Why There Was No ‘Superman Returns’ Sequel


The 5-minute scene you’re about to watch cost Warner Bros. $10 million to make. It was meant to be the opening of Superman Returns, Bryan Singer’s 2006 big-budget film that heralded Superman‘s return to the big screen. But there’s a very good reason it didn’t make the cut: it’s dull as dirt.

Opinions about Superman Returns were (and still are) all over the map, but the one thing most moviegoers can agree on is that director Bryan Singer was far too beholden to his inner fanboy. He was so reverential to both the Richard Donner movies and to the sacrificial nature of Superman’s character, that the result was a movie that lumbered along at a snail’s pace. Superman is meant to be a dynamic character, yet Singer’s movie had precious little action to speak of. What was there was good, and there were some other good ingredients here and there. But the finished product was just heavy-handed for audiences to love.

The five-minute clip above shows Superman arriving at his home world of Krypton, where, if you recall from the film, he had gone to search for survivors of the Kryptonian holocaust. It was an emotional decision on his part — he wanted to not be alone in the universe — but going back to the place that’s made entirely out of the stuff that can kill him turns out to not be his bestest idea ever. Unfortunately, the whole thing plays out like one of those maddeningly slow “V’ger” scenes from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. But at least now we know why Clark emerged from that weird crystal ship into his mother’s arms on the Kent Farm all weak and sickly. And what’s with the giant “S” shield he finds on Krypton? Is that supposed to be his family home or something?

I think it’s a safe bet that it was stuff like this — filming a $10 million sequence that was never used — that kept Singer from getting to do a sequel. And as we all know, without Singer there to helm the next chapter of his story, Warner Bros. instead opted to reboot the entire franchise with Zack Snyder directing and Christopher Nolan producing. The Henry Cavill-starring, mega-budget Man of Steel is expected in theaters in 2013.


  1. says

    Wasn’t this scene included on the DVD as a special feature?

    I must admit that’s it’s terribly boring, though I might have left it in the picture had I been in a position to make that decision. “Returns” had two places it could go with the footage that was provided and Singer wasn’t willing to cut enough footage to streamline it (ala Superman II via studio takeover).

    With that option off of the table, it would have been interesting so see an all-out homage to Donner and the character’s iconic status — perhaps even drawing out those sun-soaking shots a little longer and adding few more Leone-style closeups.

    Now we’ll just have to see what Snyder and Nolan can do with the drab color palette they seem to be working with. The new suit is starting to look a little “Superman Lives” to me.

    Also, Cavill’s comments of late have been a little bothersome:

  2. says

    I thought it was interesting and suspenseful, actually. I know it’s hard for anyone born before 1994 to believe, but it’s ok to eschew action for the sake of being able to add to the narrative of the film. I’ll bet few of them have ever made it though 2001 or Bladerunner as both of those films employ space, metaphorically speaking, to give the viewer time to ponder, time to think, time to simply immerse oneself into the experience of being taken to another world. Although I did enjoy the opening of the theatrical cut a little more because it held more closely to the Richard Donner Superman aesthetic (i.e. Brando’s voice and Williams’ music), this would have been cool too.

  3. Ash says

    I find it very frustrating that u become apart of a movie that leads to a sequel then Warner brothers decides that it is not worth making. People can say they were disappointed but I don’t believe that to b completely true. I found it to b an awesome film and I personally wanted the second film. I feel I won’t b going to see the second bc I have no need for a repeat of films that have already been done including tv series. I personally followed smallville to the end. I think it is an insult to the public to remake a story that has followed generations.

  4. KartofflMuter says

    There are only 2 reasons I want to see a sequel. And I really want to see a sequel!
    1) Brandon Routh- oh yes(Henry Cavill-oh no)
    Again-and I can’t state this strongly enough- Brandon Routh-despite the pacing,the dull script,Bosworth,etc., had me on a slow simmer. Brandon anything. Forget mr. who you think is Mr. sexiest man of the year. Give us more Brandon.
    2) I can’t be the only one who wants to see what Jason does as he grows up-can I? Maybe they can work out a brother husbands thing with Richard? I really didn’t hate him towards the end.
    If one director is too boring-find another-BUT don’t change Superman and stop playing with the emotions of the fans.

  5. says

    I think there should be a sequel, a final sequel to Superman Return with Louis Lane excepting Clark Kent for him and he revealing his true identity.

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