Bryan Singer’s Unused Superman Movie Doomsday Design

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 4th, 2013 at 4:11 am,

Bryan Singer didn’t get a second chance at making another Superman movie after Superman Returns failed to re-launch the franchise for Warner Bros. and DC, but he did have plenty of ideas that went unused. One of these ideas may have been for the villain Doomsday, arguably the most dangerous of Superman’s foes, to appear in Superman Returns or its never-meant-to-be sequel.

Fortunately for us moviegoers and fans, some of those ideas at least made their way to paper as conceptual art and special effects artist Steve Johnson was kind enough to share some of his own art that he dubbed as “Bryan Singer Superman Concepts.”

The artwork depicts several different designs for Kal-El’s earthly superhero costume and the most interesting of all, a few sketches of what Johnson confirmed is what may have become a live-action version of Doomsday. Two of the images are labelled as “Flyby,” referring to the film Superman: Flyby which never made it out of early development. It was based on a J.J. Abrams script where Krypton still exists and Lex Luthor is a UFO-crazed government agent. Brett Ratner was supposed to direct for a 2004 release.

Take a look at Johnson’s artwork below to see what might have been:


I don’t mind certain aspects of some of the costume designs here but I can’t say I dig the built-in belt, if you could even call it that. I understand the objective of streamlining and smoothening out the aesthetic and feel of the Superman costume and it certainly needs some sort of utility belt to break up the solid blue tights, but the gold/yellow orb-looking things don’t look right. My top pick goes to the one that comes with a cityscape background drawn in.

Had they gone with any of these designs for Brandon Routh’s outfit, fans would have been even more upset about the costume changes than they already were with the smaller logo on his (I had no problems with his costume).

As for Doomsday, I think it looks cool, but it’s just a sketch. The CGI effects would be the make-or-break on how they pulled off a live-action Doomsday and made the action sequences with him look believable. Either way, these didn’t come to be and now Zack Snyder is charged with giving the Superman movie franchise new life. I look forward to his visual style and ideas for bringing back Clark Kent to the silver screen.

Share your thoughts in the comments and with us on Twitter @rob_keyes and @screenrant.

Source: Steve Johnson (via Superman Homepage)

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  1. Let me rephrase that. How is Synder a respected FILM MAKER exactly.

  2. thats suposed to be Doomsday? I SAY NAY!

  3. Yeah Doomsday looks like a turtle. Kevin Spacey was my favorite Lex Luthor. And even if Man of Steel isn’t as good as we’re all hopping it’s going to be, I still Like Zack Snyder’s movies. He had help from Chris Nolan, let us hope that he uses it well. Lastly, yeah it was weird that Superman had a kid with Lois Lane but they did get it on in a previous film didn’t they? So why not have a kid that may or maynot be his. As Little Monster said, have the kid turn into Bizzaro and then I say have him come back and fight Superman. I know sounds weird but it could happen.

    • Superman and Lois got it on in Superman 2. I don’t know if there is any protetion from what Superman’s super sperm. I can’t remember what comedian had a bit about it, but I can’t imagine any Earth contraceptive strong enough for the Kryptonian goods.

      • Yeah cause it isnt like he didnt give up his power before that or nothing.

        • touche

      • It was Brodie Bruce in Mallrats played by Jason Lee. And to conclude his thought he believed it was Wonder Woman that is the only one to be able to carry Superman’s kid!!

        • cantizzle: “Superman and Lois got it on in Superman 2. I don’t know if there is any protection from what Superman’s super sperm. I can’t remember what comedian had a bit about it, but I can’t imagine any Earth contraceptive strong enough for the Kryptonian goods.”

          Ford Prefect: “It was Brodie Bruce in Mallrats played by Jason Lee. And to conclude his thought he believed it was Wonder Woman that is the only one to be able to carry Superman’s kid!!”

          Science fiction writer Larry Niven approached the subject Cantizzle (& Brodie) raised in “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex”:

          BTW, this is where the idea (that I referred to earlier) of a Superman/Kara hookup came from.

  4. Yea. This simply confirms we don’t need those stupid red underpants for supes. Seriously we don’t get that in batman films (for the better!) and we DON’T need them in superman films. It looks ridiculous.

  5. The Clark-Doomsday encounter was perhaps the only major down point of Smallville’s 8th season. It just a shame that the latter stages of that season didn’t have the epic ambition of the 9th season. The writers clearly atoned with the Clark – Zod battle.

    They obviously had a much lesser budget for season 8 which created an instant problem especially when you are taking on doing Doomsday.

    I just wish now Singer didn’t go anywhere near Superman Returns. Once it went into Superman’s son and the man of steel being taken to hospital (think about that for a second) it became borderline laughable.

    I’ve said many times that Peter Jackson or Steven Speilberg should’ve been chose as they are far more visionary directors capable of giving both a great story and spectacle.

    Although I’m still against the choice of Synder, at least we should get a higher action quota and more of Superman doing super things instead of standing aroung staring blankly at Lois Lane’s house for half the film

    • I agree. Snyder at least shows some respect for the original source material.

      Singer and Fox Abattoirs completely ignore the source material and arrogantly introduce their own convoluted ill conceived ideas ruining the movie and true essence of the character.

      • While I agree Singer butchured XMen completely, the concept just missed the point entirely, I think he did a decent Job with SR. It wasnt the bombastic action fest people were expecting, it was thoughtful and full of introspection, and very well acted. It showed how Superman really fits into our world, without forgetting to show Superman as a proper character in his own right.
        The only down point was Bosworth’s Lois.

      • yeah unfortunately singer was a little too faithful to the donner movies though.

  6. why is it that every picture above has a partial belt? it looks really silly to me, particularly the first one looks like a Versace dress with the holes cut out around the midsection. Does Supes need easy access to his belly button?

    “hey Supes – you got a little lint… right… there”

    • It’s almost as if they absolutely have to tinker with it, just for the sake of it.

  7. Question about about Superman’s Kid in film. What i didn’t get was he had powers but yet in Superman 2 before Clark & Lois’s little sleep-together in the fortress of solitude, Superman gave up his powers to be human. Sure the kid is blood of Superman, but he is of lois’s aswell. Anyway, as i said before despite how Superman Returns turned out, i believed sequels could of still followed – Singer or whoever put in some physical threat villains since General Zod was the previous one.

  8. Sh*tty

    Belt = Fire Island

    Collar/cape thing = poo

  9. I understand that concept art by necessarily going to meet the final product, but sometimes we need to remember the phrase “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”

    The cape, the belt, the sleeves (my goodness, the pointy cuffs on the sleeves) are all highly unnecessary

  10. Pictures of Doomsday looks like a wider built & facial impression of the Predator. I can’t see any of those costumes be used unless there was a death/return of Superman trilogy or somthing. 3rd picture looks more like what the Eradicator would look like maybe.

  11. @Wally West

    Exactly right on Superman’s kid – what happens to his abilites as he gets older?? Will he be less powerful as he’s half human/kryptonian? will this be the beginning of the kryptoninan race on earth once he has children and grandchildren etc?? Maybe CW can start a family show ‘Keeping Up With The Kryptonians.

    If Superman was fond unconscious, surely he would be taken to an underground goverment lab to be studied, not hospital where for some unknown reason only Lois has access to see him???

    Ok I’m labouring the anti Superman Returns rant now, but it just shows again that the writers just didn’t think it through enough.

    I just think Superman’s costume is too iconic to ever be changed, no matter how much cooler alternate designs are. Same goes for Wonder Woman though it did kinda make sense to have her more fully clothed

    • @ lebsta

      I agree with ya about keeping Superman’s costume traditional, same with WonderWoman. Im sure the new costume for her is aimed for younger girls that can enjoy reading the comics which i can understand, but if someone plans to bring her to the big screen, id like to see her in her traditional costume & not the newest one she has now. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Batman costume go back to having the yellow emblem/maybe darker yellow belt. I liked Routh’s Superman costume half & half. I liked the material the costume was made outta of. But mostly i thought the colors should of been brighter, the S emblem been bigger, no S on the belt, Especially boot heels cause they looked silly. And i missed the Yellow S on the cape, despite what excuses they had. What was the point of having little S’s on the S emblem if you can’t see them except for close up scenes? im just stating my opinion, im sure people thought the costume was fine but just sayin.

      • Great post. I’ve been saying the same thing since the SR movie came out and I felt I wasted my money on it. Keep the Suit simple, it works.

  12. @ Wally West

    Agree 100% on the costume assessment, especially the S symbol. I just hope the actor they get is built enough physcially, felt Routh lacked the muscular size for the costume.

  13. Re: The funny belt substitution…strongly resembles The Crime Syndicate Superman Alternate known as Ultraman:

    Look familiar?

    • LOL oh man you’re right, I hadn’t even thought of that and I love the Crime Syndicate.

      • When I saw the images, first thing popped into my head was “Gee, that looks like Ultraman!”

  14. @ Tank

    If they ever make a live-action Justice League film, The Crime Syndicate is what id wanna see in the first film or one of it’s sequels for sure. I was ticked off they cancelled the feature length dvd movie Justice League: World’s Collide that features the Crime Syndicate & shows how WonderWoman aquires her invisable jet while bridging the gap between Justice League/JLU.

    • @WallyWest

      1. Nice freaking username. I’m serious. Wally West is my hero, my Flash.

      2. What about Justice League; Crisis on Two Earths, the animated movie? I’m sitting here looking at my copy of the dvd..75 minutes, I think that’s feature length? Is that not what you wanted to see?

      • @ tank

        Thank you. He’s also my favorite Flash. I liked him & Barry Allen both the same, but West just alittle bit more so. And just as great as he plays Lex on Smallville, Michael Rosenbaum was great at voicing the Flash on Justic League. I havn’t seen Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. I bought Superman: Doomsday & Justice League: New Frontier which i thought had great golden age characters in great animation but didn’t like it much. And i didnt care much for Superman: Doomsday that much. I might it used sometime. It’s feature length but not set in the Timm-verse like the shows Bruce Timm & Co made. They took ideas of the cancelled World’s Collide to make Crisis on Two Earths instead.

        • Crisis On Two Earths is in no way firmly set in the Timm-verse, but it’s at least much more closely related than what we got in Doomsday or New Frontier. It’s pretty good, give it a shot.

  15. All I can say about the sketches is, keep Bryan Singer, away, far away from anything Superman. I like what was already invented. He does not need to re-invent someone else’s idea. Next time he wants to do a Super Hero movie, he should create his own. Just watch “Hancock” by by Peter Berg, it can be done.

    • hancock is also a dc comic btw

  16. Totally off the thread here, I just want to make an observation on the art and the artist.

    While these pieces are indeed coming out of the archives of Steve Johnson’s old studio, Steve was not the artist for them. If you look at the edge of the Superman pieces, you can see the sig for Constantine. That is Constantine Sekeris ( who is, IMO, a great conceptual artist who does a really good job translating ideas onto paper with an eye for how it will work in the practical fx field.

    I just recognized the art style, and since I know and used to work with a lot of those guys, I just felt the need to throw that out there.

    Carry on! :)

    • Some of them would look pretty good in comic form. Just with something better done in the belt area, as the gratuitous use of bright yellow ovals is… gratuitous.

      • You won’t hear any disagreement from me on that point, no sir! I wasn’t there when they were working on that, so I don’t know what was asked of them or what was going through his head.

        What I DO know is that in my short time with that studio, Constantine was always a complete gentleman, very friendly and modest, and was always able to give a newb advice and answer questions, so I felt the need to step up and make sure he got credit for these pieces. :)

  17. Thank God, Singer needs to be banned from Superhero movies forever. X-men movies were not bad but could have been so much better. Superman stunk.

  18. These have nothing to do with superman returns or the never made sequel . they are from jj abrams superman flyby that was started on in early 2001, they pulled the plug . even says flyby in some of the pics . do some research who ever wrote this artical .

  19. okay I feel dumb now , I only read the first half . I know for a fact though that all these pics are from superman flyby , except the doomsday pic . Its from tim burtons never made superman movie from the mid 90s . Brainiac was going to be the villian in Singers sequel , some details on the never made fiom are now on supermanhomepage .com .

  20. They should stop trying to make the costume look different and start trying to make it look right.

  21. The one with the cityscape looks like Dean Cain.

  22. I would much prefer a Superman: Death and Return of Superman film than the Man of Steel film this summer. Hollywood probably will never make one. This is why I’m refusing to go see the Man of Steel. General Zod has been done. At least if Hollywood isn’t going to put Doomsday as the enemy in the film. Hollywood should show some integrity and use another Superman villain like Darkseid. I know if I go see The Man of Steel movie I would be disappointed by something just like when I went and saw Superman Returns. The closest thing to a Death and Return of Superman on film was Superman/Doomsday DC Comics full length animated feature and only the first part of the film with Superman fighting Doomsday was any good. The second half just sucked. No Eradicator, John Henry Irons/Steel, Superboy, and The Cyborg Superman/Hank Henshaw. It would have been interesting to see Superman Lives with Nicholas Cage as Superman, but sadly that project died. Come check out my review of Superman/Doomsday animated film at