In 2002, JJ Abrams wrote a script which was supposed to be the first film in a trilogy of Superman movies. Aint It Cool once wrote that the script read “like it’ll cost $400 million” and involved sequences featuring “air combat between five superpowered Kryptonians and fighter jets from 24 nations. Kryptonite missiles. Ass-kickin’ on a level we’ve never seen before on film.” A post-Matrix film project where Superman flies through the air fighting a villain using super-powered martial arts.
Over 30 pages of superfights, more action than 20 of Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns. Superman dies but returns from the dead, and the mind-numbingly horrible reveal that Lex Luthor is actually a second son of Krypton, and also has superpowers. A disaster. Brett Ratner was attached to direct, but the project eventually fell into development hell.
Apparently the project got far enough into development that illustrator Phil Saunders was creating concept art for the project for four months. Recently Saunders released a random image from the failed project on his blog, showing Superman facing off against a Kryptonian Battle Pod called a Rouser in Gotham City (yes, Gotham City). Saunders explained that Production Designer Owen Patterson wanted a straight one-point perspective view “so you could compare scale.” Click on the image above to enlarge.
A while back, Yahoo posted a boat load of concept art from Jon Favreau’s Iron Man. Hidden in the piles of artwork is Phil Saunders concept art of War Machine. Forgive me if you’ve already seen this, but my initial google search shows that not many people noticed.
“These three images I did at the very end of production as alternate suit designs that would have been in a Hall of Armor coda at the end of the film,” writes Saunders. “I spent a lot of time on developing this [War Machine] suit, which was of course cut from the script about half way through pre-production. Originally it was going to be called the MK IV armor and would have been weaponized swap-out parts that would be worn over the original MK III armor. Earlier versions were red and gold, and would have been worn by Tony Stark in the final battle sequence.”
But before you get too excited, Saunders warns that “if there is a War Machine in [Iron Man 2], it’s unlikely to be this one.”
You can also check out the other two concepts Saunders created above. One is an attempt at “suggesting ‘stealth’ technology in the surface treatment of the suit” and was “ultimately abandoned as not being classic enough.” The other is an underwater suit which Avi Arad asked for, but was never featured in the film. Saunders explains that “Toy licensing is such a large part of the revenue from these films, there was a lot of pressure to use as many variations on the suit as possible in the film, all budgetary considerations notwithstanding. Needless to say, the underwater suit never saw the light of day, but in homage to Avi, I drew this one up as a possible addition to the hall of armor.”
Thanks to /Film reader Gusmer M for the tip.