Despite the announcement from Cannon Films that Superman V was in Pre-Production as early as 1988, the project’s failure to materialize due to the collapse of the Cannon Group meant their option had reverted back to the Salkinds.
Having received lukewarm reception to their SuperBoy TV series, the Salkinds were keen to return to past glories and finally get the Superman Motion Picture Series back on track. Though Ilya Salkind had produced an ambitious treatment during the series tenure (which he elaborates on in the DVD documentary ‘You Will Believe, The Cinematic Saga Of Superman’) the script and story were fleshed out by writers Cary Bates and Mark Jones (the former having written numerous episodes for the TV series)
With a first draft provisionally titled ‘Superman The New Movie‘ taking the saga back to its science-fiction roots (incorporating the City of Kandor and Brainiac as the villian) the project was intended to be the Salkinds next once they had completed Christopher Columbus: The Discovery. With buzz already circulating due to Alexander Salkind turning up to Europex courting investors (see third pic down) and rumours (confirmed by Salkind, Bates and Later Reeve himself) that the star was interested in returning (see second and last pic – translation; “He is perhaps going to be sent into the air for a 5th time – he is being sought to star in ‘Superman: The New Movie‘) and production slated for Universal Studios in Florida, things were slowly falling into place.
Tragically, however, by 1992 Warner Brothers were seeking to consolidate their ownership of the character and the Salkinds were ousted as WB eventually retained all rights. This meant that the third and final draft of the script (now entitled Superman Reborn – see top pic for script cover) would be shelved indefinitely while plans were made to have Superman return to the small screen.
Superman Reborn would remain a working title for script submissions & rewrites (most notably by Jonathan Lemkin) and would languish in development hell before its evolution to ‘Superman Lives‘ and the arrival of Tim Burton. But that’s a whole other story…
Download a PDF of the Jones/Bates script here