Before he directed MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: 3, writer-director J.J. Abrams pitched Warner Brothers on the idea of re-booting Superman with a film called SUPERMAN: FLYBY. Fortunately for truth, justice and most of our childhoods, WB let J.J. fly right on by. But, what if ????

You have to admit, “Star Wars”, “Star Trek” and “Superman” would have been a ‘hat trick’ for the ages.

Hi Rob, moderators, and Post Geek Singularity,

This is a review of the screenplay of a film that was never made. This is my second review for a new thing I am trying to do, with the first review being for the Harlem Nights script, though I am not sure if you read that letter.

Anyways, this unmade screenplay I am reviewing now, is for J.J Abrams’ SUPERMAN: FLYBY.

A storyboard from the J.J. Abrams, never-produced film: SUPERMAN: Flyby.

This script would have definitely made a very controversial film if made, due to the fact it takes many liberties with the Superman lore.

The liberties to the lore are:

1. Krypton does not explode;

2. Jor-El is a king instead of a scientist;

3. Jor-El actually once visited Earth and chose the Kents to raise his son;

4. Lex Luthor is a government agent who is revealed at the end to be Kryptonian;

5. Jor-El has an evil brother called Kata-Zor;

6. Kata Zor has a son called Ty-Zor who is basically a General Zod-type character;

7. Jor-El becomes a prisoner and dies by performing a sacrifice in prison; and

8. Kal-El is sent to Earth in the hope he will fulfill the prophecy of ending a Kryptonian civil war.

Despite these changes, I actually liked the story being told.

It’s not perfect, as there are certain things I would expand on or just wouldn’t do. I was not of a fan of Luthor being Kryptonian and a government agent. The Lois Lane love story was really rushed. There is flying kung fu which I found to be a bit ridiculous.

Superman defeating Ty Zor and the other Kryptonians at the end was too quick, since he dies fighting them, then meets his father in Kryptonian heaven who tells him everything, and then he comes back to life to stop his cousin and the others.

Another problem I had was the franchise set up, which was incorporated into the script, as this was meant to be a trilogy. There is a character on Krypton who is a prisoner, and the script mentions he will play a bigger role in the sequel. The end of the script has Superman leaving Earth for Krypton.

While I think this script had problems, I did still quite like it. It is a first draft, so it does need polishing. Abrams did write a second draft, which fixed a lot of things from what I read, but it is unavailable.

I’m not sure how the final film would have turned out if made, but it would have been interesting to see.

Interestingly, Abrams really wanted to direct the film from his script, which might have been his directorial debut instead of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: 3 if the project went forward, but Warner Bros looked at McG, Michael Bay, and Brett Ratner for directing. Eventually, Bryan Singer came along which lead to SUPERMAN RETURNS, ending any development of Flyby.

That is my review of SUPERMAN: FLYBY.

Here is a link to the draft of the screenplay that I reviewed (if any of you are interested in reading Abrams’ first draft).

Thanks, live long and prosper.
-Omar

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