memory)…
Superman Movie 1: This would have covered his origin and first adventure, more or less the same as the script I just presented.
Superman TV season 1: Superman’s early adventures. John Byrne was, and is, my favorite Superman writer and artist. This year of TV was modeled after his run on Superman and Action Comics.
Superman Movie 2: If I recall, this was meant to be the World’s Finest movie. I can’t remember the story I laid out for it…maybe Luthor ripped off Bruce Wayne and that’s what brings Batman to Metropolis.
Superman TV season 2: This one covers more adventures of Superman, maybe letting him meet Green Lantern or Wonder Woman to expand the universe. The last few episodes hinted at Doomsday.
Superman movie 3: The Death of Superman. This is the big battle movie. Superman vs Doomsday. Ending with a dead Superman.
Superman TV season 3: The World Without and Reign of the Supermen storylines were covered here. So the whole season would have been absent Superman, though potentially featuring the actor in the role of the Cyborg (Overworked actors didn’t exist in my twelve-year-old mind!)
Superman movie 4: The Return of Superman. Superman would return to confront and expose Cyborg as a phony and lead the all-out attack on Engine City.
Superman TV season 4: More adventures, but featuring a wider range of characters, including the three replacement Supermen that were good guys. This season would lead into the big final movie.
Superman movie 5: Justice League! Brainiac has returned, absent since the first movie. He plans to take over the earth and he’s using the Warworld. This is basically a retread of Panic in the Sky, but featuring more mainstream characters.
I was a very busy kid! Just not with homework.
In this five-movie, four-years-of-TV scheme, I wrote a few scripts. They’re bad. As fun as the old Brave and the Bold comics were, they are not movie scripts. And my scripts from those early days read like those comics from the 70s. I only wrote two or three episodes, but I wrote extensive plans for each one. There were maybe sixty or so that I mapped out.
As I got older this structure became obviously unfeasible to me. So I trimmed the fat and squeezed it into three movies. After all, trilogies are the way to go for sci-fi! So my sixteen and seventeen year old self reworked what my twelve year old self started. The basic trilogy structure hung around the titles: Superman: From Birth; Superman: To Death; and Superman: To Life.
The second movie covers the Death of Superman story. Taking a page from Kevin Smith’s Superman Lives, Brainiac is partly responsible for Doomsday’s presence on earth. Damage he inflicted on earth in Part 1 resulted in a tectonic shift which revealed Doomsday’s living tomb, buried far into the earth. Somehow reviving, Brainiac discovers Doomsday and unleashes him. At first, this just causes volcanoes and natural disasters for Superman to deal with. Eventually, the monster is unleashed and Superman battles him to the death on the streets of Metropolis. The final battle wasn’t as devastating to the city as the new movie’s final battle was.
And the third picks up a year later in the world without Superman. Brainiac has won and enslaved the people of earth. The few other heroes do what they can, but they’re scattered around the country and globe. They have the power to overthrow the bad guys, they just lack the vision. In this version, there is only one replacement Superman, the evil Cyborg version. He, Brainiac, and Luthor are running the bad guy show. I forget how it all pans out, but I know there’s a scene where the proto-Justice League gathers to go attack Engine City. They’re on the way and meet the giant purple robot that’s actually got Superman inside of it. They don’t know that and they start fighting with it. The thing kinda blows a gasket and steam and smoke fill the scene. Then there’s a great moment where the real deal Superman emerges and leads the new team to confront his evil twin. I know there’s a scene towards the end where Luthor and Superman have a final confrontation. It’s hazy, so the details are gone. But I recall Superman was stuck in that classic Spidey/Green Goblin/Gwen Stacy conundrum. And just as the tension reaches its height, Luthor does the right thing. So the whole point of the series was to chronicle Luthor’s fall and rise.
Anyway this was lots of fun. If you liked reading, maybe I’ll do this again sometime. I know I have a script for Star Wars Episode VII lying around somewhere…