Superman Returns’ Original Opening Scene Explained

Superman Returns’ Original Opening Scene Explained


Superman Returns originally had a very different and expensive opening scene; one that included Kal-El (Brandon Routh) traveling home to Krypton.

Superman Returns originally had a very different opening scene; here’s what happened in the far more expensive opening. DC’s powerful superhero has been at the center of movies since the 1970s when Richard Donner’s Superman arrived. After four films starring Christopher Reeve as the Kryptonian hero and nearly two decades without a new film, Superman Returns finally brought Kal-El back to the big screen. The 2006 movie relaunched Superman for the modern day with Brandon Routh suiting up for the titular role.

Directed by Bryan Singer, Superman Returns is a canon continuation of Reeve’s Superman franchise. Routh’s Superman is meant to be the same as the one Reeve played decades prior and the movie takes place five years after Superman II. Linking Superman Returns to the prior franchise meant including repurposed footage and quotes from Jor-El (Marlon Brando). The first instance of this happens at the very beginning of the movie, with Jor-El’s goodbye to Kal-El from Superman repeating as Krypton’s surface is shown right before the planet is destroyed. This event was supposed to lead to a different opening for Superman Returns.

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Related: Superman Returns: The Actors Who Almost Played Clark Kent

As Superman Returns currently is known, the first real scene of the movie after Krypton’s destruction and the opening credits follows Kevin Spacey’s Lex Luthor. However, Bryan Singer originally envisioned an introduction that focused on the Man of Steel. The five-minute-long sequence showed Kal-El at the end of his space adventure and arriving at what is left of Krypton. Superman, who is fitted in a white/gray suit, flies through the remains using his ship. This is where he discovers the planet has a giant Superman “S” on it, and that the planet’s core is riddled with Kryptonite. Superman grows very weak due to the massive amount of Kryptonite around him, but he manages to chart a return course to Earth before he crashes. It leads perfectly into Superman Returns‘ second scene at the Kent farm when Superman’s star-shaped ship crash lands there.

Click here to watch 10 Most Expensive Movie Scenes Ever Filmed on YouTube.

This original opening scene was first revealed in 2011 and changed Superman Returns. Warner Bros. included the scene in a home video re-release of SupermanSuperman IISuperman IIISuperman IV: The Quest for Peace, and Superman Returns. The decision to remove the scene was quite surprising in hindsight. Superman Returns‘ original opening scene reportedly cost $10 million to film and complete. The quiet scene would’ve offered a very different way to begin the movie, but there has not been an official explanation given for why the scene was removed entirely.

If Superman Returns‘ original opening scene did stay in the movie, it would’ve been interesting to see if that changed part of the response to the film. It would give viewers a chance to see what Superman was doing off-world when the movie began and visit the remains of Krypton. However, it would raise further questions about Superman’s ability to lift an entire island made of Kryptonite at the end of Superman Returns. While Superman Returns eventually ditched this opening scene, fans can still see the possibility of what could’ve been.

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