It’s well known that before Richard Donner and Tom Mankiewicz reworked the first “Superman” script, the film was much more campy. “The script I read was like 400 pages that were ridiculous,” Donner told IGN. Donner and producers Alexander and Ilya Salkinds had different visions for the “Superman” films, and during the filming of “Superman II,” tensions between the two sides reached a fever pitch, and Donner was ultimately fired.
Donner was disappointed that he wasn’t able to finish “Superman II,” but it was more than that. The filmmaker claimed his biggest regret was not being able to finish the “Superman” series. “Tom Mankiewicz and I had plans for about three more films,” he told IGN. “I really had hopes to stay on and just do these films.” One of his visions involved having Brainiac as one of the villains in “Superman III.” “Tom and I had some really great thoughts,” Donner told Retro Fan in an interview published by 13th Dimension. “What we were going to do was, we would write the next one [II] and I would direct that, and we’d do the third one and Tom would direct that. And so on, for as long as it lasted.”
We can’t help but wonder what “Superman III” would’ve looked like if Donner had directed it, and whether a creepy scene like the cyber woman transformation would’ve been omitted, after all.