Reconstructed using archival film and sound elements long thought to be extinct, this special cut of Superman II
pieces together unseen footage shot by Richard Donner in order to present the most comprehensive version of what was to be the original cut of the blockbuster sequel. As initially planned, the first two films were to be filmed back-to-back using the same sets and actors to save on production costs. However, with a budget escalating out of control and Warner Bros. breathing down the producers' necks, the decision was made to drop any further filming on the sequel in order to finish the first movie and usher it into theaters. Of course, the first Superman
was a wild success, so then it was just a matter of ramping up production again, though this time, Donner was not asked back. Instead, producers went with Richard Lester
, who had served them well with his Three Musketeers
films. Decisions were made to drop most of the key scenes that were already in the can, including all of the footage featuring Marlon Brando
as Jor-El, the Man of Steel's father. After completion, the sequel found much success in theatrical and home-video box-office returns, though that didn't stop die-hard fans from speculating what Donner's cut would have looked like. Once the Internet was spawned, Warner Bros. saw interest grow more and more for this alternate version, even prompting the company to send cease and desist letters to individuals who had posted a re-edit of the film using deleted footage taken from an alternate TV version from the U.K. With the release of Superman Returns
, the company saw this as a chance to finally deliver what people had wanted for years and enlisted Michael Thau
to oversee the restoration process. Under the tutelage of Donner's notes, scripts, storyboards, and the director himself, the new version was delivered to home audiences in 2006, thereby not only giving people a look into what could have been, but giving a director an unprecedented chance to realize a vision long thought lost in the annals of movie history.