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J.J. Abrams Talks His Scrapped Superman Script 'Flyby'

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist March 22, 2013 at 11:51AM

Having already dipped his toes into "Mission: Impossible," and with "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" now under his belt, it seems there isn't a franchise around that J.J. Abrams won't touch, and as fans already know, he once penned a script for a Superman movie. Without getting lost in the development history, this was in the long years before "Superman Returns" when Warner Bros. was trying to figure out how to reboot the iconic hero, with a number of filmmakers and writers all developing different takes, but Abrams version may be the most infamous.
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Superman Returns J.J. Abrams

Having already dipped his toes into "Mission: Impossible," and with "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" now under his belt, it seems there isn't a franchise around that J.J. Abrams won't touch, and as fans already know, he once penned a script for a Superman movie. Without getting lost in the development history, this was in the long years before "Superman Returns" when Warner Bros. was trying to figure out how to reboot the iconic hero, with a number of filmmakers and writers all developing different takes. Abrams' version may be the most infamous.

Entitled "Flyby," is certainly took enough liberties with the mythology that AICN famously ripped it apart saying, "You'll believe a franchise can suck!" Among the twists, Lex Luthor worked for the CIA...and as a part of his work, gains superpowers and becomes able to fly. And oh yeah, Superman dies....and via some new age-y stuff, manages to resurrect himself and live to fight to another day. It was a controversial take to be sure (read the whole breakdown at the link above), and fans didn't rest any easier with Brett Ratner and McG both linked to direct at various stages. But Abrams has weighed in on where he was coming from with his incarnation.

“The thing that I tried to emphasise 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,” he explained to Empire. “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," he continued. "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 realised he had to finally own his strength and what he’d always been."

He doesn't seem to discuss the riskier things he did with the mythology and while he says he's uncertain that Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder are taking that same thematic approach (it seems they are), he "could not be more thrilled to see that movie."

So, do you think Abrams take would have been interesting or did he veer to far away from who Superman is? Let us know below.

This article is related to: J. J. Abrams, Man Of Steel


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