Though their current struggle is getting Henry Cavill back in the cape, the task of seeing a Superman production through to completion – which they were unable to do for two decades – once proved to be an impossible task for Warner Bros.

Source: Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021), Warner Bros. Pictures

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Before Superman Returns in 2006, the closest they came to finishing a Man of Steel project was the J.J. Abrams-produced Superman Flyby a few years earlier. However, not so sadly (depending on whom you ask), after directing duties passed from Brett Ratner to producer/director McG, that troubled production didn’t materialize either

To that end, the latter figure has now given some more insight into his quick but tumultuous journey regarding the project and revealed that its failure had to do with budgetary concerns as well as a very basic, understandable human phobia.

Source: The CW

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“So I’m going to make the Superman movie and I’m getting ready to go, and they’re like, ‘We’re going to Australia, we’re going to Australia,’” McG told the The OC stars Rachel Bilson and Melinda Clarke on their aptly named YouTube series, Welcome to The OC, Bitches.

Related Report: J.J. Abrams Working On Multiple Justice League Dark Spinoffs For HBO Max

“I literally remember telling the bosses at WB at that time, ‘I can’t go to Australia. I’m afraid of flying, I can’t do it,’” he continued. “And it didn’t even register with them. They’re like, ‘You’re McG, you’ll be fine. You’re the boisterous, happy guy. You’re bouncing off the walls. You’ll be fine.’”

He added, “Anyway, the plane’s on the tarmac, the Warners private jet meant to take me to Australia, and I can’t get on. I get fired off of Superman, rightfully so; they’ve got to make the movie in Australia. They put Bryan Singer on the movie.”

Source: Superman Returns (2006), Warner Bros. Entertainment


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Obviously, there was more at play when it came to the fate of Superman: Flyby than just McG’s fear of commercial flight. Being very conscious of the film’s budget, Warner was also intent on getting tax breaks in the Outback to keep costs down (they’ve always been stingy that way).

While Singer did take over Superman after taking a break from the X-Men, he didn’t do so right away. Ratner was initially tapped to helm the Man of Steel again, but he wound up swapping jobs with Singer in order to instead sign on with Marvel to helm the ill-fated X-Men: The Last Stand.

Source: X-Men The Last Stand (2006), 20th Century Studios

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Warner would try one more time to get a DC movie – Justice League: Mortal – off the ground in Australia, but ultimately, this project also went nowhere.

Abrams’ script for Flyby is online for anyone who cares to read it, along with some of the concept art drawn by Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse director Peter Ramsey.

Related: Zack Snyder Weighs In On The Idea Of A Black Superman From JJ Abrams And Ta-Nehisi Coates

The scale of the production might have been worth seeing in living color on the big screen but most would agree they’d rather have Cavill playing the Man of Steel in more movies and go out on his own terms as opposed to any vision Abrams has for the IP.

Do you agree? Opine on social media or in the comments down below!

  • About The Author

    JB Augustine

    Writer, journalist, comic reader. I cover all things DC and Godzilla. Fan since Batman TAS was brand new. Favorite character is between Swamp Thing and Darkwing Duck.