Storyboard Art For J.J. Abrams' Scrapped SUPERMAN: FLYBY Film


Before J.J. Abrams became an A-list director in Hollywood, he wrote a script for a Superman film in 2002 called Superman: Flyby. He was still working on the TV series Felicity when he wrote the script. His concept for it was off the wall! It would’ve been unlike anything anyone had ever seen from a Superman movie before.

Here’s a previously released synopsis for the film:

Superman: Flyby was an origin story that included Krypton besieged by a civil war between Jor-El and his corrupt brother, Kata-Zor. Before Kata-Zor sentences Jor-El to prison, Kal-El is launched to Earth to fulfill a prophecy. Adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent, he forms a romance with Lois Lane in the Daily Planet. However, Lois is more concerned with exposing Lex Luthor, written as a government agent obsessed with UFO phenomena. Clark reveals himself to the world as Superman, bringing Kata-Zor’s son, Ty-Zor, and three other Kryptonians to Earth. Superman is defeated and killed, and visits Jor-El (who committed suicide on Krypton while in prison) in Kryptonian heaven. Resurrected, he returns to Earth and defeats the four Kryptonians, while the script ends with Superman off to Krypton, leaving a cliffhanger for a sequel.

When previously talking about the details of the story he came up with before Zack Snyder made Man of Steel, Abrams said:

“The thing that I tried to emphasize in the story was that if the Kents found this boy, Kal-El, who had the power that he did, he would have most likely killed them both in short order. And the idea that these parents would see – if they were lucky to survive long enough – that they had to immediately begin teaching this kid to limit himself and to not be so fast, not be so strong, not be so powerful. The result of that, psychologically, would be fear of oneself, self-doubt and being ashamed of what you were capable of. Extrapolating that to adulthood became a fascinating psychological profile of someone who was not pretending to be Clark Kent, but who was Clark Kent. Who had become that kind of a character who is not able or willing to accept who he was and what his destiny was.

“The idea in the movie was that he became Superman because he realized he had to finally own his strength and what he’d always been. I don’t know if that’s what Zack and Chris [Nolan] are doing, but it looks like that’s part of the idea and I could not be more thrilled to see that movie. That to me was always the way to go.”

Well, now we have some concept art to share with you from this scrapped movie. It comes from Peter Ramsey, who was a storyboard artist that worked on the film. He went on to become one of the directors of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Check out that storyboard art below:

Brandon Routh and Henry Cavill auditioned for the film and even did screen tests. They later went on to play the role in different Superman films. Brendan Fraser was also up for the role and Jude Law and Josh Hartnett were offered the part before turning it down.

Robert Downey Jr. was set to play Lex Luthor and Shia LaBeouf was going to play Jimmy Olsen. Scarlett Johansson and Selma Blair were up for the role of Lois Lane, and Christopher Walken was in talks to play Perry White, and Joel Edgerton was up for the part of Ty-Zor. Paul Walker was also up for a role in the movie.

I can’t help but wonder how the film would have turned out and if it would have actually ended up being a great Superman movie. Do you think it would have been a good movie?

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