Monday, March 5, 2018

Cancelled Superhero Films 7 - Green Arrow: Escape From Super Max


Writers David Goyer and Justin Marks prepared a script for a Green Arrow that was later titled Green Arrow: Escape from Super Max. on June 5, 2008. Although this would be the first ever Green Arrow big screen adaptation, the film is not an origin story and plays out almost like a sequel to an unmade film.

The Story

In case you are unfamiliar with the Green Arrow, he is a teen billionaire playboy named Oliver Queen who gets stranded on a desert island. There, he learns how to survive on his own and becomes particularly skilled with a bow and arrow. A few years later, a pirate ship stops at the beach. Oliver overpowers the pirates and takes the ship back to civilization. Once back at his hometown of Star City, Oliver decides to use his skills for good and becomes the hooded vigilante, Green Arrow. He manages to capture countless super villains who are then kept locked up at Supermax, a prison for Metahumans.

The story begins with a grand dinner organized by Will Hacket, Oliver's lawyer and best friend to honour all of Oliver's philanthropy. His corporate organization is compared to a modern day Robin Hood and his Merry Men who battle the corrupt who prey on the poor in the city. Oliver learns from the device he uses to bug the police radio that there has been an  attack on Colonel Talib Calley. This is the man responsible for the controversial Check Me Initiative which is trying to get rid of masked vigilantes in the United States like Green Arrow who take the law into their own hands.

Oliver leaves the party and rushes to Calley's office and finds him already dead. The police arrive and arrest Oliver after suspecting him of killing the Colonel. The people of Star City are infuriated since they love both Green Arrow and Oliver Queen for the good they have done for the poor and the middle-class. However, the rich and the police hate him and the justice system imprisons him.

Since Oliver is not like any other prisoner, he is transferred to Supermax, which is the home of many super villains who are in there because of Green Arrow. The warden, Amanda Waller implants all the prisoners with a device that will weaken them if they disobey her in any way. The prisoners in green suits are normal human beings with unique skills, the ones in blue are super geniuses high on drugs to keep them high, and the ones in orange are Metahumans with superpowers. Due to some misbehaviour, Oliver is thrown into solitary confinement that almost breaks him. However, it is here that he gets to know Hartley Rathaway, also knows as the Pied Piper, who has the ability to control all living creatures using high sonic frequencies. They become friends by communicating through ants.

Oliver starts to befriend some of his fellow inmates and realizes that they are not purely evil but are forced to break the law to survive. Oliver begins to see that the US government is abusive towards Metahumans and Supermax breaks several civil rights through the way Waller and her guards treat the inmates. With Hartley's help, Oliver begins to recruit the inmates he befriends and they hatch a plan to break out of the prison.

Through much hardship, Oliver manages to lock Waller and her surviving guards up before escaping. However, he and his new friends accidentally destroy Supermax's security system, allowing each and every one of its inmates to escape. The film ends with Oliver questioning his morals since he has become responsible for much destruction that will take place around the world henceforth.


As you can see from the summary, it is not possible that this script will be ever made since it is very similar to Suicide Squad, which is also a film about many super villains. Nevertheless, an article by The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that the film is still in development even though it was not featured in the line up of the DCEU's future projects. However, rumour has it that Warner Brothers executives are interested in a ia separate Green Arrow origin story, although this is yet to be confirmed.

Cancelled Superhero Films 6 - Batman vs. Superman: Asylum


The idea of a film featuring two of the most iconic superheroes in comic history first started when the writer of Se7en, Andrew Kevin Walker wrote a screenplay that was so dark, Warner Brothers executives brought in the writer of The Fifth Wave and The Dark Tower, Akiva Goldsman to rewrite the script. German director Wolfgang Petersen was roped in to direct the film. Some reports state that this film would be a continuation of the Tim Burton Batman films while ignoring Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, which is strange considering Goldsman wrote those two films. Before playing Batman in the Nolan trilogy, Christian Bale was said to have been approached to play Batman in this film. Jude Law was also rumoured to have been offered the role of Superman.

The Story

In this film, both Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne have been friends for quite some time and they are undergoing a midlife crisis of some sort. The film opens with Clark Kent in Metropolis still working at the Daily Planet. He is divorced from Lois Lane who can no longer cope with being married to the most strongest man on the planet. Clark is now in a troubled relationship with his childhood sweetheart from Smallville, Lana Lang. Clark pushes all his friends away and instead releases his anger by hunting for criminals whenever he is not working.

Meanwhile in Gotham, things are not going well for Bruce Wayne either. Bruce has retired as Batman for almost five years now. All those close to him - Alfred, Dick Greyson, Commisioner Gordan and even his favourite nemesis, The Joker have all died. The only reason his life is not completely empty is because he is engaged to the beautiful Elizabeth Miller and they make a perfect couple. Even Barbara Gordon thinks they are so perfect for each other that something is just not right.

On the wedding day, Clark is Bruce's best man. He tells Bruce that his divorce has been finalized. Bruce then explains that he stopped being Batman because he is still traumatized by his Robin's death and he is afraid he might start killing the criminals if he continues being a vigilante. The wedding is a success and the newly married couple leave Gotham for their honeymoon. During this time, Elizabeth is stung by a bee carying a mysterioys Joker toxin that ultimately kills her. This inspires Bruce to beccome Batman again. Clark tries to convince Bruce to take it slow but in vain.

While investigating the crime, Bruce comes across a gang of thugs and almost beats them up to the death. He only lets them live so they can spread the word that Batman is back. Batman eventually comes across two other criminals named Jeeves 1 and Jeeves 2. As he is about to attack them, the Joker appears, revealing that he has been alive all along. While Bruce is still in shock, Jeeves 1 and 2 beat him up and overpower him. Batman barely makes it out alive and escapes.

Meanwhile, Clark is off doing his own investigating and this leads him to question Lex Luthor, who is in prison. Lex reveals that he has know for a while now that Batman is actually Bruce. Since he cannot kill Superman while in prison, he has arranged for Batman and Superman to destroy each other. Before being imrprisoned, he had arranged for the Joker's DNA to be turned into clones that would kill Bruce's wife when the time comes. Knowing that this would lead Batman to kill, Superman will have to intervene and this will lead to both their destruction.

Later that night, Bruce finds a a trail that leads him to the Joker. Knowing that Clark would come to stop him, Bruce dons a new Krytonite-laced armour suit and goes to kill the Joker. Just as expected, Clark shows up to stop him but is subdued by the Kryptonite. Bruce eventually impales Clark with a Kryptonite arrow, rendering him weak. As Bruce is about to kill the Joker, the villain reveals that Elizabeth Miller is actually a clone he created with Lex's help in the image of Bruce's perfect woman. That way, once he has killed her, he can finally break Batman and make him kill.

Realizing he has been manipulated, Bruce is now heartbroken and lets the Joker kill him. Before the Joker can take his shot, Superman manages to throw a brick at him while releasing himself from the Kryptonite arrow. Jeeves 1 and 2, who are actually metahumans, attack Batman and Superman. The two friends make up and defeat the two henchmen together. Batman then decides not to kill the Joker and instead hands him over to the Gotham police.

Still, this is not yet the end. Lex Luthor has escaped from prison and sneaked into Batman's new armour. Bruce helps Clark fight Lex and they eventually strip the armour off him. However, Lex manages to escape and is nowhere to be found.


The reason this film was never made is so fascinating there is an entire chapter dedicated to it in a popular book about the most popular scripts never filmed. Warner Brothers president Alan Horn was torn between making this film or saving both superheroes for their own separate films. He then showed this script and the script for JJ Abrams Superman: Flyby to all ten Warner Brothers executives. Nine of them preferred JJ Abrams' work except the vice president Lorenzo di Bonaventura who really liked the Batman vs. Superman idea. He was willing to make a solo Superman film after this film was made, but JJ Abrams disagreed and the two were always going against each other in meetings. Horn eventually went with JJ Abrams' idea and not too long after that, Lorenzo left the company. 

Cancelled Superhero Films 2 - Tim Burton's Superman Lives


This script was initially referred to as Superman Reborn script, and it was written by Wesley Strick and Dan Gilroy. This script features Brainiac, Lex Luthor and Doomsday as villains. Then, writer Kevin Smith was brought in to make some major rewrites. Smith's casting choices included Ben Affleck as Clark Kent/Superman, Linda Fiorentino as Lois Lane, Jack Nicholson as Lex Luthor, Famke Janssen as Mercy, John Mahoney as Perry White, Jason Lee as Brainiac and Jason Mewes as Jimmy Olsen. Following his success with the Michael Keaton Batman films, Tim Burton was asked to direct and Kevin Smith was made to leave the project. In the end, Nicolas Cage was confirmed to play Superman. Other actors approached include a pre-Superman Returns Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor, Tim Allen or Jim Carrey as Brainiac, Courteney Cox as Lois Lane, Chris Rock as Jimmy Olsen  and Michael Keaton in an unspecified role.

The Story

The story opens in Krypton on the verge of destruction caused by the artificial intelligence, Brainiac. Jor-El and Lara decide to stay back to fight Braniac, but not before sending their son Kal-El away to Earth. As they are preparing the rocket, Braniac attacks the House of El. Jor-El manages to launch the rocket just before Braniac kills him and Lara. Braniac vows to hunt down the child and kill him.

Many years later in modern day Metropolis, the now-adult Kal-El lives a double life as the nerdy Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent and as the superhero Superman. Although he successfully fights crime in the city, he is also going through depression as he can no longer cope with the pressures of keeping the world safe and maintaining a stable personal life. He visits a psychoanalyst to discuss his issues.  At the same time, Clark learns that Lex Luthor might have uncovered his secret identity and will expose it to the public. Later that evening, he meets Lois Lane at the Daily Planet building and starts to contemplate revealing his secret to her before she finds out about it from Lex.

Meanwhile, Brainiac arrives on Earth and befriends Luthor, where the two hatch a plan to destroy Superman. They merge into a single cyborg entity, "Lexiac" and create the creature Doomsday to attack Superman. An epic battle ensues and both Superman is left in a lifeless state while Doomsday dies. Superman's body is transported to the Fortress of Solitude. The body is revived, albeit powerless, by a mysterious Kryptonian force known only as "K". K then accompanies Clark back to Metropolis. On their journey, K teacher Clark how to overcome his depression and life his life. 

During this time, Lexiac plans to destroy Earth just as Braniac did to Krypton. He starts to assemble nuclear warheads to be detonated at the largest cities around the world. At the same time, he tries to seduce Lois to join him but fails. When Clark finally returns to Metropolis, K reveals that he is actually the last surviving essence of life of his Kryptonian parents. K sacrifices himself by restoring Clark's powers. Clark goes to meet Lois, where he reveals his secret to her and gets her to help him defeat Lexiac. With her help, Clark destroys the "Brainiac" element just before the nuclear warheads are unleashed The story ends with Lois in Superman's arms, where she reveals that she is pregnant with his child.


Due to the film's increasing budget, it was put on hold in April 1998. Burton then left to direct Sleepy Hollow. The studio starting considering reverting the title from Superman Lives back to Superman Reborn. At this point in production, $30 million of the $190 budget was already spent on production. After Cage left the project in 2000, Warner Brothers offered the project to other directors, including Michael Bay with even Will Smith considered to play Superman. Burton has gone on record by stating that his experience working on Superman Lives was  one of the worst in his life. Eventually, the entire project was scraped and production was shifted towards producing Superman Returns. A documentary was made on the pre-production of this film and why it was never made.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Cancelled Superhero Films 1 - JJ Abrams' Superman: Flyby


Casting was close to completion with reliable reports stating that Anthony Hopkins would play and a pre-Iron Man Robert Downey Jr. cast as Lex Luthor. Downey would basically play an evil Tony Stark, what with Luthor written as an evil genius billionaire. A teenage Shia LaBeouf would play Jimmy Olsen while Lois Lane would be played by either Selma Blair or Scarlett Johansson. Before the creation of the Snyder DCEU, a 20 year old Henry Cavil was screen tested for the Superman role in this film. Other actors considered for the role include Jared Padalecki, Ashton Kutcher, Michael Cassidy and Jason Behr. However, the Warner Brothers executives really wanted Justin Timberlake or Josh Harrnett for the role. Meanwhile, producer Brett Ratner wanted Matt Bomer as the Man of Steel.

The Story

Just like Zack Snyder's Man of Steel, Flyby starts off in Krypton, which is home of Jor-El who is seen as a king by his people. Unlike the 2013 film, however, all the scenes on Krypton were to be spoken in Kryptonian, which will actually be developed with subtitles provided. We are also introduced to minor Kryptonian characters like Predius, who Abrams promised we will get to know more in the next films in this planned franchise. In this script, the planet is not fully destroyed, although a major part of it has been destroyed after it was bombed by Kal-El's uncle, Kata-Zor. Kal-El is sent to earth a found by the Kents on their farm in Smallville.

There is a musical montage showing how the Kents raise Clark to hide his abilities in order to protect him. However, a grown up Clark decides to embrace his superpowers and take up the Superman persona to protect Earth. Years later, Kata-Zor is still searching for his nephew and sends Ty-Zor, a soldier in a Kryptonian pod to Earth to track him down.

Lex Luthor, who is an extraterrestrial enthusiast in this film, finds the pod with its passenger inside dying. The side effects of this encounter makes Lex super intelligent but also bald.  He quickly becomes the successful billionaire we know by establishing LexCorp and he decides to run for President.Suspicious at his quick rise to power and fame, Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane decides to investigate him after learning he is experimenting with alien technology at LexCorp's laboratory.

Eventually, one of Lex's experiments cause Air Force One to almost crash into Metropolis. Fortunately, Clark saves the day as Superman. Lex meets with Superman and tries to get him to join his side, but Clark turns down his offer. As a result, Lex unleashes Ty-Zor into Metropolis and it is up to Clark to save his city and the world. At some point, Superman dies but is quickly reborn. After saving the city, Superman boards the craft he arrived in to fly off to Krypton and find out more about his background.


In the end, this script was never filmed because its ' first draft would have been too expensive to film at the point. Even the second draft would have been impossible budget-wise. However, certain elements of this script did make its way into Superman Returns, like the plane rescue scene. Ultimately, Flyby's script was a more self-contained film that did not set out to start a DC cinematic universe.

Cancelled Superhero Films 5 - Joss Whedon's 2006 Wonder Woman Film


Who knew over a decade later, Joss Whedon would finally get his hands on Wonder Woman after the first film was cancelled. It is no secret that following his success in television with shows like Firefly, Serenity and Buffy, he really wanted to make a superhero film for the big screen. He reportedly received between two to three million dollars to write a script and direct the film However, Warner Brothers executives were unimpressed with his story and Whedon left to join Marvel instead, where he would go on to make the two Avengers films. Famous actresses like Kate Beckinsale and Angelina Jolie were linked to the titular role, but Whedon really wanted Cobie Smulders of How I Met Your Mother fame for the part. He would eventually cast her as Maria Hill in his Marvel films. 

The Story

The biggest difference this script has from the 2017 version that was successfully made is in this version, Diana Prince would not have been the main character. It would have been Steve Trevor. Also, the film is not set during World War 2, but the early 21st century. The film starts with his fighter jet crashing into Themyscira and he meets Diana and the rest of the Amazonian women.

Initially, Diana and Hippolyte battle it out on whether they should let Steve live or not. Hippolyte wins but Diana's passion for wanting to see and help from the world of men convinces Hippolyte change her mind. Diana leaves her island with Steve and their arrive in Gateway City, a place ridden with crime and corruption. Once there, she crosses path with a criminal who she tries to stop. Instead, she is shot point blank. This leads her to hate firearms and she decides to stay in the city to end the injustice that is running rampant.

Diana eventually learns that most of the problems in the city comes from Strife, one of the most powerful men in the city, who in this version is a man even thought he was originally a woman in the comics. Strife has arranged for corrupt officials in the city to build a giant mechanical three-headed bird, Khimaera but nobody is sure what for. Diana confronts Strife but losses her first battle with him when he holds Steve hostage and demands her superhuman powers in return for Steve's release. Diana accepts and she is stripped off her Metahuman abilities. She contacts Hippolyte, who reminds her that her powers come from within and she successfully regains her abilities.

Meanwhile, the Amazonians have repaired Steve's crashed jet and upgraded it into the Invisible Jet which they send to Diana. As Diana rushes to destroy Strife, he has completed Khimaera. Through much hardship and Steve's help, Diana successfully defeats Strife and Khimaera. Before he dies, Strife warns her that her actions have angered his father Ares, the god of war. At the end of the movie, Diana and Steve share a kiss, living happily ever after.


Like many cancelled films, the script can now be read online. The script was not well-received by fans who did not like the idea of Steve Trevor being the lead rather than Wonder Woman herself. Although Whedon has a reputation for writing strong female characters like Buffy, certain dialogues in this scrpit were criticized for being sexist. Also, considering how successful Petty Jenkins' 2017 Wonder Woman is among critics and audiences alike, most fans are thankful this version was never made. It is safe to say that for once, the studio executives got it right. 

Cancelled Superhero Films 4 - George Miller's Justice League: Mortal


Mad Max: Fury Road director, George Miller, was supposed to direct a Justice League movie back in 2008. Titled Justice League: Mortal, everything was in place for filming to take place in Australia. A full script that is now available online was written by Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows writers Michele and Kiernan Mulroney. The ensemble cast was also confirmed consisting of Armie Hammer (Batman), DJ Cotrona (Superman) Adam Brody (The Flash), Megan Gale (Wonder Woman), Hugh Keays-Byrne (Martian Manhunter), Common (Green Lantern), Santiago Cabrera (Aquaman), Jay Baruchel (Maxwell Lord), Teresa Palmer (Talia al Ghul) and Zoe Kasan (Iris Allen).

The Story

The film opens with the funeral of a superhero but we are not told who this hero is. 2 days earlier, we are shown how all the members of the Justice League are respected by the international community. Diana Prince, Wonder Woman, serves as the public voice of the Metahuman community is shown addressing the United Nations where she speaks of how the world is now peaceful. Bruce Wayne is watching the television broadcast and Alfred comments on how crime in Gotham is at its lowest.

Then, we cut to Martian Manhunter who is being attacked. His fellow Justice League members come to his rescue, but they are all compromised by their own weaknesses. After their defeat, they go investigate how it was that their attackers know so much about them.

It is then revealed that Bruce had built a backup arsenal to destroy his Metahuman friends should they ever get out of line. Two years ago, Bruce had an affair with Talia al Ghul. She managed to slip a tracking device into his clothes while she spends the night at the Wayne Mansion. The Justice League have a small fight, but they eventually agree that in order to find their attacker, they need to work as a team.

Using his detective skills, Bruce learns that the psychic billionaire, Maxwell Lord has managed to hack the Batcave computer system and is now going after the Justice League. Maxwell Lord wants revenge on the world for horrible experiments done to him as a child as part of the OMAC Project. When Maxwell learns that the Justice League is coming after him, he sends OMAC droids with civilians in them to defend him.

When Clark is close enough to his lair, Maxwell uses his powers to control Superman's mind, making him turn on his own friends. Bruce, with help from Alfred, manages to switch off the droids while Diana succeeds in getting Clark back to his senses with her lasso. Barry Allen sacrifices himself to get rid of Maxwell Lord who has become a cybernetic doomsday device by basically running so fast he merges with the Speed Force and sucks the giant OMAC into oblivion with him.

Cut to two days later, the funeral the heroes were attending was for The Flash. Wally West, Barry's nephew then takes up his uncle's place as the new Flash.


The film did not come into fruition mainly because of the infamous writer's strike that was happening at the time. There was also an issue with tax rebates in Australia, where film sets, props and costumes were all almost ready. Warner Brothers also felt it would have been too confusing for audiences with multiple versions of their most loved superheroes existing at the same time. Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy was entering its second entry, which will go on to be its most successful one. A Superman Returns sequel was already confirmed alongside Smallville being a huge success on the small screen.

Cancelled Superhero Films 3 - Bryan Singer's Superman Returns Sequel


Superman Returns did fairly well among critics and the audience but not good enough to keep the Warner Brothers executives happy. They felt the film was tried to hard to bring in new female audiences with more romance and ignored the young male crowd with less action. At the same time, director Bryan Singer was getting busy to direct the Tom Cruise film Valkyrie. Apart from that, the contract for actor Brandon Routh who plays Clark Kent ended in 2009. Additionally, the writer’s strike delayed the film's confirmation and the studio eventually decided to reboot the entire franchise.

The story:

The story starts a few years following the events of Superman Returns with Clark keeping Metropolis and the world at large safe while Lois is raising their son, Jason. By now, the crystals Lex Luthor stole from the Fortress of Solitude in the previous film and launched into space has grown into a second moon for Earth. This leads a visitor from a faraway galaxy to come to Metropolis in a massive spaceship. He introduces himself as another Kryptonian survivor who has been in search for others like him and detected the presence of the new moon, which led him to Earth. Clark is initially happy to have someone he can relate to and takes his new friend around the planet on a tour.

Clark and the new Kryptonian start to have disagreements. Clark has always maintained that he should not be involved in politics and instead remain a protector of the innocent. The new Kryptonian believes that with their powers, they should interfere in things. He immediately gets involved in a conflict between two third world countries and ends a potential war that could have killed countless people. He then public declares Earth a war-free planet and that he will not allow any kind of deadly conflict to take place. In return for the support of the world's most powerful countries, he is prepared to share his Kryptonian technology to help human advancement.

While a majority of the world start to support the new Kryptonian, they also begin to resent Superman for not sharing his planet's technology with them which could have solved many problems. As the new Kryptonian's fame grows, Clark begins to grow suspicious of his intentions. He sneaks into the alien's spaceship and finds thousands of the new Kryptonian's clones in stasis. He also learns that this alien is not exactly a Kryptonian but an artificial intelligence from Krypton named Braniac, who was responsible for Krypton's destruction.

Before Clark can warn the world leaders of their new ally, he is confronted by Braniac and a deadly battle ensues. Clark manages to defeat Braniac but not before the latter uploads his conscience into his spaceship's main computer. Clark quickly realizes that Braniac will be able to download himself into anyone of his clones to lengthen his life and he destroys all the clones. Right before Clark destroys the spaceship, Braniac's computer completes a local search for another Kryptonian vessel that he can inhabit and locks down on Clark. Clark easily destroys the computer on the spaceship before it can take over his body.

However, this was all merely a distraction for Braniac had already downloaded himself into another Kryptonian's body - Clark's son, Jason. Braniac possesses Jason's body, causing him to age and grow into a full adult Kryptonian. An epic battle takes place between Metroplis and Braniac/Jason. Braniac is still getting used to his new body but Clark is careful to not to do any permanent damage to his son's body. In the end, Superman has to sacrifice his own son to save humanity...


It is easy to see how dark and bleak this film would have been. Many have complained how overly grim Zack Snyder's DCEU is, starting when Clark snaps Zod's neck in the climax of Man of Steel (2013). In this version, Clark killed his own son, a character that we were all already familiar with from the last film. No idea how this would have gone down with audiences.