Superman Lives (Kevin Smith script)

Looking at unmade science fiction, fantasy, horror and superhero films, television shows and episodes.

kevin-smith-superman-doomsday

Kevin Smith in Superman: Doomsday (animation is thinning).

Kevin Smith was hired to write Superman script.

BACKGROUND

  • After the failure of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) a number attempts were made to bring Superman to the screen once more:  Superman V, Superman: The New Movie, Superman Reborn.
  • Kevin Smith is a writer/director and comic book fan who made the very low-budget Clerks using the black and white security cameras and made a string on geek-friendly films
Kevin Smith Bionic Man Evening Harder

Kevin Smith in the follow up to An Evening With Kevin Smith “Evening Harder.”

DEVELOPMENT

  • Gregory Poirier’s script for Superman Reborn had been well received, but Kevin Smith was brought in to do a rewrite.  Smith believed that Poirer’s script was too campy, comparing it to the 60’s Batman TV series.  He asked to – and was given permission to – do a complete rewrite.
  • Superman producer Jon Peters was looking for something in the vein of Star Wars, admitting later “The elements that I was focusing on were away from the heart, it was more leaning towards Star Wars in a sense, you know. I didn’t realize the human part of it, I didn’t have that.”  Peters asked Smith to give Superman a black costume, not have him flying, to include a fight with a giant spider and for Brainiac to have an R2-D2 style sidekick robot and Lex Luthor to have a toyetic space dog.
  • Robert Rodriguez liked the script but turned it down due to it clashing with his work on The Faculty.  Smith suggested Tim Burton.
Portrait Shot Of Jon Peters

Jon Peters standing in front of a Superman statue in the costume he didn’t like.

PLOT

Script available online.

Smith’s script pits Superman against Brainiac.  Knowing Superman gets his powers from the sun, Brainiac blocks it out and sends Doomsdays to kill Superman.   While Brainiac teams up with Lex Luthor, the Kryptonian robot Eradicator resurrects Superman who must use robotic armour while his powers return.

Brainiac

Brainiac in the comics. One of the versions. Comics change things alot.

CANCELATION

  • Burton hired Wesley Strick to rewrite Smith’s script.  Being replaced upset Smith (who’d rewritten Poirier’s script that the had been happy with) saying: “The studio was happy with what I was doing. Then Tim Burton got involved…”
Tim Burton, a man proud not to read comics.

Tim Burton, a man proud not to read comics.

LEGACY

  • Burton’s Superman Lives was rejected by the studio.
  • Kevin Smith talked about his experiences writing Superman Lives in “An Evening With Kevin Smith.” He made a cameo appearance in the animated movie Superman: Doomsday movie parodying his experience writing Superman Lives.  Smith also wrote an unused scripts for The Six Million Dollar Man and  Green Hornet.
  • Jon Peters went on to produce Wild Wild West, which included a giant robot spider and was a producer on Superman Returns and Man of Steel.
Giant Robot Spider

Q:  Who says you can’t always get what you want?

– Dug.

[A: The Rolling Stones]

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2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Unmade Film Poll #2 | Unmade Speculative Fiction

  2. Pingback: TIMELINE – Superman IV to Superman Returns | Unmade Speculative Fiction

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