Long before Kevin Smith officially entered the world of directing DC Comics adventures with his work for The CW, he famously had a brush with Superman in the '90s, having recalled the meetings he had with Warner Bros. and with Tim Burton about potentially writing a Superman script on the An Evening with Kevin Smith DVD from 2002. With the filmmaker having regularly detailed his own plans for the adventure and the pushback he received from the studio at spoken-word events and on podcasts, Smith recently discovered one of the first contacts he had with the studio, which included the loose outline of what their vision for a Superman film was at that time.
"I've been cleaning my office and I found some sh-t and I just wanted to share this with you all," Smith shared on his Fatman Beyond podcast. "This is from Warner Bros. and it's from, I don't know if you can see the date there, the date is May 15th of 1996. What I hold in my hand is a 24-year-old Warner Bros. letter, may I read it to you?"
He read the letter, "'It's time for the rebirth of a hero. As you know, we are making a new Superman film, taking the world's most famous superhero into the 21st century. The enclosed collection of comic books forms the basis of the take outline. We would love to discuss this with Kevin Smith at his earliest convenience.'"
While Smith has often teased various plot points from that film, he went on to read the pitch verbatim.
"'Alienated from the world he protects, convinced his relationship with Lois Lane is doomed, Superman is suddenly defeated and left for dead by the villain Brainiac, an intergalactic genius intent upon collecting the best DNA in the universe,'" the pitch reads. "'Superman is secretly nursed back to health by his mentor Cadmus only to discover he has lost his superpowers. As Lois mourns the loss of her love and Brainiac frantically searches for Superman's body, the Man of Steel returns disguised using as a high-tech bodysuit to fight while he attempts to regain his superpowers. While battling Brainiac's henchmen Parasite and Banshee, Superman rediscovers his powers and his love for Lois Lane. In a final showdown, Superman destroys Brainiac and saves the world that he has come to call home.'"
This take on the character ultimately fell apart, as it wouldn't be until 2006 that a new Superman film, Superman Returns, would be released. Even Smith himself couldn't help but joke about how long he has been detailing his brush with the Man of Steel over the years.
"This is how I get to that f-cking Superman story," Smith joked. "This is literally the path where it begins ... the document that led to that other, to my f-cking Superman story. Me writing Superman and then nothing happening with it and then me telling that story for the next 20 f-cking years."
While Superman will next be seen in Zack Snyder's Justice League on HBO Max next year, it's unknown when he will next get a solo adventure.
Would you have liked to see this take on the hero? Let us know in the comments below!