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King was born in Uganda and raised as a Canadian. He studied and graduated the animation program at sheridan college and furthered his knowledge into game and 3D artistry.


My Take on...Superman Returns

SUPERMAN(Returns)  by King Mugabi 


I mentioned a pitch I had in my desk were WB ever to call on me to purpose a superman film. Though I won’t get into the exact details I will share an overview of my superman ideeeer. What can I say; I moonlight as a fan fiction writing geek.I should stress, this isn't my take on Superman but rather a revision of that film they called Superman Returns.

I didn’t hate the 2006 film Superman Returns, but like many I’ve simply forgotten it, and in my opinion that’s much worse. I can’t believe that the best idea they came up with to reinvigorate the series was to make a beat for beat spoof of the original Dinner film. It was about the time when Lex’s female sidekick turned on Lex that I tossed my popcorn in the air ”…stupid” I said to myself. It’s sad because a lot of peoples main gripe with the character is that he’s old fashioned, boring, un-relatable and pointlessly over powered. And to top it off, I hated the cinematography and color palette. I admire the decision to try and emulate the original but the end product resulted in a film that looked old and boring. That’s all superficial stuff, the major problem of that movie is that they just didn’t understand what makes the character who he is for one, and why he’s great for another. I digress. The film fails right from the jump, and I’m not talking about the un-inspired abridged retelling of the death of krypton scene. Right from the very start, Why the HELL would superman of all the characters that exist in comic-dom, decide to just up and leave for, oh say about 5 or 6 years? Sure they got him pegged as a dead beat father in the film but he’s also deadbeat hero too?

Ok so Luthor is in jail (and knowing WB, that’s all the world really has to worry about). But what happens when (like in the 4th movie) Lex escapes again and of course goes for more damn land. Where would the worlds greatest protector be in light of this situation? What happens if/when someone like Darksied shows up? What’s so gosh damn important about exploring huge chunks of kryptonite where one's planet used to be? It’s selfish, plain and simple. Not so say that even superman isn’t a little selfish, I mean Superman 2 kind of explores that, but this is on a whole other level of the sort that even Mr. Incredible would scoff at. The idea that the world is just fine without him is contrived considering the very entertaining universe they set up for our viewing pleasure, the best evidence of this is how Lois is instantly in life threatening danger not but 24 hours after his return. Sure it was as a result of Luthor but not directly and because of that, it laughs at it’s own premise. Is superman some kind of jinx? Are people only safe as long along as he’s not around?

I can actually quote a line from Superman 2 where he tells the president to his face that he won’t let them down again. Little did they know at the time that he had abandoned them to get into bed with Lois. Joker is more a man of his word than this dude. Now to be fair, there is a part of the abandoned script that says Luhor had arranged for superman to hear about a discovery that his planet Krypton was found and that in “tricking” superman to leave Earth he would steal 6 years of Supe's life in retribution for his prison term, which evidently was shortened to 6 because superman wasn’t around to testify against him (takes some effort to halt my eyes from rolling right around my head and back again). The (main) problem with this is that it still doesn’t excuse the (Christ like) hero from breaking character in such a way. What’s worse is that the film shelved the idea anyhow and what we’re left with is an even more flawed Superman experience than that would have been.

 Now, I won't deny that it was an interesting concept on paper, and the truth is we are dealing with a hero that already gave up his powers and responsibility for selfish reasons in part 2 and thus isn’t so likely to repeat the offense. This is something I’d expect from Smallville (every second episode) but not Superman, Not even Spiderman with all his talk of responsibility. Lastly, I won’t speak of the “super kid.” for I refuse to. That being said, here is “MY TAKE.”

I loved the idea of playing off the fact that superman has been gone from the cinematic cultural landscape and conversation by using it as a returns plot/thematic device, they just went about it wrong and never fully embraced the fact.


Nasa discovers an event deep in our galaxy. They, with the help of [an existing and scientific] Lex corp. build an experimental ship [with parts from Superman's advanced kryptonian baby ship] that can not only travel the great distance, but also neutralize the wormhole (Why not explore some science fiction in a superman movie: between Jor-el, Luthor, John Henry and a few other recurring characters of the mythos, you have some of the greatest scientific minds and engineers in all of fiction). The ship having been rebuilt can only be piloted by a Kryptonian and Superman willingly takes on the secret mission. At this distance from our sun his powers begin to suffer, but the mission is going as planned. Once the event (black hole) is all but closed, the ship runs a program that shuts him in and then begins to enter the wormhole (reverse thrusters and gravity). A final broadcast from Luthor appears and explains that he's lost

"Or rather I’ve won, and you made it easy for me and so on and so forth…etc. 
Luthor you ca...
I can't what? Hope to get away with this? You hero types are all the same and all so predictable. I mean even though I recorded and sent this message 6 hours ago, I find it funny how it's always the same with you, give me a break. I'm Lex Luthor, I can do whatever I want. So Long Kent! Cheers to humanity, drinks on me."

And with that Superman begins to panic. A weakened superman is sent off annnnnnnnnnnnnd cue the main credits ala Abrams Star Trek prelude sequence. How Abrams did It in Star Trek.

In my humble opinion, the average audience would be so much more invested in the movie due to the emotions and scale and sci-fi involved in the scenario. At the very least it would be a lot more engaging than what we were given before the 2006 credits. Moreover it would literally take 8 mins. Plus if the first movie had superman being sent to earth in it's opening 8mins, this would be a good play on reversing that circumstance. And you still get to do your 6 year absence but without the glaring character flaw I've been harping on for the past few minutes.


Celestial events even at that distance tend to have a nasty ripple effect on our planet, so it had to be dealt with. The distance it happened at means it's easy for the government to cover it up. Luthor, shrewd as he is, buys as much media outlets as he can with his vast wealth, mostly digital media. He then spins the story to say that superman simply abandoned us (WHICH IS FUNNY ENOUGH, BECAUSE HE ACTUALLY DOES IN 2006 RETURNS). The younger generation grows up fed the idea that the character known as superman is a relic and selfish and an un-relatable old man. The one outlet that Luthor doesn't own is a small media print outlet called The Daily Planet. And one feisty journalist named Lois Lane, who has dedicated the last 5 years to unearthing the cover up and running conspiracy stories. It's all in vain though, who still reads the paper? Especially when everyone owns an Ipad? Old people right perhaps, but Lois doesn't simply want to preach to the choir. It's the younger audience that finds Superman boring and would rather watch marvel movies these day, they have no memory of those 70's movies. Also, this allows for Lois to play Lois, the rebel with a cause. Something even the miscast Bosworth can do in character.


It turns out superman was sent across the universe to what's left of the Krypton System. The singularity as it turns out was partially due to a ripple in space formed by his initial arrival 25 years prior [and that’s why his ship was needed to close it. JOR-el's recklessly experimental worm hold tech. (desperate times)]. He's powerless and so he's immune to the radiation (hey, I’m not the first to do this) With no way of getting back to earth. After a few months, he's all but given up when he receives a signal from an AI system. This would be a solid introduction to Brainiac because he would appear as friend AND he could give a [manipulated] Kryptonian history lesson to Superman. They fix and improve Clarks ship over the course of a year (parts are scarce in the fallout of a planet) and the trip back takes about 4 light years. What I really like about this concept is that when we meet Brainiac, he has taken the android form of Jor-El (Superman’s dad)

Superman (grave whisper)
Brainiac, are we on the right planet?

Yes sir we are on Earth.

Open the shuttle door please.

With pleasure Kal-El.

(This is actually how I see the trailer playing out, just completely unrecognizable until the end.)

The film actually starts with this(after credits) and revisits Superman's years in exile via him telling the true story to either lois or his mother. 

The Day Superman returns to earth, Dec 2010, He lands near the now abandoned Kent farm, a powerless and saggy Clark walks along the Kent fence built by his grandfather’s father. He runs his fingers in between the grooves like he did a thousand times as a boy returning from his many little adventures. Each crevice telling a different yet familiar story, he was home…at last.

He’s mother Martha Kent, lives alone on the farm, she’s been spending her time writing correspondence letters under Clarks name and keeping his cover. Little known fact, when Martha Kent was young she wanted to be a journalist. The day Clark told Jonathan Kent [his adopted father] that he wasn’t going to carry on the Kent tradition of farming he lost his father. Martha's fate apparently was to die in her sons arms upon his return from exile. Somehow she held on to life just long enough to see her son’s shaggy face for one last night. She cleans him up, and doesn’t wake up the next morning. (I like films where the main character undergoes a drastic visual change, it adds to the weight of the journey and feeling of time.It's like after the shave, you've found your old friend again)

Whilst walking upon the water, he buries her in the family lake.

What’s superman without a little Christian allegory.

Brainiac has been keeping busy planning out...
Judgment Day Terminator 2 style, part 3 doesn’t exist.

(Lois is all over the movie references). What's really juicy is that when Brainiac attacks the planet, Superman has to form un-easy alliance with none other than Lex Luthor, "a man he put in prison in the past." The Luthor owned media really plays up Luthors side of the story. Luthor comes out of this a hero and the world is indifferent on Superman...He’s relevant again.

He returned with an alien menace in tow. 
Superman Returns was insistent on the threat being of Kryptonian origin, but instead of that real estate scheme, I purpose the brainiac fleet. Of the many flaws with the land mass concept (any country with half a brain could have dealt with it). Invasions are all the rage these days and a great deal more cinematic. One thing I didn’t address was the short time on earth superman has to spend recharging and relearning his powers, this would be an interesting way for the audience themselves to experience the expositional wonder of what goes into executing superman’s feats and exactly how his powers work. All the fun of an origin story with half the hassle. Including a scene where he literally leaps over a building.

That’s My Take on Superman (Returns).

The treatment has it's flaws, but at the very least it’s a great deal more interesting to the general audience than Superman Returns was in my “humble” opinion. That’s all one can ask for, something really interesting. It ties in some superman mythos and introduces not only a respectable Luthor, but also a fresh villain that ties back to Superman’s origins and legacy for that un-educated audience member. There’s a much-needed physicality to it, as well as a very tangible global threat. What’s most interesting is that Superman is fighting an android in the likeness of his father or a space battle on the scale of man vs A.I. fleet.
The Superman boards I posted a few weeks ago were partially inspired by this, but for the most part are their own thing. All that being said I’m very much looking forward to what Snyder and Goyer come up with for Man of Steel next year. Hopefully I won’t have to ret-con that as well. I doubt it though, I love all their work.

This treatment has been brought to you by my dismay over the film of said namesake. Other films that have spawned fan fiction from me for simply falling short of their potential are:
  1. Ninja Turtles
  2. Blade
Stay tuned.




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