Most fans know that Bryan Singer was working on a sequel — known as Superman: Man of Steel — to his relaunch film, Superman Returns (2006), before Warner Bros. decided to… go in another direction. What few people know is just how far Singer got: He had the plot worked out, Brainiac was going to be his Big Bad — and there was actually a visual for ol’ Brainy.
ComicBookMovie.com uncovered some preproduction art by Michael Anthony Jackson that shows us what Brainiac would have looked like:
Yeah, not too overly original — a bit of Mars Attacks! alien, a pinch of the comic book’s look and a splash of Darth Vader.
Screenrant.com helpfully provides a breakdown of the film’s would-be plot:
- Singer’s The Man of Steel takes place several years after Superman Returns, when people are used to having Supes back.
- New Krypton, Lex Luthor’s growing island that Superman tossed into space, has grown into a spherical moon that the people of Earth can see.
- The new moon attracts attention of alien visitors however, and a big alien ship arrives.
- Superman flies up to check out the ship. It carries another Kryptonian survivor. Party time.
- Clark takes his newfound friend on a tour of Earth but this other Kryptonian is puzzled as to why Superman hasn’t used his powers to fix the world of its problems (hunger, war, etc.).
- Superman explains the rule of not interfering with development of Earth.
- The visitor disagrees and aims to use his powers to “fix” the world with his first mission being to intervene in a feud between two third world countries. War breaks out but the Kryptonian takes things into his own hands and ends it quickly by annihilating their armies.
- For his second opening act, the new alien visitor lays down rules for the entire world, saying that there will be no more wars or he will deal with the aggressor country.
- The big modern societies of the world are in favor of this, applauding the new “hero” who is now willing to share advanced tech and use his powers to end the world’s other problems. Those who disagree feel the wrath.
- As a result, Earth’s familiar Kryptonian, Superman, has been an outcast since he didn’t do this earlier and kept advanced technology from them.
- Suspicious of the other Kryptonian, Supes examines the ship to find it loaded with clones of his new friend.
- Using the ship’s computers, he find out this other Kryptonian and clones are actually an artificial intelligence, which has grown on its own since Krypton has destroyed. Its/His name: Brainiac.
- Over the years since Kryptonian’s explosive end, Brainiac has travelled from world to world, “fixing” them and then destroying them — and Earth is his new target. It was Brainiac who actually destroyed Krypton.
- Superman tries to let the world’s leaders know and ends up battling Brainiac, who can continue to resurrect into other clone bodies in stasis.
- Eventually, the Man of Steel takes down the ship but Brainiac transfers his consciousness into Superman’s kid.
So… Should Superman kill his son and save the world, or spare the child and doom the Earth? That would have been Superman’s climactic decision.
Does this sound better than what we got in Zack Snyder‘s Man of Steel?