The Genius of Selutron
Selutron is not only a huge Superman fan, but a visionary. I ordinarily do not promote fan edits, but in this case I can’t say enough good things about Selutron’s Superman II work.
As you will see, Selutron used footage and individual elements re-composited from the Christopher Reeve films to create some cool clips that get your mind thinking about further possibilities with the Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut.
Selutron, and others, have hopes of Warner Bros. one day releasing a definitive Donner Superman Part I & II complete saga on DVD and Blu-ray. CapedWonder™.com has no additional information to share at this time. Please do not bombard us with questions. You can count on us to post updates if anything “official” develops from this project.
Selutron has closed his YouTube account, so CapedWonder™.com is now the exclusive source for his brilliant Superman work. Thank you Selutron for your dedication, talent and unique vision.
Please visit brianorndorf.com.
2015 Update from Selutron
Donner/Mankiewicz Superman II Ending
Warmest greetings to CapedWonder and Superman fans.
With the addition of some fresh tweaks, HD upgrading and a few other bits and pieces, here is the “Donner/Mankiewicz Superman II ending” concept clip which Mank very graciously watched back in 2007.
Unlike most of the other “Selutron” clips, I held onto this one for two reasons: Firstly, with all the storyboards, temp music and other rough edges, it requires considerable suspension of disbelief to take-in as a viable dramatic presentation. I was reluctant to have it stand next to the other more polished clips. Secondly, as many of you will know, I had hoped that a “new, secret ending” hook might be a strong selling point should Warners ever want to go back and undertake a more thorough restoration attempt of the Donner Superman II footage.
Alas, time goes by, and for Sel it’s time to move on… Economics is the cold hard reality by which studios make decisions. “Should” and “right thing to do” and “would be great” and all the rest of it really don’t sway decisions one bit. In this case, there really is no hope that such a fresh restoration effort will be funded any time soon. If anything, market forces appear to be going the other way (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on Blu-Ray anyone?).
So, if you can, watch and hopefully enjoy. It should be a bit of a tearjerker ending, you know – but one that ends with an unbridled sense of happiness. That is the intention, anyway…
Spoiler alert from hereon: So why this? “Explain yourself!” I suspect not everyone will find this a viable ending. But it appeared to offer narrative closure for the Superman two-parter. Superman learns a hard lesson. He disobeyed his father, broke the rules, and paid a very high price. But we end on a note of hope, forgiveness and redemption – and we come full circle (of course, Clark is going to pay for Lois’ pizza!!). Jor-El gives the world a Super kiss of sorts…he bids farewell to his son with a loving smile. The son becomes the father…
Of the new Donner footage revealed in “The Donner Cut” the most lovely for me was the end scene at the Daily Planet. No odd 2006 music cues to spoil things. No dodgy editing or effects. Just a simple resurrected moment of original 1970s movie magic. How to use that? How to avoid an ending that loses it? How to not end the movie on a petty act of revenge by Clark in the diner?
Conversely, the scene that never seemed to work for me was the re-powering in the middle of the movie. It seemed predictable (argues with dad, leaves, comes back, gets powers back), and also odd for Jor-El to end his relationship with his son on such a down, vitriolic note: “Have your powers back, but screw you and I’m outta here!”. Where’s the redemption? Where are Donner’s upbeat Americana and Mankiewicz’s biblical themes in all this?
I’m absolutely sure Dick and Mank would have had the same discussion had they resumed filming in 1979. The dynamics of the script changed when they tore the ending of II and made it the ending of I. That would have necessitated some further surgery. I believe this may have been it. But, as Tom wrote me: “Who knows…?”
Thanks to everyone who has supported this effort over the years! And thanks to Sarah Douglas for saying some nice things about my work (I had a crush on Ursa as a kid!)
2013 Update from Selutron
I’m pleasantly surprised that people continue to express an interest in the possibilities related to having another go at sprucing up SII – (or issuing some kind of restored Superman part I and II complete saga type release). I think that much will be dictated by simple economics – if the new Superman movie does well at the box office, then the “property” of Superman rises in perceived value. That will then be the time to really move with a fresh pitch.
I know that is a view shared by a lot of people: a wasted pitch too soon may fall on deaf ears – but strike while the proverbial iron is hot and there’s no reason why WB wouldn’t see the value of such a restoration/re-release project. I can only speculate what the current official feeling is, but I would guess that it is something along the lines of: “Right now, we don’t want to be looking back, but forward. Let’s prove that a new flagship can stand on its own two feet and keep the franchise fresh and profitable. If that works, then that rising ship will undoubtedly lift other boats in the family.”
Apologies for the less than perfect metaphor there, but hopefully this all makes sense. Put simply, if Man of Steel is a hit, then WB will definitely be hearing from a number of us (in unison) who want to put this together.
I went back and finished off the intro, changing one or two things and adding a recap. I know some people who are very familiar with the movies may think its a bit long, but I think a general audience would need to get into the movie this way (that’s what I always tried to keep in mind making these things), plus lots and lots of action and Supes at the start balances off the lack of Supes or Sup action for a big chunk of SII thereafter in both Donner’s and Lester’s versions. It’s like bang and then you want a breather. There’s a slight tribute to Mank in there: Chris Reeve’s opening line being essentially the same as Brando’s in the first movie (“this is no fantasy”).
Why the post time travel? Lois’ line about having been through an earthquake doesn’t appear to make sense otherwise. If Supes travels back in time and stops the missiles then what is Lois talking about? What earthquake? What caused it? So the idea was to have some fun trying to come up with an explanation for that – one missile went off very quickly, the other a lot later. In Superman’s second go, he goes after the other one first but it still goes off and causes a small earthquake.
Why the extended clip thereafter? The main reason is that the next time we see Lois and Clark, Lois is jumping out of a window convinced she knows Clark is Superman. It seemed a bit out of the blue, so the hope is that showing a hint of Lois’ burgeoning suspicion keys the audience in a little earlier. When she says, “wait a minute, wait a minute” – that’s the key to the later scene at the Daily Planet. And the, “who knows, maybe he’ll get lucky” is something of an omen. The Lois/Superman relationship we’re about to see won’t be that lucky for the rest of us earthlings. Plus, the joke about Superman saying, “I’ve been a little busy”.
The hope would be not how this intro plays by itself, but in terms of setting up the movie: Son disobeys father because he can’t live without one human and that disobedience leads to the release of the villains – and Lois thinks she knows something…and, as mentioned, deliberately exhaust the audience a little in terms of action, so now they want a breather and are ready to watch a Lois/Clark love story develop and the slow buildup of the Zod and Lex stuff.
Thanks to everyone,