It was revealed in the novel of Superman Returns, that 'Jason Christopher White' (as referred to by Mike D) is a very sick, frail child. If he is the child of Superman and Lois, it would probably mean Kryptonian DNA and Human DNA don't mix well. Should Jason be terminally ill? That obviously means he wont pass away in Superman Returns, but it will be obvious that he will one day soon. Even though Lois stays with Richard at the end of Superman Returns (according to the novel), Superman still stays around to watch over them all. The sequel should take place a year after the child has passed on and deals with the characters adjusting to their loss. The passing of Jason could also be the device that brings Lois and Superman together again...when they need each other the most, therefore Jason would have served a greater purpose in the grand scheme of things. I think it would be a smart move to obviously not show Jason dying on screen but the characters dealing with it; one year later. The best way to get Richard out of the picture is his job. Hes an international reporter and probably works overseas quite often. When Lois needed him the most, he wasnt there....but Superman/Clark would be. I think it could be powerful, if handled right.