Quite an array of Superman stories have been told through film over the past few decades, and it sounds like Richard Donner's take on the character almost went in a major direction.
In a recent interview with 13th Dimension, Donner was asked about his work on Superman: The Movie and Superman II, and what he would have potentially done if he'd gotten to make more sequels. As he revealed, one significant Superman villain would've been part of the proceedings.
"Well, Brainiac." Donner explained. "There was a little bit of Brainiac that was going to be in it, but no. [Writer] Tom [Mankiewicz] and I had some really great thoughts. Because he was also a good director. And what we were going to do was, we would write the next one [II] and I would direct that, and we’d do the third one and Tom would direct that. And so on, for as long as it lasted. But the producers [Alexander and Ilya Salkind] didn’t see our relationship to the films as we did, so I was not brought back."
As DC fans will remember, Donner was famously replaced midway through Superman II, leading to Richard Lester finishing out the project. So while Donner might not have gotten to carry out the rest of the franchise as he'd intended, he'd definitely had an interest in bringing Brainiac onto the big screen.
"Well, [Brainiac was] one of the villains [I wanted to tackle], yes." Donner continued. "I mean, I felt there was a different way of approaching it, but the intellect of Brainiac was very exciting."
While Brainiac has since been brought into live-action in several DC television shows, the notion that he could have appeared in Donner's films is certainly interesting. Fans will surely wonder how that could have potentially influenced future versions of the character, or if we would have even gotten the more modern portrayals seen on Krypton and Injustice 2.
"There are many, many iterations of Braniac out there, so certain things I can probably tell you, and certain things I have to be a little coy about," Blake Ritson said of his role as the Collector of Worlds on Krypton. "I suppose the first thing I should say, is this is a Braniac you have never seen on screen before. This is a very different. I think the only time he's ever been in live action is Smallville, where he was effectively self-aware AI, and in that version, he appeared as a 20th Century human professor. This one will not be like that. He will be infinitely more terrifying."
Would you have wanted to see Brainiac appear in Donner's Superman movies? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.