Storyboard Art From J.J. Abrams’ Canceled Superman Movie Released After 17 Years

"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" co-director Peter Ramsey showed a never-before-seen look at the lost 2002 superhero movie.
JJ Abrams
J.J. Abrams
Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock

Long before winning the Best Animated Feature Oscar for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” director Peter Ramsey made a name for himself in Hollywood as a storyboard artist on blockbusters like “Independence Day,” “Men In Black,” “Godzilla,” and “Minority Report.”

One project Ramsey worked on that never saw the light of day was “Superman: Flyby,” one of many failed attempts to bring the DC Comics superhero back to the big screen at the turn of the century. Ramsey recently gave comic book fans a rare look at the axed “Flyby” by sharing some storyboard art on social media (see post below).

“Flyby” was scripted by none other than J.J. Abrams, a rising name in television at the time thanks to hit series like “Felicity” and “Alias.” Abrams had yet to make much of a dent in the film world, and his film credits included the scripts for low level hits like “Regarding Henry,” “The Pallbearer,” and “Joy Ride.”

Abrams’ “Flyby” script was an origin story centered around a Krypton civil war between Superman’s father, Jor-El, and uncle, Kata-Zor. Superman is sent to Earth and the story covers a lot of familiar ground: He’s adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent and falls in love with Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane, who is investigating a government agent named Lex Luthor.

Abrams finished the “Superman: Flyby” script in 2002 and Brett Ratner was hired to direct the project after helming “Rush Hour” and “The Family Man.” Filming was expected to begin in late 2003 and original movie Superman Christopher Reeve even joined the project as a consultant. Actors eyed for the Superman role included Matt Bomer, Brendan Fraser, Jude Law, and Paul Walker. The project eventually went through drastic script rewrites and ultimately became “Superman Returns,” directed by Bryan Singer.

For the last several years, Superman has been played by Henry Cavill in DCEU movies “Man of Steel,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” and “Justice League.” Amy Adams has played Lois Lane in the most recent Superman movies, a bit of a nice touch since she was considered for the same part for “Superman: Flyby” alongside Abrams’ “Felicity” star Keri Russell.

Check out never-before-seen starboard art from “Superman: Flyby” in Ramsey’s post below.

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