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The 11 Best and Worst Superman Films That Almost Happened [List]

Superman Lives (1997) costume test, Nicholas Cage
  Man of Steel is a blockbuster hit, but not all superhero movies go as planned. For every Superman (1978) there's a Superman Lives that never gets off the ground. Here now are the best, and worst, Superman movies that never got made.

Disclaimer: Since these films were in development, the final film might have been completely different from what we know.

Superman and the Secret Planet (1957)

Adventures of Superman (1952), George Reeves and Phyllis Coates

Written by Unknown
Starring George Reeves
Directed by Undetermined
Villain(s): Kryptonians
Plot: Superman goes to look for the missing President of the United States and discovers he's been kidnapped by aliens on a floating planet in space made of Kryptonite.
For More: Read a comic based on the unproduced script.

Superman V (1989)

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) , Christopher Reeve

Written by Undetermined 
Starring Christopher Reeve
Directed by Undetermined
Plot: Unknown, but it was to be recycled from 45 minutes of footage cut from Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
For More: SupermanSupersite has a short piece on the history of the film.

Superman: the New Movie also known as Young Superman (1989)

The Adventures of Superboy (1988), Gerard Christopher Source

Written by Undetermined
Starring Gerard Christopher
Directed by Undetermined
Plot: Unknown. Possibly based on the popular Superboy television series

Superman: Reborn (1991)

Superman (1978) , Christopher Reeve

Written by Ilya Salkind, Cary Bates and Mark Jones
Starring Christopher Reeve
Directed by Albert Pyun
Villain(s): Brainiac
Plot: Brainiac comes to Earth and shrinks Metropolis for his interplanetary collection of miniaturized cities in bottles. Superman is trapped inside the bottle and Brainiac shrinks himself to fight him. The two battle and it looks like Brainiac has killed Superman. His "atoms" are sucked into a nearby bottle-city of Kandor containing the last of the Kryptonians. He is "reborn" powerless and is rehabilitated as a Kryptonian before escaping and fighting Brainiac.
For More: Watch the fan trailer for Superman Reborn using the cast of Smallville.

Superman Reborn (1993)

Superman II (1981) , Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder

Written by Jonathan Lemkin, Gregory Poirier
Starring Undetermined
Directed by Undetermined
Villain(s): Brainiac, Doomday
Plot: Lois Lane and Clark are having relationship problems when Brainiac creates an intergalactic fighter, named Doomsday, with Kryptonite blood. The two fight to the death. As Superman is dying he tells Lois how much he loves her and his "life force" enters Lois. She is pregnant with Superman's "soul" and gives birth to a child that ages 21 years in three weeks before she dies. The reborn Superman wears a "power suit" that mimics his superpowers to defeat Brainiac.
For More: Find what would have happened if Superman Reborn had been made.

Superman Lives (1997)

Superman Lives (1997) costume test, Nicholas Cage

Written by Kevin Smith, Wesley Strick, William Wisher Jr.
Starring Undetermined (Ben Affleck, Nicholas Cage, Will Smith)
Directed by Tim Burton
Villain(s): Brainiac, Lex Luthor, Doomsday
Plot: Brainiac blocks the sun to render Superman powerless in his fight against Doomsday. Superman is killed and Brainiac takes over Metropolis. Superman is brought back to life by the Kryptonian robot, Eradicator, and he goes to fight Doomsday. Since he's powerless, he wears a suit made from the Eradicator to fight Brainiac and his giant spider till he gets his powers back.
For More: See the Kickstarter fund-raising campaign for the documentary The Death of Superman Lives

Superman: The Man of Steel

Smallville (2009), Brian Austin Green

Written by Alex Ford
Starring: Undetermined
Directed by Undetermined
Villain(s): Lex Luthor, Metallo
Plot: The film centers on businessman Lex Luthor and a battle to the death with Superman and Metallo in Metropolis. The script features cameos by Wonder Woman and references to the Justice League, Dan Turpin, Ron Troupe, Cat Grant, Lana Lang, and others.
For More: Read the script at Superman Homepage

Unnamed Superman Movie

Written by Keith Giffen
Starring: Undetermined
Directed by Undetermined
Villain(s): Lobo, Space Mafia
Plot: An interstellar Mafia hires Lobo to kill Superman.
For More: Read more about it at Ain't It Cool News

Batman vs. Superman (2002)

Written by Akiva Goldsman
Starring: Josh Hartnett
Directed by Wolfgang Petersen
Villain(s): Lex Luthor, Joker
Plot: Bruce Wayne is retired after five-years. Dick Grayson, Alfred Pennyworth, and Commissioner Gordon are all dead. Meanwhile, Clark Kent and Lois Lane are divorced and he's fallen on hard times. Bruce is getting married to Elizabeth Miller and Clark is his best man. Bruce decides to put back on the Batsuit after the Joker hunts the couple down on their honeymoon and kills Elizabeth. Meanwhile, while hiding in Smallville, Clark begins a romance with Lana Lang. Bruce blames Clark for Elizabeth's death and the two fight. It turns out that Lex Luthor is behind the whole thing and Batman and Superman join forces to fight him.
For More: Read the script online at GeekTyrant

Superman: Flyby (2004)

Superman: Flyby (2004) Costume Concept Art

Written by J.J. Abrams
Starring Undetermined (Josh Hartnett, Jude Law, Tom Welling, Ashton Kutcher, Brendan Fraser, Matthew Bomer)
Directed by Undetermined (Bryan Singer, Brett Ratner, McG)
Villain(s): Brainiac, Doomsday
Plot: Jor-El is in prison after a civil war on Krypton between himself and his evil brother Kata-Zor. Krypton is destroyed, but not before Kal-El is launched into space and is adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent on Earth. Lois Lane is intent on exposing a government agent obsessed with UFOs named Lex Luthor. Superman reveals himself to the world. Kryptonians, including Kata-Zor's son Ty-Zor, come to fight him. Superman is killed and visits Jor-El in "heaven" since his father committed suicide in prison. Returning from the dead, Superman defeats the Kryptonians and the film ends with a cliff-hanger of Superman flying off to Krypton.
For More: See More Superman Flyby concept art at Film Sketchr

Superman Returns II (2009)

Superman Returns (2006), Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth

Written by Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris
Starring Brandon Routh
Directed by Bryan Singer / Undetermined
Villain(s): Other Kryptonians, Brainiac, Bizarro
Plot: Unknown. The movie could have possibly featured Kryptonian colonists coming to Earth and, after adjusting to their new powers, turning evil.
For More: Read an interview with proposed writer Dougherty

Which Superman movie are you sorry never got made? Which one are you glad never made it to the screen?

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  1. Those might all have sucked. It's always hard to tell until you see the finished product.

  2. For the love of Pete! I never knew there were so many. I wouldn't have minded the one with Lobo as long as he wasn't the New 52 variety.

  3. Ha! Totally assumed once one of those things got going that they finished. I have a hard time appreciating any superman post Christopher Reeve for no rational reason except that it was a small window for me that I was all that interested. I like my superheroes with more angst.

  4. JJ Abrams was working on one?
    Of all of those, I'm most grateful the one with Nicholas Cage never happened.

  5. i would have loved to have seen everyone of those... i think i would have liked to seen the return 2. fix the mistakes from the first... Brandon did a great job... sadly it was in that film.

  6. I had no idea.

    Looking at some of the celeb names, they don't seem like the right fit. Then again, I always picture Christopher Reeve as the ultimate Superman.

  7. For the most part it's safe to say that most of those not seeing the light of day is probably for the best.

  8. I love Nicolas Cage but not as superman - never. Christopher Reeve, was a great superman, but the material sucked!

  9. I've actually read the Flyby script, just amazing. It was way better than Superman Returns, but i'm glad that i got Man of steel.

  10. Nick Cage is a good actor, but he's no Superman. I can't even believe that was an option. Glad it never came to fruition.

  11. I really wanted to see will smith as a superman jejeje LOL


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