In Pre-Production..?



Though audience and critical response to Superman IV: The Quest For Peace had been derisory, The Cannon Group, Inc. forged ahead regardless by announcing a fifth picture only three months after release with an apparent plan to use culled footage from the subplot of Part IV as the basis for a new feature. (See the deleted scenes here).

This was confirmed by a full-page ad appearing in Daily Variety (Top) declaring Superman V was in ‘Pre-Production’ as of October, 1988.  Cinefantastique magazine (second pic) soon after published an article stating that Superman V was in fact one of a trifecta of upcoming genre features all to be directed by Albert Pyun (The Sword And The Sorcerer).

Subject to availability (see: whatever conditions/salary demanded) Christopher Reeve would potentially reprise his role in this ‘richer vision’ but the producers were obviously open to the idea of recasting the lead.  Indeed, the entire cast of Masters of the Universe had already been dropped for Part 2, (Third pic) with Laird Hamilton replacing Dolph Lundgren.

Ultimately, like a glut of other pre-announced projects, none would come to fruition due to Cannon Films collapse in 1989, whereupon the rights to the Superman character reverted back to the Salkinds, who would proceed with their own ill-fated attempt to bring the Man Of Steel back to the big screen.

It seems production of Superman V came closer to reality than previously thought – (although a script has yet to surface) some years ago a fan named Paul got in touch with the following info about the same Superman V promo but in colour –

This is a mini poster for the cancelled, never made film Superman V. To quickly explain where I got this, I grew up in Borehamwood – home of Elstree Film Studios where Star Wars (and Superman IV) were made. In the late 80’s The Cannon Group owned the studios before much of it was demolished. In late 1987 or early 1988 (I can’t remember when but I do remember it was cold winter day) I was working with my father gutting the valuable stuff from the soundstages that were being demolished. Being a curious teenager I was raiding the trash looking for stuff. I found a collection of framed mini posters most in smashed glass frames. I later found out these were hung along the corridors coming from the main reception area. I took a few of these that interested me (Masters of The Universe, Superman, Spider-man) and I’ve kept them all these years. Superman V was never made but Cannon had started work on it…

My sincere thanks also go to SuperFan William S. Wilson (see his amazing Movie blog here) for securing an original copy of the ad taken from the pages of Daily Variety (bottom pic – on the rear: Delta Force II) and adding this grail item to the SUPERMANIA collection after a exhaustive search…


The New Movie, Reborn…

Despite the announcement from Cannon Films that Superman V was in Pre-Production as early as 1988, the project’s failure to materialise due to the collapse of the Cannon Group, Inc. meant their option had reverted back to the Salkinds.

Having received lukewarm reception to their SuperBoy TV series, the Salkinds were keen to return to past glories and finally get the Superman Motion Picture Series back on track.  Though Ilya Salkind had produced an ambitious treatment during the series tenure (which he elaborates on in the DVD documentary ‘You Will Believe, The Cinematic Saga Of Superman’) the script and story were fleshed out by writers Cary Bates and Mark Jones (the former having written numerous episodes for the TV series)

With a first draft provisionally titled ‘Superman The New Movie‘  taking the saga back to its science-fiction roots (incorporating the City of Kandor and Brainiac as the villian) the project was intended to be the Salkinds next once they had completed Christopher Columbus: The Discovery.  With buzz already circulating due to Alexander Salkind turning up to Europex courting investors (see third pic down) and rumours (confirmed by Salkind, Bates and Later Reeve himself) that the star was interested in returning (see second and last pic – translation;  “He is perhaps going to be sent into the air for a 5th time – he is being sought to star in ‘Superman: The New Movie‘) and production slated for Universal Studios in Florida, things were slowly falling into place.

Tragically, however, by 1992 Warner Brothers were seeking to consolidate their ownership of the character and the Salkinds were ousted as WB eventually retained all rights.  This meant that the third and final draft of the script (now entitled Superman Reborn – see top pic for script cover) would be shelved indefinitely while plans were made to have Superman return to the small screen.

Superman Reborn would remain a working title for script submissions & rewrites (most notably by Jonathan Lemkin) and would languish in development hell before its evolution to ‘Superman Lives‘ and the arrival of Tim Burton.  But that’s a whole other story…

Download a PDF of the Jones/Bates script here


Why I Believe In…

Culled from an oversize article in the UK Sun newspaper entitled Why I Believe in Superman circa 1988, after the release and subsequent box-office failure of Superman IV: The Quest For Peace.

It seems Reeve’s only stipulation for returning to the role one last time was a return to quality. As the possibility of a fifth chapter was closer to fruition than most believe, I intend to post as much evidence from the aborted fifth movie that I can and need your help!! Please get in touch if you have anything Superman V related…!