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. The cityscape background is the better one but what’s with the aneorexic super dweeb?

    I really don’t have much time for Bryan Singers’ ideas or concepts. I think he is an extremely over rated (so called) director and terrible film maker.

    I’m sorry but he and Fox Abattoirs single handedly DISTORTED the X-Men into something that is barely recognizable.

    • I am not sure exactly where the concept came from but here is the idea. Superman is genetically super strong so he don’t need to have huge muscles.

      • In a realistic world, a Superman would probably just be hefty looking, maybe even fat.
        He’s strong no matter what, so he wouldn’t have to sit around pumping iron, burning off fat.

        • Two words: “George Reeves”

    • The only two good X-Men movies were Singer’s. He had no involvement with X-Men 3 and Wolverine.

    • Agreed. Singer made decent X-movies, but I personally can’t bear them by the third viewing. I wish he’d have channeled some of the energy of the animated/comic versions.

      • I can’t bear Crash or Titanic by the third viewing. They’re both Best Picture Oscar winners.

        • I agree Rob.

        • Crash I couldn’t bear by the 3rd act

  2. I was never satisfied with Bryan Singer’s X-Men films. They were dramatic and well-acted, but would it killed them to make it a little more… fun??

    Looking forward to Matthew Vaughn’s interpretation with great anticipation, even if I wish he’d just work on Kick-Ass 2 already.

  3. I think the one that says FLYBY on the top left corner looks the best. I like how the cape merges into the S.

  4. Sorry, there are two of them that say flyby, i meant the one where it looks like he is hovering.

    • I’ll agree with that. =)

    • When I saw that pic, the first thought that came into my mind was Dracula. I have to agree with Rob on this one, the first pic looks the best.

  5. Personally, The villain for the next Superman movie should be Brainiac and MAYBE a cameo from DARKSEID or even a mention of Doomsday, but would prefer seeing The Brain InterActive Construct, and Darkseid on a MOVIE budget OH YEAH! No offense to Smallville. Heck they even use Hank Henshaw as a villain before he becomes the Cyborg Superman. As for the suit in Superman Returns I have to admit it took some time to grow on me, prefer the one Chris Reeves wore in Superman 1 through 4 though. I never had an issue with Brandon Routh as Clark OR as Superman, I DID have a problem with Kate Bosworth as Lois. She didn’t have Lois’s flare. Margot Kidder had it, Terry Hatcher had it and Erica Durance Has it, Heck I could see Natalie Portman as Lois Lane.

    • The colours on Christopher Reeve’s suit were too muted for my taste.

    • Bosworth was totally wrong for Lois. Her, that kid, and Lex being the main villain AGAIN just messed up what could have been a great film.

      • Bosworth ruined the entire film for me, when I watch it on DVD I skip her parts as much as possible.

  6. I’m not big on the whole cape attached to the S thing…It looks awkward.

  7. I don’t know, Rob, I think the merged belt in the top two pics make the suit look kinda cool. More alien-like.

    • I like the merged belt- but not the single yellow orb. It looks like an infected belly button.

      • I was about to ask why these artists were so fascinated with giving Superman a big yellow “outie”.

  8. Doomsday looks completely un-Doomsday-like.. but I like the design. It’s like what they did with the Abomination..

  9. Jessica Biel as Lois Lane

  10. im sorry but those designs are awsome especially doomsday. you guys tear apart everything even somthing thats awsome.

  11. Smallville’s Doomsday looked better.

    • Too bad they didn’t have the budget to properly utilize him.

      • Exactly, they did the best they could, but a full blown out battle across metropolis between Clark and Doomsday would have cost millions of dollars. Which they just dont have.

        I think for the most part Smallville does very well with its samll budget.

  12. very grant morrison like

  13. This isn’t from Superman Returns or Singer’s planned unproduced sequel. This is for Superman Flyby, the script J.J. Abrams developed for Brett Ratner and McG. It even has the subtitle to Abrams’ script on it for crying out loud.

    Doomsday looks like a pile of poop. What up wit dat?

    • The artist himself said these were for Singer’s flick.

  14. How hard is it to get Superman’s costume right? Seriously! None of the films or tv versions have come close! In fact, Smallville’s is probably the closest because it uses Routh’s suit but with a fabric cape that is actually RED!

    • How is Routh’s suit “right”? There is no logic or explanation as to why or how all those micro “S” were made or needed on the costume other than for merchandising control. There were no questions about how the Christopher Reeve’s suit was made for him or by whom. It made sense that Martha Kent made it, from the comics. It was never more complicated then it needed to be. Like the Routh’s suit, the movie created more questions and controversy then it needed to, causing more distraction from the movie and character.

      • @GPSpector:

        The tiny micro-S things on the chest shield were indeed stupid. And the coloring was very dark and drab, they could have at least made mention that they were mourning colors, or something, or used something more visually appealing. And how about cape that flapped about as well as a plastic Walmart children’s costume cape? They put a loooot of money into the effects for…THAT. Yikes. Then they capped it all off with many unneeded closeups of the very unconvincing CGI Brandon Routh in flight…dear god WHY??

        Yes, we need actual SUPERMAN COLORS in the new version of the movie costume and a damn fabric cape. This is NOT asking much, Hollywood.

  15. I told everyone Singer’s Superman would suck. I called it!

    • Yes, you were sooo right.

  16. I can’t believe any of those costume designs were ever actually considered, the belt buckle thing looks like a giant gold nipple!

  17. Wow, I love these!! Hope they release more concept art!!

  18. yes…nothing says doomsday like a TMNT2 reject snapping turtle.
    Still, i am a fan of the superman sketches. I know the belt looks odd in sketch form, but it may be something that’s looks better when put into physical practice rather then drawn.
    People are so loyal to the iconic image of the superman look that ANY redesign is going to cause SOMEBODY to get all pissy.

    • Makes me ‘pissy’.

      • see? told ya ;)

        • Yup. The only thing I like is how the S is almost part of the cape, thats a cool feature

          • Keeping in mind that it was Martha Kent that made the original Superman suit, the only reason it should change from the simple effective design is if someone showed Kel-El redesigning it and why. Singer never touched on that issue.

            They need to Keep It Simple and there won’t be questions as to “Why?” or “How?”.

  19. Has anyone here actually read Abrams Superman script?

    it’s ….interesting. While his casual disregard for the character is without doubt, he at least got the concept of Superman, the action that could be created while not forgetting the heart of who he is.

    Give it a read, it’s a bizarre take on the mythos, and elseworlds story more than anything. As for it only being in early development, both McG and Ratner flew out to Australia to check on the size of available studio space, the script was complete, there were rumours on casting.

  20. I’m really liking number 1 and number 3.

    • Am I missing something here, or wasn’t part of the origin story in the comics based around the fact the the costume came from the material SuperBABY was wrapped in when he was found by the Kents? That is why the Chris Reeve outfit STILL looks the most iconic. I know every film maker wants to add something new but Routh went through the same Hell as Reeve for over a year to get the physique perfect (watch the extras on the DVD of SR to see) and then had to watch EVERYTHING he ate once he did so he didn’t look any different to the CGI. Apart from those alternative outfits in the comics in the 80′s and 90′s the comics version hasnt strayed from the original template from the 40′s so why change it at all?

      And the same for the music. Superman has a theme. It worked in 1978. It makes you feel like you can fly when you hear it for Gods sake….!

      • Yes, the cape is usualyy the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby, on Smallville they use the SR costume but with a fabric cape that is probably the blanket

        • Actually, the only gripe I have with Smallville is that they make it seem that Martha Kent has some fabrication and molding facility somewhere. I was glad that Smallville stuck with Martha making it but I think it was the “Lois & Clark” series that got it right.

          From a future scene, it looks like Smallville will be using the Yellow “S” on the back of the cape which Bryan Singer stated was too difficult to add due to budget. I guess he never heard of CGI Mapping which was in use many years before his lame excuse, and the movie

        • Not sure if Smallvill will use the blanket for the cape (I hope) or if they will use the “Avenging Angel” cape (but modified) that was given as a gift a few seasons ago.

          I did not notice if there was a cape in the package from Martha. I hope the cape is addressed in a future episode. Sad there was not episode covering the designing process.

  21. Doomsday looks meh. I have to agree with Dr. Sam that Smallville’s version looked better.

    • Shame they couldnt manage an actual fight between Clark and Doomsday, their brief smackdown was fun though.
      They got the design right on Smallville, similar to the comics but with a slight tweak here and there.

    • yh same here

  22. I like Christopher Reeve’s Superman costume, and would like to see it made outta the same material that Brandon Routh’s was. I liked Superman having that yellow S emblem on the back of his cape. Imo, i don’t care much for any of those Superman costume pictures. They looked more like a costume for The Eradicator would wear. And despite it being a sketch, Doomsday looked awful. Smallville’s Doomsday looked awesome & convinced me they won’t need cgi if they used him on film aslong as he looked as what he did on Smallvilles or close to it.

  23. Doomsday look like a mixture between TreeBeard from Lord of the Rings, and Tokka from TMNT 2: The Secret of the Ooze.

  24. The things i didn’t like about Superman Returns was Lois having a kid of-course, despite that i thought sequels could be made without the kid. He can be mentioned by name and that will be that. Mostly i found the film too much like Donnor’s original film & i have to admit i didn’t think much of Kate Bosworth as Lois. Thought she looked too young & just didn’t seem like Lois to me. Though i like Gene Hackman as a actor, I thought Kevin Spacey’s Lex was little more serious, atleast seemed like it through out the films. But i wished the film had a physical villain but anyways thats all i have to say.

    • I hate people that say that they hated Supes having a kid and don’t give Singer props for having the balls to do something contravercial with his film. He had the balls to do it and it didn’t take off, but it was brave.

      • I’m gonna get some heat for this, but I really liked Superman’s kid. Yeah, it was pretty dumb idea to got that route, but I always looked at Superman as God Amongst Men with the kid as a son of a God. Besides, they could easily fix that by having him turn out to be Bizarro. It was only implied that it was Superman’s kid, and you have him grow up to be Bizarro in the film.

        I loved the film regardless, and is probably my favorite Superman movie (another thing I’ll get heat for lol).

      • @ Steve: There is a difference between having:

        1. a controversial aspect to art to say something about the world around us or the people we are.
        2. a controversial aspect to art just to be attention grabbing.

        To me, Supes having a kid just reduced him to being an absentee daddy with a baby momma taking up with someone else. That sounds more Jerry Springer to me than Superman. I don’t get the point. Do you?

        It’s OK to say something controversial with Superman or any art, but have the artistic vision to use that controversy to say something larger that is articulate.

        • I’m with Santa – Christmas is coming, after all. :-D


          • Don’t forget, the new Superman is also, not only darker but also a stalker/peeping tom that thinks nothing of asking the mother if he can visit. He just flew into the kids room while the kids mother was downstairs. How creepy is that. After this movie, I was left with believing this Superman had little morals or ethics. In other-words, I did not look up to this Superman as the “roll model” that Superman has been to so many for so many years.

        • An absentee daddy? What are you 12? He’s frickin’ Superman! He’s got the world to save and Lois has moved on – which is the point of the film – where does he fit in this new world? He is in a state of emotional turmoil (and he doesn’t know he’s the father until the very end).

          Dude, I’m just saying that Singer made a very Donnerish film and people complain that he went too far and the film wasn’t new and different enough.
          Well he put the kid story in that was extremely risky and it didn’t pay off for the fans. Fair enough, but the least you can do is give him props for trying to mix the story up a bit.

          (Even I didn’t really like that plot too be honest, but I am interested as to where it would go).

          • Did you ever wonder why the kid was always using an inhaler? It’s because Lois laced it with small ammounts off Kryptonite to block his powers, but they cut it from the script as it would have come across as child abuse.

            • never heard that, makes a lot of sense (I remember wondering about the inhaler when I first watched it). I wish they would have left that explaintion in – it would (I don’t know how to say it) gives a further account of what it would be like to have these powers in our world. Like you could almost see in this kid what Supes might have been going through as a kid by having powers he can’t reveal to anyone.

              Almost like what if Lois raised Supes instead of George and Martha Kent – you know what I mean, hopefully

        • The biggest problem of Returns could have been wiped clean with any of the following:

          - The Kid turns out to be a Bad Seed.

          - The Kid is killed off.

          - Superman unwittingly landed on Earth 2.

          - Mytzlplyk is the foe, and commits a deus ex machina retcon, and The Kid never existed at all.

          - All the above.

          • The kid could have rapidly aged and turned into Bizarro?…

        • More Maury Povich than Springer…a Springer version would’ve had Smallville Superman-designate get Kara pregnant; and you thought the physical altercations on Springer were violent before?

          Likely wreck the studio, if these two throw down!

  25. …sorry about that, but the site is called ScreenRANT! I just think that some images (and music)are indeibly burned onto the mind- try putting James Bond into a black suit and a straight black tie like the ones that are so fashionable at the Oscars and see the fanboys erupt!

  26. It says FlyBy on these pictures.

    I remember reading an article on Wikipedia talking about all the failed Superman projects, from Superman IV to Superman Returns, and the J.J. Abrams script had that particular name.

    Here’s the link:

    • Only 2 of the images are from the Abandoned Flyby project.

  27. Why does he have to have only one costume throughout the whole movie. They could put in different costumes for different reasons or different abilities. I’d love to see Superman wear his black and white suit even though I’m not a big fan of it but it would be cool to see him wear it in a live action movie. That Doomsday sketch looks like they were really reaching for an extraterrestrial look, so I can understand where they were coming from with that design although it doesn’t look that good so far.

    • Doomsday sketch looks like a Predator on Steroid. They should stick with the Smallville design.

  28. I really hope Snyder fails so fanboys can trash another respected film maker.

    • I would rather watch a Snyder film over Singers anyday. :-)

    • I much prefer Singer over Snyder. IMO Snyder is way overrated while I haven’t seen a Singer film that I didn’t enjoy watching (SR was a stretch due to the kid plot, but the action scenes are some of the best of any comic book film)

      • What action scenes? I must have missed them…

        • Uh, well how about the plane crash? Easily the best action scene in any modern comic book movie.

          • Hands down the best action scene. The soundtrack for that sequence was superb.

            • Darn tootin! Great soundtrack altogether, but the plane rescues is the best part of the score as well as one of the best parts of the entire movie.

  29. How is Snyder a respected film make exactly?