Join Date: Dec 2004
Re: The JJ Abrams Superman script
The thrid draft of the J.J. Abrams script, or you could almost call it the Josh Schwartz script.
Schwartz was the creator of The O.C. and a huge comic book lover. I just thought that while the concepts for the movie are entirely different, you can see some of this scripts influences in Superman Returns. From what I have been told, this script was originally offered to Bryan Singer, but obviously he did his own thing story wise. Anyway, here we go....
- 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 in Flyby Superman leaves for Krypton at the end of the film.
With this being said, it looks like Singer took some of the best concepts from this script and then combined them with his idea of vague history. While this script was amazing when it was pure Superman, it also had it's fair share of groans. Alot was changed about Krypton, first and foremost bieng that JOR-EL was the main villian, and it was he who blew up Krypton and reduced it to a giant chunk, while Lara sent Kal-El to Earth for the sole purpose of living a free life. Very Darth Vader like with Jor-El. Also, and your going to love this, Supermans has a half brother that was born to Jor-El and another kryptonian women, who of course is evil. This character basically took the place of Ty-Zor if your remember him. The prophecy is still there, but it actually is not about Superman. The prophecy is about some form of Ultimate Evil in the universe, basically being played up to be an intergalactic Satan, and I believe that it is implied to be Jor-El, but would have turned out to be Lex Luthor. The whole reason Superman goes back to Krypton is because he believes this ultimate evil is Jor-El and he must stop him, free the kryptonians, and protect Earth from another attack. They were really going for Jesus vs. Satan here by the end of the franchise.
You can truly see Schwartz influence with the character of Clark Kent. Instead of making him the stumblin, bumblin, fumblin, mumblin fool of old, Clark is a modern day nerd. Geeky and Sarcastic, this Clark made alot of comments that made me think Seth Cohen from the O.C. I will honestly say though that the interaction with Clark and Lois was funny as hell, and the best source of humor in the script, with Lois being the bossy ***** that she is. There were some very Luke Skywalker-esque moments with Clark while he was on the farm, I could just hear the Star Wars theme in my head. Also, Superman didn't die in this script when the other Kryptonians arrived, they placed him in some sort of paralysis and stuffed him away with the rocket ship that lara had sent him to Earth. After being stuffed away, a computer programming of Lara, think Bruce Timm Animated Series, melded with Superman's mind and told him everything, who he was, where he was from, the prophecy, everything, and then the ship freed him from the paralysis just in time to save the day. It was then that Superman took it upon himself to stop the prophecy.
Well, I would just like to say I am in no way endorsing this script, Im only passing along what I read and the influences I see. This movie would have been directed by a hack in McG and cast horribly, i.e. Beyonce Knowles as Lois Lane because McG is an idiot.
I remember that scene, but it was in the god awful 1st draft of the film. The one I was reffering to was the 3rd and I belive final draft that had, for one, cut the cannister out thank god, and it was no longer Air Force One. It was the space shuttle plane seen in Returns, and the ripping off of the wing was there as well.
In the FINAL draft, yes, Smallville had an influence, the Kents were written just the same, he was in love with Lana, his powers slowly developed, etc etc. Smallville was basically used as a template for how he grew up.
However, there was never any Clark interaction and no Chloe.
Well actually in the final draft, Lex was very human, but he possessed Kryptonian technology after stealing Superman's rocket ship, Krypton explodes for the most part except for a chunk which evil Jor-El rules, and there is no Superman death scene.
I understand what your saying, and I agree with the point your getting across, but....
In the 3rd Abrams draft, there is NO prophecy concerning Superman. He is left out of the equation there. He was sent by Lara to Earth simply to live, nothing more and he chooses to become Superman and has zero knowledge of the ultimate evil at that point. Its toward the end of the script, before the final big showdown, that Superman finds this information and he then chooses to be the person to try and stop it, believing it to be evil Jor-El on Krypton, but in the end I belive it would have Luthor as he was almost Hitler like in the script but with Kryptonian technology. So the prophecy is not about Superman, he just decides to be the person to do something about it, and this is after he had already made his debut as Superman.
And in the 3rd draft, they fixed a major problem from the 1st draft and actually skipped ahead like 6-9 months after Superman debuted to the time when Lex summons the evil Kryptonians using the technology, so Superman would have been saving people that entire time, as well as romancing Lois Lane.
In the 3rd draft, the Air Force One scene was eliminated and replaced with the space shuttle.
To whoever said it wasn't very Superman like to walk past the President to check on Lois, that little problem was taken care of.
And most of the Krypton scenes were rewritten with Jor-El as the villian along with the half brother of Superman. And it was Lara and her father, the character Predius, who shipped baby Kal-El to Earth.
Many people fail to understand that this draft never got publically reviewed.
The suit in the can thing is gone completely. There is actually a scene where Clark tries on all kinds of different suits, including the traditional colored suit which he ends up picking, a black suit, and red/white/blue suit. Clark loves the red/white/blue suit, but in a funny scene doesn't want to ripoff Captain America, his favorite superhero growing up. And yes they do feature young Clark reading Captain America. Also, Clark used the S shield because he was wrapped up in a blanket with the embelem on it, and it was the only known thing he had from the world he came from.
Yes, Kata-Zor and Ty-Zor were gone, with Jor-El taking the place of main villian. But Jor-El also had another son, although it wasn't with Lara, giving Superman a half brother who was loyal to Jor-El. Basically took the place of Ty-Zor.