Originally Posted by Binker
There are two: a 2002 one, with the CIA/Kryptonian Luthor; and a 2003 one, with the billionaire Luthor. I have heard of a third draft, but if such a thing exists, I have not confirmed it nor has it been released.
The third draft exists. Some years ago a member of the hype posted a brief comparison between Superman Returns and the Third Draft:
- Lex Luthor obtaining Kryptonian technology was a major storyline in the script. Fresh out of college, Luthor was driving cross country for his first job in Metropolis working at some local industrial coroporation, and while stopped in Smallville, witnessed the crashing of Superman's ship. After the Kents scooped up baby Clark as in every other incarnation, Lex found the ship and stole it for himself before Johnathan could return to secure it. This plays into the Kents telling Clark to never use his powers no matter what, and to proceed living like a normal human being, as they know there is someone out there who would be able to identify him. They don't put the fear of god into about his powers like the first draft, but it's made clear they want Clark to live like a normal human being. But anyway, Lex takes the ship, figures out how to adapt the Kryptonian technology, and then buys out his boss and turns the Metropolis Corporation into the Billion dollar company known as Lexcorp, which specializes in military arms development, sonar tech, news forms of stealth flight, etc etc. Not to mention he basically buys the city of Metropolis, including the Daily Planet. There are some funny lines with Perry White and Lois Lane concerning that fact. Lex would then use the Kryptonian technology to call upon the surving Kryptonians to come to Earth and defeat Superman. On a side note, the Lex in this script was a damn creep. Very unnerving almost. Before witnessing the rocket ship crash in Smallville, lex is pulled off to the side of the road, basically writing down notes for his own Mein Kampf. I geuss Luthor has some grand, Hitler like plan that would have played out over the course of the franchise. I really liked how Lex was done here. More on that Later.
- The plane sequence in Superman Returns was basically taken right out of the script. As described in the novel and from all the images and previews Ive seen, it is honestly a shot for shot copy, which isn't a bad thing. The plane sequence in the script was the one of the most stunning visuals Ive ever had in my head, and it should be know different in Superman Returns.
- Superman flying above the world and listening to people's problems, then flying around doing Super deeds was in the script, and might I say one of the best parts about it. Might not be shot for shot, but the idea's came for the scene in Superman Returns came from this script it would seem.
- The heavy emphasis on the romance was there, although with obviously WAAYYYY different storylines. It was the traditional Superman/Clark/Lois triangle, which wasn't a bad thing, not that the Superman Returns love story is bad either.
- The idea of going back to Krypton, with the difference being that Superman leaves for Krypton at the end of the film.