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Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns was supposed to be a triumphant cinematic return for the character. Instead, it was a complete and total box office dud that failed to inspire much fan or critial acclaim. Warner Bros. hoped it would be the start of a new blockbuster franchise (Nolan’s The Dark Knightfranchise filled that void), and instead, it killed the character’s on screen prescence until 2013’s Man of Steel reboot.
Singer recently spoke to Empire Magazine on the topic, and discussed his thoughts on the chilly reception Returns got.
“Half of that I understand and half of it I never will. It was a movie made for a certain kind of audience. Perhaps more of a female audience. It wasn’t what it needed to be, I guess. I think I could lop the first quarter off and start the movie a bit more aggressively and maybe find a way to start the movie with the jet disaster sequence or something. I could have grabbed the audience a little more quickly. I don’t know what would have helped. Probably nothing. If I could go again, I would do an origin. I would reboot it.”
Before Superman Returns even hit theaters though, WB had contracted Singer to return for a sequel. Obviously that never panned out, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t make some progress on developing an idea. In fact, his sequel would have also been titled Man of Steel, and would have featured one of Supe’s most dangerous enemies: Darkseid.
“I think Darkseid was going to be the villain,” Singer said. “It was pretty world-destroying, actually. I ended up having the opportunity to go and make Valkyrie, and I think the studio lost interest at that point. I can’t say it was all the studio’s fault and I can’t say it was all my fault. It just fizzled out.”
Interestingly, Darkseid has been heavily rumored to be the big baddie in the eventual Justice League movie to follow Batman vs Superman. Considering the fact that the Justice League movie canon kicked off with a movie titled Man of Steel, it seems possible that WB may have cannibalized some of Superman Returns 2‘s ideas as they built their new cinematic universe.
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