Check Out These Lush Storyboards From J.J. Abrams' Canceled Superman Movie

Brandon Routh sure was a Superman, huh?
Image: Warner Bros.

Peter Ramsey directed Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, but he was earlier involved in a much different superhero project. As a storyboard artist, Ramsey worked with JJ Abrams on his (wild) unmade Superman movie, Superman: Flyby.

Recently, Ramsey took to Twitter to share some storyboards he made for the film, which was conceived and then abandoned in the early 2000s. As you can imagine, from an artist and creator as talented as Ramsey, they’re pretty great. Much better than the script they’re inspired by.

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The first set posted by Ramsey showcase a couple of simple, but iconic and dynamic Superman shots: the hero flying over the planet and through the city. In the latter shots, he seems to be pursuing Ty-Zor, the Kryptonian villain of the film. The second set of storyboards features a mid-air battle between Superman and Ty-Zor, which is very Dragon Ball in an appealing way, and a nice close-up of a very distinguished looking Superman.

To compare, Ramsey also showed off some storyboards from Into the Spider-Verse, to compare the difference between his live-action storyboards and his animated ones, which feature color and more detail paid to the precise shaping and framing of the background.

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Abrams’ plans for Flyby were famously bonkers, including a not-at-all exploded Krypton and a Lex Luthor who is a UFO-hunting CIA agent. It certainly would have been more interesting than Superman Returns, but a script full of good ideas it was not. These storyboards, though? These are choice. I’m glad Ramsey went on to better things.


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About the author

Julie Muncy

io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.