New Superman: Flyby concept art reveals J.J. Abrams’ scrapped reboot, including its version of Krypton, the Daily Planet and Man of Steel’s suit.
New Superman: Flyby concept art reveals J.J. Abrams’ scrapped reboot, including its version of Krypton, the Daily Planet and Man of Steel’s suit. Development on the film began as early as 2002 when the future Lost co-creator turned in his script draft to Warner Bros. with an origin story exploring a civil war between Jo-El and his corrupt brother Kata-Zor that would ultimately lead to Kal-El sent to Earth to fulfill a prophecy, being taken in by Jonathan and Martha Kent and falling in love with Lois Lane at the Daily Planet. Superman: Flyby would then see the titular hero forced to face off against Kata-Zor’s son Ty-Zor and three other corrupted Kryptonians on Earth, resulting in his initial death and visiting Jor-El in their race’s version of Heaven before being resurrected and returning to defeat the group, with the film ending as he flys off to Krypton in a spaceship.
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The studio would quickly get to work trying to get Superman: Flyby off the ground with Brett Ratner being hired to direct and iconic Superman actor Christopher Reeve being brought on as a project consultant to help with the casting. A variety of actors would be eyed for the lead role, including Josh Hartnett, who was offered a $100 million three-picture deal, Jude Law, Paul Walker and Brendan Fraser, though all felt they were unprepared for the scheduling commitment and potential typecasting that would come from playing the DC Comics character. While Superman: Flyby would ultimately die in development hell, audiences are getting a glimpse at what almost was.
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Nearly 20 years after the project was ultimately scrapped, filmmaker Ryan Unicomb took to Twitter to share concept art from J.J. Abrams’ Superman: Flyby. The images reveal a look at the scrapped franchise reboot, including the potential costume design for the titular Man of Steel and its versions of both Krypton and Metropolis. Check out the concept art below:
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There were a variety of factors behind Superman: Flyby’s eventual demise, beginning with budgetary concerns as it was looking to exceed $200 million, a large number in and of itself though when paired with money spent on the previously scrapped Superman Reborn, Nicolas Cage’s Superman Lives and Batman vs. Superman was more of a worry for the studio. The film saw another setback as Ratner dropped out due to frustrations with the frequent delays in trying to cast the film and creative differences with producer Jon Peters, being replaced by McG in 2003, who eyed Jason Behr, Henry Cavill, Jared Padalecki and Michael Cassidy. However, when McG also departed, Abrams tried to throw his hat in the ring to direct, but WB would drop the project all together.
With Superman: Flyby killed by the studio, the Man of Steel would instead see his way back to the screen with Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, a pseudo-sequel to the Christopher Reeve movies with Brandon Routh taking over the role. The film would receive generally positive reviews from critics, though largely divided audiences and underperformed at the box office, grossing just over $391 million against its reported $223 million production budget, cancelling plans for a sequel. Though his first effort with the character didn’t work out, Abrams is getting another shot at both Superman and the DC Comics world as he is producing both a Justice League Dark universe for HBO Max and a film centered on a Black Man of Steel from writer Ta-Nehisi Coates that is reportedly a reboot set outside of the DC Extended Universe.
More: Casting Superman For J.J. Abrams’ Reboot
Source: Ryan Unicomb/Twitter
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Grant Hermanns is a News Writer, Interviewer and Hiring Manager for Screen Rant, having joined the team in early 2021. Way back in 2015 while still in his college days, Grant got his start in the entertainment journalism industry with creator-friendly site Moviepilot until it shuttered nearly three years later. From there he joined the staff at ComingSoon.net and was its Associate Editor prior to coming over to Screen Rant.
To say he’s a lover of film and television would be an understatement and when he’s not mass consuming either you can find him exploring the world of Dungeons & Dragons with friends or slowly making his way through his gaming backlog.
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