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The Last Word on Superman II

An Exclusive Report for CapedWonder™.com Written and Edited by Bill Williams

For nearly three decades many people have regarded “Superman II” as the strongest entry in the Christopher Reeve film series. With its lightning-fast action, comic book-style story, humor, and humanizing moments, it truly succeeds the original “Superman: The Movie” on numerous levels as a sequel in the truest definition of the word.

As we all know, Richard Donner filmed approximately 80 percent of “Superman II” in 1977-78 (during the simultaneous filming with the original “Superman”). A moratorium suggested by then-unaccredited associate producer Richard Lester (who succeeded Donner as director in the summer of 1979), to halt all filming on the sequel to allow completion of the first film for release in 1978, was enthusiastically approved by Donner, senior producer Alexander Salkind, executive producer Ilya Salkind, and producer Pierre Spengler. When filming resumed in late 1979, many of the original film’s cast and creative team – most notably Donner, screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz, composer John Williams, and stars Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman – were either let go or moved on to other projects. (Sadly, two key creative personnel – production designer John Barry and cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth – had both passed away prior to the release of the first film. Some of their work for “Superman II” had been completed prior to the moratorium, so the Salkinds and Lester brought in Peter Murton and Robert Paynter [who would soon afterwords film the groundbreaking music video “Thriller” for the late Michael Jackson] into their positions to complete work on the sequel.) Donner’s firing from the sequel’s completion, and the many lawsuit problems initiated by Brando over likeness rights and percentage points from the profits on both films, resulted in a change in tone in the story’s overall feel, as Lester rewrote and restructured the script (along with some uncredited work by George MacDonald Fraser and Guy Hamilton) and complete filming for the sequel.

Lester not only filmed crucial scenes of the story – among them the film’s opening sequence in Paris, the Phantom Zone villains’ attack in the Midwest, the Niagara Falls sequences, the main battle between Superman and the villains in Metropolis, and the film’s ending – but also rewrote and restructured other scenes from the previous scripts by Mario Puzo, David and Leslie Newman, Robert Benton, and Mankiewicz, along with a final script draft by Fraser and Hamilton that incorporated those scenes filmed by Donner deemed necessary for the sequel’s final theatrical release. Lester completed the sequel by filming some 30-40 percent of the film from the final script treatment, as well as re-shooting approximately another 30-35 percent of Donner’s material, thereby earning him sole directorial credit on the film under the guidelines of the Director’s Guild of America.

With the release of the Richard Donner Cut on DVD and Blu-ray in 2006, Donner and film restoration producer Michael Thau (who supervised the restoration of the first “Superman” film in 2000) sought to return the film to the original intentions as seen by Donner and Mankiewicz in 1977-78. That version of the film resulted in approximately 83 percent of the film comprised of Donner footage, with the remaining 17 percent of the film borrowed from Lester’s footage shot in 1979-80, as there was no other way to complete the film without that footage.

In order to understand the placement of the Donner and Lester footage in the theatrical release, the extended versions, and the 2006 Donner Cut, I have carefully analyzed the following various sources which provide an insight into the most complete version of the story:

1. The Tom Mankiewicz shooting script from April 1977;
2. The theatrical version of the film as released on videotape, laserdisc, and DVD from Warner Home Video;
3. A copy of the extended version telecast on ABC in 1987;
4. A copy of the extended version telecast on Canadian television in the 1980’s;
5. A copy of the complete international extended version as telecast in Denmark in the 1980’s;
6. The 2004 Restored International Cut on DVD;
7. The 2006 Richard Donner Cut as released on DVD from Warner Home Video;
8. The 2008 release of “Superman: The Music (1978-1988)”, issued on CD from Film Score Monthly and Screen Archives Entertainment; and,
9. Various articles, publications, and informational sources on the making of the film.

Even with all of these known and established sources, there are still a number of elements which, because of the lack of information, the result of too much passage of time, or unavailability, cannot be verified. For the purposes of this analysis, I have elected to utilize what has been formally established and documented.

The first part of this article series will focus on the extended version of the film, which includes all of the Lester footage and those portions of the Donner footage incorporated into both the 1980-81 theatrical release and the master cut of the extended version. The second part of the article series will focus on the 2006 Donner Cut and identify the respective Donner and Lester clips, as well as changes made to the film. The third and final part of the article series will look at various alternate trims used solely in the original theatrical version, trims that appeared in the deleted scenes section of the 2006 Donner Cut, and other possible sequences that are believed to have been filmed, but cannot be confirmed.

In addition, along the way I will point out an interesting number of side notes that may be enlightening to fans and students of the film series.

Before I proceed any further, I should note that the following estimates that are used in the article series are solely from my analysis and may not accurately reflect the actual running time of the footage or the actual sources. Those errors that may appear are solely my own, and I apologize in advance for any said errors. (Please notify Jim Bowers of any errors you believe warrant correction.)

CapedWonder.com.

Time sequence of footage from “Superman II”

(Note that this first analysis covers footage as seen in the 1980-81 theatrical version and the various extended versions of the film.)

0:00:00 – 0:00:15 (WB logo) – The original theatrical version used the red-on-black Warner Bros. logo, which was included at the start of subsequent home video releases of the film. For the 2004 Restored International Cut, an additional title card was included at the start of the film that read, “For Richard Donner.” For the film’s 2006 release on DVD, the logo was replaced with the WB CGI version incorporating “As Time Goes By”, which was also featured at the start of Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut and many other WB releases. (At the start of Superman Returns John Ottman incorporates part of the John Williams “Superman” theme into the logo credits). (:15)

0:00:15 – 0:01:05 (introduction to Krypton, leading up to close-up of the council chamber dome) – Donner footage lifted from the first film. This is comprised of two shots that appeared in the first film, a clip of outer space footage lifted from the sequence of Jor-El educating Clark Kent in the Fortress of Solitude, dissolving into a clip of the planet Krypton from the start of the first film, electronically and optically sped up for the sequel. (:50)

0:01:05 – 0:02:31 (close-up of Kryptonian sentry; Non kills the sentry; Zod destroys the power crystal; recreation of the trial; “Guilty!”) – Lester footage (1:26). A portion of Zod’s close-up was utilized in the flashback discussion in the Fortress of Solitude in the 2006 Donner Cut.
(Side note: Notice the S symbol on the crystalline console the sentry is guarding. The S symbol is modified from the S shield that appeared on the theatrical one-sheet poster for the first film.)

SHEPPERTON STUDIOS – APRIL 1977

0:02:31 – 0:02:34 (long shot of the criminals; “Guilty!”) – Donner footage lifted from the first film. Marlon Brando’s appearance as Jor-El was airbrushed out of the left side of the shot. (:03)

0:02:34 – 0:03:06 (criminals sent to Phantom Zone) – Donner footage lifted from the first film. For the sequel Terence Stamp’s lines from STM have been re-recorded and placed over the shots of the villains in the Phantom Zone. (:32)

0:03:06 – 0:08:39 (main title credits; replay from STM; exterior shot of the Daily Planet) – Donner/Lester combination. Most of the footage from the sequence is lifted from the first film. Approximately thirteen seconds of footage were shot by Lester – the close-up of the green crystal just prior to the first title card, the close-ups of Jor-El’s hand, the added shots of Susannah York as Lara, and baby Kal-El. The infant used in the close-up has more hair than did Lee Quigley. – confirmed by GandAlfDC of Superman Cinema and by Jim Bowers. During the title credits an added outtake of Luthor, Miss Teschmacher, and Otis is used, which was shot during production of STM but not seen in any version of the film. (Donner footage: 3:39; Lester footage: 0:13)

In the ABC telecasts of the extended version, an insert shot of the Kents from STM is inserted over the original shot of baby Kal-El emerging naked from the starship. This insert shot was used only in the ABC telecasts and not in the international telecasts. The long shot of the spaceship on the wheat field was optically zoomed.

0:08:39 – 0:11:05 (Clark learns of terrorist plot in Paris; a job for Superman) – Lester footage (2:26). This entire opening sequence was rewritten by Lester, Fraser, and Hamilton to replace the original opening sequence conceived by Donner and Mankiewicz that later appeared in the 2006 Donner Cut.

0:11:05 – 0:11:08 (Superman flies off) – Donner/Lester combination (:03). The background plate of New York City was recycled from Donner footage shot for STM, while the flying element was filmed under Lester’s supervision and superimposed over the background plate. Confirmed by Jim Bowers.

0:11:09 – 0:16:20 (Lois in Paris; terrorists; police officers plant explosives) – Lester footage (5:11). This entire opening sequence was conceived by Lester, Fraser, and Hamilton to explain Superman freeing the villains from the Phantom Zone, which I will explain later.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – JUNE 1978

At this point in the extended versions a 27-second clip is included: a short scene of Superman outracing the Concorde. This is an outtake from STM and not to be considered a true extended clip from the sequel, as it is re-tracked with Ken Thorne’s cue “Superman to Paris”. This outtake is referenced in the Tom Mankiewicz STM script from April 1977, and was designed as part of a three-part sequence that never appeared in the first film, despite initial numerous comments from fans and viewers that the scene was a missing part of the film. In 2008, Mike Matessino correctly confirmed this scene as an outtake from STM in the liner notes to the Film Score Monthly soundtrack release, “Superman: The Music (1978-1988)”, and it was confirmed in The Making of Superman: The Movie book written by David Michael Petrou. The pilots were played by Michael Berh and John Rees.

(Side note: While the Concorde sequence was filmed and completed in June 1978, it is not known if the second part of the sequence, of Superman rescuing an oil rig from disaster, was filmed, though it is concluded not to have been filmed. The scene would later be rewritten and revisited in Superman III, while a similar oil rig rescue would appear in the 2013 reboot film Man of Steel. The third part of the sequence, of Superman’s flight with an eagle, was filmed in February 1978, with the film’s flying unit shooting a Saker falcon in flight. While the shot with the falcon was completed, the final version of the shot is believed not to have been completed. In 1979-80 a British news report on the Zoptic front projection system concluded with a gag version of the shot of Superman flying next to a stuffed bird.)

0:16:20 – 0:18:46 (police set off explosives; Superman arrives in Paris, saves Lois, hurls the elevator and bomb into outer space; explosion; Superman hurled backwards) – Lester footage (2:26). The background plate of the Earth and sun, seen in the shot of Superman flying the elevator and bomb away, was lifted from the theatrical version and used in the prologue to the 2006 Donner Cut with a revised shot of Superman flying the XK-101 missile into outer space.

0:18:46 – 0:18:51 (close-up of the villains in the Phantom Zone) – Donner footage (:05)

0:18:51 – 0:18:56 (shock waves approach Phantom Zone) – Donner/Lester combination (:05). The insert of the Phantom Zone at the top right of the screen was lifted from the first film, while the visual effects were animated during Lester’s tenure on the project.

0:18:56 – 0:19:32 (shock waves vibrate through the Phantom Zone, frees the villains; Superman returns to Earth; villains fly to the moon) – Lester footage (:36), confirmed by Jim Bowers. All of the elements in this version of the shot were filmed by Lester. Donner had originally filmed the major components of this sequence in 1977-78 for the never-completed cliffhanger ending to STM. Those original elements would remain unseen until 2001 for the documentaries on the making of STM. The elements would be later combined with new visual effects and completed for the Donner Cut in 2006.

NEW YORK CITY – JULY 1977

0:19:32 – 0:19:41 (streets of Metropolis; emphasis on fruit cart and Daily Planet) – Donner footage (:09). This clip was originally intended to set up the original opening sequence for the sequel, leading to Lois jumping out of the window of the Daily Planet and landing on the fruit cart. Except for this brief clip, that sequence remained unseen until the 2006 Donner Cut.

0:19:41 – 0:22:46 (cab driver’s run-in with Clark; Lois toasts her and Clark’s friendship with orange juice) – Lester footage (3:05). Approximately 16 seconds of added dialog between Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder were restored for the extended television broadcasts.
It is interesting to point out that the reference to the cab driver’s run-in with Clark was originally scripted by Tom Mankiewicz for the first film. According to the script, during the helicopter rescue Clark runs across the street and gets hit by a passing cab driver just before he changes into Superman. Later in the movie we hear part of a news report stating, “In other news, a cab driver ran down a pedestrian today and broke off his…” before Miss Teschmacher turns off the TV. Whether Clark’s run-in with the cab driver was shot for STM remains unknown as of this writing, but it is believed not to have been filmed. Lester would port this on-screen gag to the second film.

0:22:46 – 0:22:51 (exterior prison shot). The establishing shot of the prison exterior is neither a Donner shot nor a Lester shot but rather stock footage filmed in the 1970’s for use in various movies and television shows. The earliest documented appearance we have of this footage was in an episode of the 1978 situation comedy SOAP, as well as its later spinoff series BENSON (confirmed by Alex Serpa in 2001). The director of said footage is unknown as of this writing. Whether Donner or Lester first excerpted this footage also remains undetermined as of this writing.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – OCTOBER 1977

0:22:51 – 0:25:41 (Luthor and Otis in jail; the secret of the black box; “Slasher Fogelstein is a bed wetter.”) – Donner footage (2:50).

There are two brief Lester-directed dialog voice dubs in this sequence. The first one occurs as the prison guard states, “Life plus 25, Luthor. Get to work.” The original delivery of this line appears intact in the 2006 Donner Cut. The second dialog voice dub occurs when Luthor asks another inmate for the return of his Liberace record – the inmate responds, “There’s a scratch on it.” In the take you can clearly see the actor ask, “Tonight?” and the 2006 Donner Cut restores the original dialog intact. All the Luthor/Otis laundry room scenes used in the Donner Cut contain the original theatrical soundtrack. The new lines of “Life plus 25, Luthor. Get to work.” and “Tonight?” were inserted into the soundtrack. I believe those lines to have been newly recorded for the Donner Cut or are original onset sound. You can hear a slight hiss come in and out at either end of said dialogue as it’s dialed in and out before it goes back into the Lester soundtrack. If you notice the Donner extra lines of dialogue the sound isn’t as bass filled and background ambience noise is less prominent.

In the extended versions of the film Luthor states, “Your brain defies every known scientific law in its infinite capacity to deteriorate.” This line, coupled with the continuing footage of Gene Hackman’s line “Every man has his vulnerable point,” is present only in the extended versions and is not in either the original theatrical version or the 2006 Donner Cut. Once Luthor says this line, the extended versions cut to the close-up of Otis looking at Luthor as he says, “Some, like you, Otis, have more than one.” This close-up appears during the delivery of “Every man has his vulnerable point…” in the original theatrical version and the 2006 Donner Cut.

The next change in the extended version occurs with Luthor discussing his black box tracking alpha waves. Hackman line as said in this shot goes, “That little black box goes beyond any known conventional radar…” As Luthor and Otis soon discuss pasta a fagoli, the exchange with Otis responding, “With garlic, Mr. Luthor, and butter…” is played very quickly. This is one of three known variations on this shot to exist among the theatrical version, the extended versions, and the 2006 Donner Cut, as this version appears only in the extended versions.
The final shot, involving Slasher Fogelstein, was seen intact as completely filmed and used in both the extended versions and the 2006 Donner Cut. Only the theatrical version uses a variation on the scene sans the Slasher Fogelstein reference, ending with Luthor stating, “His secret will give me Superman” (more on this later).

0:25:24 – 0:25:58 (introduction to Houston control sequence; contacting Artemis II) – Lester footage (:34).

All Houston control sequences were directed by Lester and combined with the existing Donner footage of the lunar attack. If you look very quickly at the control monitor, the scans of the lunar surface are Donner shots displayed on the monitors. In an interview with the Star Wars Insider, actor John Ratzenberger (the bearded controller) confirmed that he had worked with Lester prior to filming his scene for Superman II under Lester’s direction.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – OCTOBER 1977

0:25:58 – 0:26:16 (lunar surface; astronauts’ mission; Nate to Houston: “Boris and I are engaged.”) – Donner footage (:18)

0:26:16 – 0:26: 20 (Houston controller: “I had a feeling about you guys when I saw your Rorschach tests.”) – Lester footage (:04)

0:26:20 – 0:26:48 (Nate spots Ursa, tells Houston about a possible UFO) – Donner footage (:28)

0:26:48 – 0:26:49 (“Unidentified?”) – Lester footage (:01)

0:26:49 – 0:26:56 (Nate: “A lot like… a girl.”) – Donner footage (:07)

0:26:56 – 0:26:59 (controller glances around) – Lester footage (:03)

0:26:59 – 0:29:35 (villains attack and kill the astronauts) – Donner footage (2:36)

0:29:35 – 0:30:21 (controllers lose contact; “Who’s using the hair dryer?”) – Lester footage (:46). This extended variant of the clip incorporates footage seen in the various extended versions, of the controller commenting, “You’re looking old for your age,” then commenting on the lack of communication with the astronauts, “It looks like a normal electrical interference.” The close-up of the interference and the shot of Ratzenberger’s line “Who’s using the hair dryer?” would be lifted and used in the 2006 Donner Cut.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – OCTOBER 1977

0:30:21 – 0:31:06 (villains discover their powers, fly to Earth) – Donner footage (:45). For the extended versions approximately ten seconds of footage are added to the lunar sequence, with Zod stating to Ursa, “And you will have everything you want.” Ursa responds, “Men… to kill!” followed by Zod’s command, “And I will lead!” This scene extension was not used for the theatrical version or the Donner Cut.

0:31:06 – 0:31:13 (exterior night shot of Metropolis) – Lester footage (:07). This brief transition clip, while appearing similar in camera movement to the shot of Superman flying to Lois’ apartment in the first film, is a Lester shot. Confirmed by Jim Bowers.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – OCTOBER 1977

0:31:13 – 0:35:19 (holographic prisoners; Luthor and Otis escape; balloon rescue) – Donner footage (4:06). An added sequence of Otis asking Luthor how they plan to escape, followed by Luthor responding that they plan to fly over the wall, is also referenced in the Donner Cut. Two added clips appear only in the extended versions. The first is a close-up of Otis stating, “I’m almost there!” followed by Luthor ordering him off the rope ladder. This extended shot appears just before Miss Teschmacher says, “We’re sinking!” The final clip that appears only in the extended versions is a long shot that occurs as Otis says to the prison guards, “I think I hurt myself.”

(Side note: Tom Mankiewicz originally scripted the prison escape sequence involving Luthor and Otis attempting to climb the prison walls via a rope into a waiting car driven by Miss Teschmacher. The initial concept was rewritten and shot with Luthor hiding out in the getaway car – that version of the scene appears in the deleted scenes section of the Richard Donner Cut.)

NIAGARA FALLS – SEPTEMBER 1979

0:35:19 – 0:39:10 (Niagara Falls; Asian tourists taking pictures; Lois and Clark pose as newlyweds) – Lester footage (3:51). The footage with the Asian tourists is found only in the Canadian and international extended versions and neither in the theatrical version nor the ABC telecasts. Once Lois and Clark approach their hotel room, the remainder of the sequence was cut from the 2006 Donner Cut. Richard Lester shot the Niagara Falls sequences in September 1979.

E STAGE, PINEWOOD STUDIOS – SEPTEMBER 1977

0:39:10 – 0:39:59 (Luthor and Miss Teschmacher head north in the balloon) – Donner/Lester combination (:49).

The footage that comprises this extended sequence is found in both the theatrical cut and the extended versions, and is primarily Donner-directed footage. The footage leading up to and including Luthor’s line of, “What else is ballast for?”, followed by the ending footage of Luthor stating, “North, Miss Teschmacher, due north”, is sourced from the original theatrical cut; while the additional footage of Luthor informing Miss Teschmacher, “Actually, I thought about you in a parka,”, followed by her response of, “You’re sick, Lex, you’re really sick.”, is found in the extended versions. The background plate of the sun and the mountains is Lester-directed, as the dialog in the balloon was intended to follow the nighttime prison escape. The final shot of Luthor and Miss Teschmacher turning their backs to the camera as Luthor points his black box north was excised from the ABC telecasts of the film for time constraints. This entire sequence is one of two known versions to exist; the second alternate version appears in its entirety only in the 2006 Donner Cut. Tom Mankiewicz made these revisions to the scene on June 26, 1977.

NIAGARA FALLS – SEPTEMBER 1979

0:39:59 – 0:44:47 (Niagara Falls; tourist with camera problems; Lois nearly discovers the truth; Superman saves boy from falling; Clark picks up hot dogs; “No orange juice?” and exit shot) – Lester footage (4:48)

The footage of the tourist with camera problems is found only in the international and Canadian extended versions. This footage, along with the establishing shot of Niagara Falls, was removed from the ABC telecasts for time constraints, as the scene begins with Lois’ line, “Where’s Jimmy Olsen when I need him?” The 2006 Donner Cut also begins this sequence in the same manner as the ABC telecasts. In addition, the shot of Clark placing money on the hot dog stand, followed by the final exit shot, are found only in the extended versions and are not present in the original theatrical cut. The 2006 Donner Cut also removes the final portions of the sequence after Lois’ line, “Well, hello and goodbye.”

0:44:47 – 0:44:58 (flyover of Arctic mountains) – Lester 2nd unit filmed in Norway (:11). This footage is removed from the ABC telecasts for time constraints. The STM Arctic shots were filmed in Canada in August 1977 by Donner’s second unit.

This sequence introduces one of the most discussed extended scenes from Superman II: Luthor and Miss Teschmacher’s visit to the Fortress of Solitude. In the theatrical version the scene is heavily edited and uses a number of Lester-directed voiceovers and insert shots. The ABC telecast of this sequence edits much of the Donner footage from the beginning and end of the sequence for time constraints. Here I will refer to the sequence as seen in the international and Canadian versions in its entirety.

CANADA – AUGUST 1977

0:44:58 – 0:45:06 (Luthor and Miss Teschmacher ride north to Fortress) – Donner footage with Lester-directed voiceovers (:08). This sequence was removed from the ABC telecasts for time constraints. Part of the Lester-directed voiceovers as heard in the theatrical version – Miss Teschmacher’s line, “Ice and snow, is this your idea of a good time?”, and Luthor’s response, “A good time? Is that all you care about?” are removed from the extended versions and the 2006 Donner Cut. However, the above-referenced dialog remains surprisingly intact in the 2004 Restored International Cut, though it duplicates the dialog which occurs a couple of moments later.

All the location shots of Miss Teschmacher and Lex riding the snowmobile are Donner 2nd unit shot in Canada in August 1977 as confirmed by The Making of Superman: The Movie book written by David Petrou. The extras were almost marooned on the glacier overnight.

007 STAGE, PINEWOOD STUDIOS – OCTOBER 1977

SHEPPERTON STUDIOS – MAY 1977

0:45:06 – 0:49:25 (arriving at the Fortress; finding their way inside; Luthor inserts crystal into the console; close-up of Luthor and Miss Teschmacher) – Donner footage with several Lester-directed voiceovers (3:19).

In the ABC telecasts, the scene begins from a commercial break with this new footage and ends with Luthor stating, “That’s his home! That’s his home!” It then abruptly jumps to the scene of Luthor and Miss Teschmacher inside the Fortress as Luthor states, “It’s fantastic!” The missing footage was cut from the ABC telecasts for time constraints.

The first portion of this sequence, as Luthor and Miss Teschmacher ride toward the Fortress, was included in the 2006 Donner Cut in both edited form in the film’s context and in its longer original form in the deleted scenes section, ending midway through as they approach the Fortress. The shot of Luthor and Miss Teschmacher docking at the Fortress and getting out is present only in the Canadian and international extended versions, as well as the 2004 Restored International Cut, and nowhere else. The next shot of Luthor and Miss Teschmacher out of the snowmobile, followed by their entrance into the Fortress, is found in the Canadian and international extended versions and is also incorporated into the 2006 Donner Cut.
In the Donner Cut actual onset sound was used for all the FOS dialogue. You can hear the wooden floor of the Fortress creaking under Hackman and Perrine’s boots as they make their way along the interior instead of the snow crushing sounds heard in the theatrical version.

The shot of Luthor stating, “The technology goes beyond any known architectural theory…”, is one of two known versions of this shot to exist; the other version appears in the 2006 Donner Cut. Once Luthor and Miss Teschmacher approach the crystal console, the added footage of Miss Teschmacher commenting, “This place is a bit boring… why doesn’t he put up some bull fight posters?”, is found in the extended versions and in the 2006 Donner Cut. The voiceover of Luthor stating, “This looks like some kind of control panel.”, followed by the shot of Luthor saying, “It’s not ice.”, and Miss Teschmacher’s response of “It looks like a crystal.”, are Lester-directed voiceovers present in the theatrical cut and the various extended versions, though they are removed from the 2006 Donner Cut. The close-up of Luthor and Miss Teschmacher as the Kryptonian voice says, “Kryptonian memory banks…”, is also present in the theatrical cut and the various extended versions of the scene, with a Lester-directed voiceover inserted into the shot.
The next sequence, beginning at 0:49:25, is a heavily revised version of Luthor’s interaction with Jor-El as originally filmed by Richard Donner. The original Donner footage utilized the first of Marlon Brando’s scenes as Jor-El for the film. All footage with actor John Hollis reciting “Trees” and Susannah York as Lara are Lester shots, as some of the dialog in the sequence was originally scripted by Tom Mankiewicz and rewritten by Richard Lester, George MacDonald Fraser, and Guy Hamilton. Let’s analyze each shot to precisely determine who shot what.

0:49:25 – 0:49:30 (“Education crystal number 308;” console rises up) – Donner/Lester combination (:05). The majority of this shot was filmed by Donner in May 1977. The crystal console rising up in front of Luthor and Miss Teschmacher was filmed by Lester’s visual effects unit. In addition, all voiceovers in the shot were handled during Lester’s tenure.

0:49:30 – 0:49:32 (“Earth culture, section B.”) – Donner footage with Lester-directed voiceover (:02).

0:49:32 – 0:49:37 (introduction to “Trees”) – Donner/Lester combination (:05). The foreground element of John Hollis was shot during Lester’s tenure. The background plate was produced during Donner’s tenure.

(Side note: Joyce Kilmer, who wrote “Trees”, is a cousin of actor Val Kilmer, best known for a number of film roles including Top Gun and his portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman in the 1995 installment Batman Forever. In addition, one of Tom Mankiewicz’s first film scripts he wrote after Superman and Superman II was a treatment of Batman. In an interview conducted with Starlog Magazine in the early 1980’s, he commented that he had pictured Jack Nicholson as the Joker, years before he was cast in the part for Tim Burton’s 1989 film.)

0:49:37 – 0:49:40 (Luthor: “What’s this?”) – Donner footage (:03).

0:49:40 – 049:44 (first line of “Trees”) – Lester footage (:04).

0:49:44 – 0:50:13 (Luthor: “He’s not here;” removes crystal, inserts new crystal) – Donner footage (:29). At the end of the shot we have a Lester-directed voiceover of Susannah York saying, “Kal-El, my son…” which leads into the next shot.

0:50:13 – 0:50:20 (Lara’s introduction) – Donner/Lester combination (:07). The foreground element of Susannah York was shot during Lester’s tenure. The background plate was produced during Donner’s tenure.

0:50:20 – 050:22 (Luthor: “Now this I want to hear.”) – Donner footage with Lester-directed voiceover addition (:02). The Lester-directed voiceover is dialed down in the background as Lara says, “Among the millions living in harmony…”

0:50:22 – 0:50:25 (Lara: “…there appeared among us three rebel elements…”) – Donner/Lester combination (:03). Foreground Lester, background plate Donner.

0:50:25 – 0:50:29 (“Criminals…”) – Donner footage with Lester-directed voiceover (:04). If you listen very carefully, the Lester-directed voiceover for Lex Luthor does not match in timbre to Gene Hackman’s voice.

050:29 – 0:50:32 (Luthor: “…my kind of people.”) – Donner Lester combination (:03). The majority of this shot was filmed by Donner in 1977, while the crystal console and footage of Susannah York was filmed by Lester. All voiceovers were handled by Lester as well.

0:50:32 – 0:50:39 (Lara: “…unable to change their evil nature…”) – Lester footage (:07).

0:50:39 – 0:50:42 (Luthor: “Sensible enough.”) – Donner footage with Lester-directed voiceover at the end of the shot (:03).

0:50:42 – 0:50:44 (Lara: “Our scientists constructed the Phantom Zone.”) – Donner/Lester combination (:02). Foreground Lester, background plate Donner.

0:50:44 – 0:50:48 (Luthor’s reaction) – Donner footage with Lester-directed voiceover (:04).

0:50:48 – 0:50:52 (“…imprisoning them there for all eternity.”) – Donner/Lester combination (:04). Foreground Lester, background plate Donner.

0:50:44 – 0:50:48 (“No possibility for parole?”) – Donner footage with Lester-directed voiceover at the end of the shot (:04). Oddly, this shot and the next four shots involving Gene Hackman and Valerie Perrine do not appear in the Donner Cut – more on this later.

0:50:48 – 0:50:50 (Lara: “…fought long and hard on that question.”) – Donner/Lester combination (:02). Foreground Lester, background plate Donner.

0:50:50 – 0:50:54 (“I asked the right question.”) – Donner footage with a Lester-directed voiceover at the end of the shot (:04).

0:50:54 – 0:50:56 (“The Phantom Zone might, just might…”) – Donner/Lester combination (:02). Foreground Lester, background plate Donner.

0:50:56 – 0:50:58 (Miss Teschmacher steps away) – Donner footage with Lester-directed voiceover (:02). In the Donner Cut, at one point during the interactive history lesson, Miss Teschmacher is present. In the very next shot, as Jor-El says, “We do not know what would happen if they were to escape,” she is instantly gone. This shot fills in the gap and clarifies her departure, as does the extended scene used in the television broadcasts and the alternate version used in the Donner Cut.

0:50:58 – 0:51:01 (“…nuclear explosion in space.”) – Donner/Lester combination (:03). Foreground Lester, background plate Donner.

0:51:01 – 0:51:02 (Luthor’s close-up) – Donner footage (:01).

0:51:02 – 0:51:04 (“I wish you had not asked me that.”) – Donner/Lester combination (:02). Foreground Lester, background plate Donner.

0:51:04 – 0:51:06 (“I didn’t ask anything.”) – Donner footage with Lester-directed voiceover at the end of the shot (:02).

0:51:06 – 0:51:20 (“…these villains were controllable.”) – Donner/Lester combination (:14). Foreground Lester, background plate Donner.

0:51:20 – 0:53:55 (Luthor muses; leaving the Fortress; “South, Miss Teschmacher!”) – Donner footage with Lester-directed voiceovers (2:35). This is a combination of clips that have appeared in different versions of the film. The first clip of Luthor commenting about the villains, followed by Miss Teschmacher’s comment “I found it! I think…” and Luthor’s response of “She found it…” is one of three versions of the scene Donner filmed. The Lester cut features a shorter alternate version, while the Donner Cut features an alternate version of the take. In this version the scene begins with a Lester-directed voiceover of Lara saying, “…that you have,” followed by her narration about the Phantom Zone villains.

The next shot, of Luthor and Miss Teschmacher leaving the Fortress, was edited from the ABC telecast for time considerations and appears in the Tom Mankiewicz script from April 1977 after Superman rescues the boy from Niagara Falls. It appears completely intact as one of the six deleted scenes on the Donner Cut DVD.

The final long shot of Luthor and Miss Teschmacher on the snowmobile was originally seen in the Lester cut but with a longer Lester-directed voiceover of Luthor commenting about the villains. This voiceover has been replaced with an edited voiceover from the same scene of Luthor saying, “South, Miss Teschmacher! South!”

0:53:35 – 1:02:30 (Lois jumps into the river; Clark fumbles rescue; the villains arrive on Earth; Lois discovers that Clark is Superman) – Lester footage (8:35). Part of the dialog between Lois and Clark, prior to Lois jumping into the river, was lifted from the Mankiewicz script filmed by Donner in 1977-78 for the film’s original opening sequence between Lois and Clark at the Daily Planet.

(Side notes: Once the villains have landed on Earth and begin walking along the forest, pay particular attention to Jack O’Halloran’s boots. In the shot where Ursa notices a snake and picks it up, the lifts on O’Halloran’s boots are missing. Then, once Ursa burns the snake with her heat vision, the lifts have mysteriously returned. This was confirmed by Jim Bowers in 2014. Also, the shot of the fisherman throwing his drink away is reminiscent of the shots of Victor Tourjansky, an assistant director on the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, who was spotted throwing away his drink in that film. The gag would again resurface in Moonraker and For Your Eyes Only.)

While Donner never filmed the final version of Lois tricking Clark into revealing himself as Superman, he did shoot the scene in test form with Christopher Reeve, along with Margot Kidder, Anne Archer, Susan Blakely, Holly Palance, and Stockard Channing testing for the Lois Lane role. These screen tests first appeared in 2001 on the Superman Special Edition DVD and were re-edited for the 2006 Donner Cut, giving viewers a chance to see what the scene could have looked like. Lester rewrote and filmed the final version of the scene for the theatrical version.

At this point, a 20-second clip is used in the ABC and international telecasts of the extended version, as well as the 2004 Restored International Cut, of Superman and Lois flying at night. This scene is lifted from the flying sequence from STM and retracked with the Ken Thorne track “Flight for Flowers” (from the “Superman: The Music” CD box set). Both the Mankiewicz script and the Lester-Fraser-Hamilton rewrite do not contain such a scene at this point – it was inserted into the film by the Salkinds to produce as long a version of the film as possible for TV broadcasts around the world; therefore, it cannot be considered a true extended clip from Superman II. Only the theatrical cut and the Canadian broadcast of the extended version correctly omit this sequence from the film. However, the scene was retained in the 2004 Restored International Cut.

GALLUP, NEW MEXICO – JUNE 1978

1:02:30 – 1:02:46 (exterior flyover shot) – Donner footage lifted from the first film; confirmed by Mike Matessino. (:16)

1:02:46 – 1:06:09 (the sheriff’s encounter with the villains; Superman and Lois fly to the Fortress) – Lester footage (3:23). The added footage of the deputy tipping his hat to Ursa is seen in the various extended versions of the film and is not part of the theatrical cut. In the theatrical version, once Zod shoots himself with the rifle, the deputy utters a profanity-laced phrase; a silent alternate version of this shot is used in the various extended telecasts (more on this later).

1:06:09 – 1:06:18 (Superman and Lois approach the Fortress) – Donner/Lester combination (:09). The background plate was produced and used during Donner’s tenure on the film, while the flying models were shot and superimposed over the plate during Lester’s tenure.

1:06:18 – 1:06:32 (inside the Fortress; “I live in the city about three blocks from you.”) – Lester footage (:14). This scene marks the first appearance of the revised Fortress of Solitude as designed by Peter Murton.

SHEPPERTON STUDIOS – MAY 1977

1:06:32 – 1:06:35 (“This is a very special place for me.) – Donner footage (:03). This interior shot of the Fortress was filmed during Donner’s tenure in May 1977. The voiceover was produced during Lester’s tenure on the film.

1:06:35 – 1:15:29 (“I wanted you to see it;” villains in East Houston, attack in the diner; Zod levitates the father; Non kills the escaping boy; Superman shows the crystal to Lois; flying for flowers; Army attack on the villains; different reactions around the world) – Lester footage (8:54). During Ursa’s attack in the diner, a two-second clip of Zod’s reaction to Ursa is removed from the ABC telecast for time constraints. This entire first sequence in East Houston, Idaho was not included in the 2006 Donner Cut.

Once Zod drops Willy’s father, the television version removes a close-up of Willy looking in disbelief (used in the theatrical version – more on this later) and replaces it with an alternate sequence of Willy escaping for help. The added clip of Zod stating, “No one may leave without my permission”, followed by Non killing the escaping boy with the police headlight, were inserted into the various extended versions of the film. This sequence is also included, though divided into two parts (eleven seconds and sixteen seconds, respectively) and in slightly edited form, during the “Crisis” segment on the “You Will Believe” documentary on Disc 13 of the Superman Ultimate Collector’s Edition DVD set. It is interesting to note that the audio for the first portion, as Zod says, “No one may leave without my permission,” is the same audio as in the extended version. The conclusion of the second portion on the DVD contains retracked music and a different voiceover for the woman saying, “He was only a boy!” It is possible that Michael Thau supervised the music and sound editing, intending to include this scene in the Donner Cut. Portions of the East Houston sequences were edited and not included in the Donner Cut (more on this later). The added clips of the woman’s reaction during the football game and the Japanese family are found only in the international telecast and the 2004 Restored International Cut, and nowhere else.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – JUNE 1977

1:15:29 – 1:15:48 (White House reaction) – Donner/Lester combination (:19). The entire White House sequence was filmed by Donner in 1977. The first eleven seconds of the scene contains footage on television shot and superimposed by Lester of the East Houston attack, while the final eight seconds incorporate borrowed footage of Army helicopters en route to Idaho.

1:15:48 – 1:17:40 (attacking the villains; Ursa destroys the helicopter; “Is there no one on this planet to even challenge me?”) – Lester footage (1:52). Sixteen seconds of footage have been restored to the sequence, primarily focusing on Army officers attacking Non and the sheriff’s deputy being ordered away just before Army officers use a rocket launcher to attack Non.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – 18 OCTOBER 1979

1:18:24 – 1:21:56 (Superman cooks the soufflé; declaring their feelings for each other; Zod’s orders to the townspeople) – Lester footage (3:32). The added scene of Superman cooking the soufflé was included in the 2006 DVD release of the two-disc Superman II Special Edition, though in edited form – only the first 36 seconds are included on the DVD, mixed with a new sound effect for Superman’s heat vision and John Williams’ “The Mugger” cue retracked and underscoring the scene. The final part where Superman picks up the soufflé and walks away is not present on the DVD. It is possible that Michael Thau intended to include this scene in the Donner Cut. For the various extended versions of the film, Ken Thorne’s “Orange Juice” underscores the scene.
During the scene where Superman and Lois declare their feelings for each other, Ken Thorne’s musical track, “Lois Forgets”, is re-tracked in all of the extended versions, while the theatrical version utilizes the similarly sounding track, “Lovers at Dinner Table“. This track also accompanies the added scene of Lois looking for a place to change, which appears in the Canadian and international telecasts and the Restored International Cut, not in the theatrical version or the ABC telecasts.

Part of Zod’s dialog during the scene where he issues his orders to the townspeople was rewritten from the Mankiewicz script. Some of the dialog between Zod and the Army general was re-dubbed by Lester for the theatrical version; the voice of the Army general was either newly recorded for The Donner Cut or actual onset sound inserted into the theatrical scene.

1:21:56 – 1:24:18 (Lara advises Superman about giving up his powers; Superman’s decision; entering the crystal chamber) – Lester footage (2:22). Lester rewrote and re-shot this scene with Susannah York. The original Donner take with Marlon Brando as Jor-El advising Superman appears in the 2006 Donner Cut. The final shot of Susannah York disappearing was rewritten from the final Brando scene of Jor-El disappearing.

1:24:18 – 1:24:26 (Superman inside the crystal chamber; visions of fire and restructuring) – Donner/Lester combination (:08). While of the footage of Superman inside the crystal chamber and the restructuring was filmed by Lester, the brief shots of Superman walking through the fire are outtakes of the trial-by-fire sequence filmed by Donner for STM in 1977-78.

1:24:26 – 1:26:14 (molecular reconstruction; Superman loses his powers; Clark and Lois go to bed) – Lester footage (1:48). The explosion of the crystalline console was lifted and reshot from the original Donner take. It is interesting to note that once Clark emerges, he is wearing the same identical clothes he wore in the original Donner take just prior to sacrificing his powers.

1:26:14 – 1:26:28 (villains destroy Mount Rushmore; White House reaction) – Donner footage with Lester visual effects (:14). The miniature of Mount Rushmore was built and filmed in 1977, with the destruction of the presidents’ faces. The original intention was for Ursa to obliterate the presidents’ faces, according to the Mankiewicz script. The addition of all three villains using their heat vision to remold the faces into their own was a Lester addition.

The clip of the White House reaction is lifted from the earlier sequence of the president’s reaction to the villains’ attack in East Houston, with E.G. Marshall dubbing in the dialog where the president states, “Thousands of hours to create, and they defaced it in second. Imagine what they’ll do to the world if we resist.” If you look carefully at the television, the scene of the villains’ attack on Mount Rushmore is matted onto the screen.

1:26:28 – 1:27:05 (villains flying; Clark and Lois asleep) – Lester footage (:17). In the scene of Clark and Lois asleep together, an unused extension of Lois opening her eyes, filmed by Lester, was not used; it would later be utilized in the 2006 Donner Cut.

1:27:05 – 1:27:15 (villains arrive at the White House) – Because production on Superman II had been halted, Richard Donner and his unit did not travel to Washington, D.C. to film exterior portions there. This exterior shot of the White House is stock footage, a Lester shot, or a shot filmed by Lester’s second unit. The flying models of the villains descending upon the White House are clearly from Lester’s visual effects unit. (:10).

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – CIRCA 21 JUNE 1977

1:27:15 – 1:28:10 (villains attack White House officials) – Donner footage (:55). In part of the sequence, Zod fires upon several Secret Service agents and guards, then fires upon a portrait of Richard Nixon. This shot, filmed by Donner, represented his commentary on the state of the country in the post-Watergate years, and is found only in the international extended version and the 2004 Restored International Cut. This is one of two versions of the scene to exist – pay attention to Terence Stamp. In these added shots he is not smiling. An alternate version of Zod smiling appears in the 2006 Donner Cut.

Once Non throws the broken pillar toward the Army officer, causing him to fire on a chandelier, a portion of the shot of the chandelier crashing on the Army officer was edited from the ABC telecasts for excessive violence and time constraints.

1:28:06 – 1:28:08 (American flag falls) – Lester footage (:02). In later reports it was mentioned that Richard Lester had reshot much of the White House footage. Ilya Salkind stated that this was due to script concerns. From what we know, the prominent clips Lester filmed for the White House scenes are the American flag falling, the start of the dialog between Lex Luthor and the villains, and the final scene of Superman returning the American flag to the White House.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – CIRCA 21 JUNE 1977

1:28:08 – 1:30:26 (Non growls at attack dog; Ursa kicks agent; Zod brings President to his knees) – Donner footage (2:18). An obvious editorial blooper occurs during this sequence. Once the agent falls to his knees before Ursa, pay attention to where Zod and Non are located – they are behind the agent. As soon as Ursa kicks him, they are now clearly spotted in front of the agent and standing at the door to the President’s office. The added footage to the Donner Cut clarifies Zod’s and Non’s positions during the sequence. The portion of the scene where Ursa rips off the military officer’s medals and ribbons was restored for the Donner Cut.

In addition, much of this version of the attack found in the theatrical and extended versions is part of a longer version of the sequence filmed by Donner; additional extensions and shots, as well as alternate takes, were used in the 2006 Donner Cut. A shot of a guard emptying his gun on Non, then being picked up and thrown through a wall, were filmed but not used in any version as confirmed in “The Making of Superman II” and “You Will Believe: The Cinematic Saga of Superman” documentaries.

CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADA – AUGUST 1977

1:30:21 – 1:31:12 (Lois and Clark drive through the mountains) – Donner footage with Lester-directed voiceovers (:51). Here I refer to the sequence as seen in the international extended version and the 2004 Restored International Cut in its entirety. The first part of the scene, as the car travels through the mountains, was not utilized in the theatrical cut or the Canadian version of the film, while part of the scene was edited in the ABC telecast for time constraints. This first shot was also used in the Donner Cut. The second part of the scene is lifted from STM, as Luthor’s remote-controlled green sedan approaches the Danforth Missile Complex. Lester used voiceovers of Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder for the scene, which were carried over into the previously referenced footage for the Donner Cut.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – OCTOBER 1977

1:31:12 – 1:36:08 (Lois and Clark at Don’s Diner; Rocky attacks Clark; the president relinquishes power; Zod’s threat to Superman; Clark decides to go back) – Donner footage with Lester-directed voiceover re-dub (4:56). Pay attention to the man crossing in front of Lois and Clark’s car: it’s none other than Richard Donner in a walk-on cameo! Also, Lester re-dubbed Christopher Reeve’s line from “He knew, I heard him.” to the more ambiguous “They knew, I heard ‘em.” to account for Marlon Brando’s absence from the film. The line appears intact in the 2006 Donner Cut.

In addition, a brief portion of Rocky’s line, “I don’t like your meat anyway,” was briefly edited from the ABC telecasts to where he says, “I don’t like you anyway,” just before Lois attempts to kick him. This edit was made from the ABC telecasts for possible sexual connotations at the time of the broadcasts.

1:36:08 – 1:39:19 (Clark’s journey to the Fortress; calling out to Jor-El and Lara; finding the crystal) – Lester footage (3:11). The scene of Clark in the Fortress was originally written by Mankiewicz and shot by Donner in 1977. In addition, part of Clark’s journey north, comprised of additional footage shot by Lester and not seen in the theatrical version, would be included in the Donner Cut.

1:39:19 – 1:39:44 (villains in the White House; bored Zod) – Lester footage (:25). Much debate had been discussed as to who directed this introductory footage to Luthor’s encounter with the villains in the White House. After careful analysis, Mike Matessino stated that this footage could only be Lester footage, because of the differences in the hairstyles for Terence Stamp, Jack O’Halloran, and Sarah Douglas. Whether this footage possibly replaces any Donner introduction to the sequence or not is unknown as of this writing. For the Canadian telecast, the dialog between Zod and Ursa was removed for time constraints.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – JUNE 1977

1:39:44 – 1:42:46 (Luthor meets the villains, promises to deliver Superman, demands Australia in return) – Donner footage (3:02). Donner’s footage for the sequence picks up at the point where Luthor waves the handkerchief in the doorway. The added shot of Zod asking Luthor, “The son of Jor-El? Jor-El, our jailor?”, is incorporated into the Donner Cut. The two added clips of Ursa saying, “Praying…”, and Luthor picking up a cigar and commenting, “Havana… check.”, are included in the various extended telecasts and nowhere else.

1:42-46 – 1:43:34 (Daily Planet: Lois, Jimmy, and Perry discuss Superman’s game plan, up to Jimmy stating, “Maybe he hasn’t heard about it yet, Chief…”) – Lester footage (:48). Lester rewrote and re-shot this sequence in 1979-80 from the original Donner take, co-directing this sequence with Jackie Cooper based on Cooper’s directorial suggestions. Note the length of Margot Kidder’s and Marc McClure’s hair; it’s much longer in the Lester clips as opposed to the original Donner footage.

E STAGE, PINEWOOD STUDIOS – 29 MAY 1977

1:43:34 – 1:48:30 (the staff runs for cover; “Sounds like an earthquake”; villains attack; Luthor arrives; Non attacks Perry and Jimmy; Ursa attacks Lois; Luthor bargains with Zod for holding Lois hostage up to “I can turn over a new leaf, a tree, a whole forest…”) – Donner footage with some Lester-directed voiceovers (4:56).

The last minute of this sequence, from the moment Luthor says, “You just hold onto that little lady, and he’ll be along”, to the end of the scene, was edited out of the Canadian telecast for time constraints. Part of Non’s attack on Jimmy was included in the 2006 Donner Cut, though Marc McClure’s line, “That’s my brand new camera!”, would not appear in the Donner Cut. When Zod threatens Luthor by saying, “You promised me the son of Jor-El.”, Terence Stamp’s voice is re-dubbed by Lester; the original Donner take appears with Stamp’s voice intact in the 2006 Donner Cut. At least two versions of Zod stating, “Kill the rest, starting with him.”, followed by Luthor’s reaction, were shot by Donner; the second alternate take appears only in the 2006 Donner Cut. Part of Hackman’s line at the end of this extended sequence is re-dubbed by Lester at the end of the theatrical cut – more on this later.

1:48:30 – 1:48:49 (the city’s reaction to Superman’s return; “General?”) – Lester footage (:19). The first eleven seconds involving the people’s reaction are recycled for the Donner Cut with a revised sound effect indicating Superman flying through the city. The shot of Superman standing on the flag pole and calling out to Zod was reshot from the original Donner take, which would not be seen until 2006.

1:48:49 – 1:48:50 (Zod and Ursa’s reactions) – Donner footage (:01).

1:48:50 – 1:48:55 (“Would you care to step outside?”; Lois’ reaction) – Lester footage (:05). Lester borrowed Superman’s line from the diner attack scene and replaced the original question, “Haven’t you ever heard of freedom of the press?” which Donner originally shot. In addition, Lester reshot Lois’ reaction shot from the original Donner take.

1:48:56 – 1:48:59 (Luthor: “Superman, thank God! I mean, get him!”) – Donner footage (:03).

1:48:59 – 1:49:05 (Superman flies off; “Kneel before Zod!”) – Lester footage (:06). Lester reshot the brief clip of Superman flying away from the original Donner take. It is not known whether or not Donner filmed any shot of Zod calling out to Superman, though it is essentially concluded that he did not. A very brief portion of Zod saying, “Kneel before…” would be recycled for the Donner Cut.

1:49:05 – 1:49:06 (Ursa flies toward the window) – Donner footage (:01).

1:49:06 – 1:49:23 (villains fly out of the Daily Planet; the crowd reacts to the flight of Superman and the villains through the city) – Lester footage (:17).

1:49:23 – 1:49:27 (Lois to Perry: “Watch out, you all right?”) – Donner footage (:04). It becomes clear that, as originally believed, Donner filmed portions of the battle on 29 May 1977 between Superman and the villains in Metropolis, mostly from the viewpoint of the Daily Planet staff, though he did shoot some segments of the battle which would not be seen until 2006. Otherwise, the remainder of the battle is primarily Lester footage, including some re-filmed shots at the Daily Planet.

1:49:27 – 1:49:31 (Superman flies by; crowd reaction from the street) – Lester footage (:04).

1:49:31 – 1:49:39 (Daily Planet crowd reaction; Jimmy to Perry: “You okay?”) – Donner footage (:08). This footage appears in all extended versions of the movie. It is not used in the theatrical cut or the Donner Cut.

1:49:39 – 1:50:49 (Superman confronts Zod; Zod proves his point; crowd reaction; “Man, this is going to be good!”) – Lester footage (1:10). Part of the added footage, of Zod stating, “It’s extremely likely you are merely a fool. Like father, like son.”, was included in the 2006 Donner Cut.

1:50:49 – 1:50:59 (Perry sends Jimmy to fetch a cup of coffee) – Donner footage (:10). This clip is seen only in the international and Canadian telecasts of the extended version.

1:50:59 – 1:51:14 (Superman takes off; Non follows in pursuit) – Lester footage (:15). The shot of Non chasing Superman over the city is clearly a Lester shot. The tipoff is the location of the World Trade Center in this shot as Non and Superman fly over the city. The buildings are too close by in proximity, as opposed to the forthcoming sequence of Non chasing Superman back into the city, which would occur some distance away.

1:51:14 – 1:51:42 (Non chases Superman over Metropolis) – Donner/Lester hybrid (:28). The flyovers of Superman and Non are Lester clips, while the background plates of New York City are background plates filmed by Donner for the first film (these plates were lifted from the STM boat robbers sequence). Two of these shots were edited from the Donner Cut, while this entire sequence was edited from the ABC telecasts of the extended version for time constraints.

1:51:42 – 1:52:34 (Non continues to chase Superman through the city, punches Superman into a building; Superman kicks Non away) – Lester footage (:52). Part of the flight through the city is seen in the international and Canadian telecasts of the extended version, as well as in the 2004 Restored International Cut. A portion of this added footage appears in the 2006 Donner Cut, while the shot of Superman’s reaction to Non’s punch was rotoscoped and inserted into the Donner Cut over a background plate of wreckage at the Statue of Liberty.

The added inserts which appeared in the international and Canadian broadcasts, the Restored International Cut, and the Donner Cut are Lester’s SFX model unit as confirmed by the “You Will Believe” and “Making of Superman II” documentaries. Models of Metropolis for the battle were not built until Lester’s shooting. The clue can be found in the reverse angle shot of Non chasing Superman through the city – more on this later.

1:52:34 – 1:52:43 (Luthor intercepts Jimmy’s coffee; “I should have spiked it.”) – Donner footage (:09). This brief clip is seen in the international and Canadian telecasts of the extended version in its entirety. The 2006 Donner Cut also includes this clip, but omits Jimmy’s response.

1:52:43 – 1:57:59 (the battle continues) – Lester footage (5:16). The brief shot in which Ursa grabs Superman’s neck is one of two variations filmed by Lester. This shorter version appears in the theatrical cut and all extended versions of the film; a longer alternate version appears in the Donner Cut – more on this later.

1:57:59 – 1:58:02 (Luthor: “I never thought this thing would go the distance.”) – Donner footage (:03). A voiceover for Gene Hackman is used in this brief shot, as the same shot appears in the Donner Cut sans voiceover.

1:58:02 – 2:02:46 (Superman catches the bus; the villains blow a storm through Metropolis; Superman retreats; the boys’ reaction) – Lester footage (4:44). The reaction shots of Margot Kidder at the Daily Planet replace all of Donner’s footage that was originally shot for the film.

E STAGE, PINEWOOD STUDIOS – 29 MAY 1977

2:02:46 – 2:03:32 (villains return to the Daily Planet; Jimmy, Perry, and Lois react; Luthor: “What am I going to do with you people?”) – Donner footage with Lester voiceovers (:46). The first three seconds of this sequence, of the villains’ flight back to the Daily Planet, is also used in the Donner Cut. This is followed by a nine-second clip of the villains’ flight from within the Daily Planet; a series of alternate versions appear in the Donner Cut.
Once the villains land in Perry’s office, and Zod states, “The son of Jor-El has fled,” a Lester-directed voiceover for Terence Stamp is used in this and the next two shots. A five-second clip of Luthor saying, “You heard him, three against one…” is included, along with Zod stating, “He fled in fear of us!” The Donner Cut uses alternate takes of these clips. The next shot, a four-second clip of Lois saying, “He’ll be back!” would be recycled for the Donner Cut.

2:03:32 – 2:03:35 (Luthor: “I held up my end, I delivered the blue boy…”) – Lester footage with Donner-directed voiceover (:02). Gene Hackman’s line reading for this sequence is maintained in the theatrical and extended versions, but the footage of the villains is clearly Lester footage. The background set, along with the actors’ hairstyles, is consistent with all of the Lester-replaced footage.

2:03:35 – 2:03:41 (Luthor: “What do I get for my triple threat? Bow, heel, kneel! That kind of stuff closes out of town.”) – Donner footage (:06). An alternate take appears in the Donner Cut.

2:03:41 – 2:03:45 (Zod: “Why do you say this to me when you know I will kill you for it?”) – Lester footage (:04). Lester re-shot this take from the Donner original but maintained the same line reading, as with the next three clips involving the villains.

2:03:45 – 2:03:54 (Luthor: “Kill me… eradicate the only man on Earth with…”) – Donner footage (:09).

2:03:54 – 2:03:56 (Ursa: “Kill him!”) – Lester footage (:02). Lester re-shot this take from the Donner original but maintained the same line reading.

2:03:56 – 2:03:59 (Luthor: “Superman’s address?”) – Donner footage (:03).

2:03:59 – 2:04:03 (Zod: “What do you want? I see the greed written on your face.”) – Lester footage (:04). Lester re-shot this scene from the Donner original.

2:04:03 – 2:04:12 (Luthor: “A small incentive, O Fullest One. A mere bauble to jog the memory…”) – Donner footage (:09). This clip also appears in the Donner Cut.

2:04:12 – 2:04:15 (Zod: “What more?”) – Lester footage (:03). Lester re-shot this take from the Donner original.

2:04:15 – 2:04:18 (Luthor: “Cuba.”) – Donner footage (:03). An alternate take of this shot would be used for the Donner Cut.

2:04:18 – 2:05:13 (Zod orders to go to the Fortress; Ursa takes Lois hostage; flight to the Fortress) – Lester footage (:55). In the audio commentary for the Donner Cut, Mankiewicz takes credit for scripting the line, “Of course not, Your Turbulence!” which would lead some to believe that the flyover may have been filmed by Donner. However, after analyzing the footage of the actors it becomes conclusive that this is indeed a Lester sequence.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – OCTOBER 1977

2:05:13 – 2:05:24 (villains fly over the Arctic and approach the Fortress) – Donner footage (:11). Part of this footage was edited from the ABC telecasts of the extended version for commercial breaks and time constraints. It otherwise appears intact in the theatrical cut, the Canadian and international broadcasts, and the Restored International Cut. The second shot of this two-part clip was edited from the Donner Cut.

2:05:24 – 2:06:40 (arrival at the Fortress; Non can’t break into the Fortress but all three can; flight into the Fortress) – Donner footage (1:16). This sequence appears on the Donner Cut DVD as one of the six deleted scenes cut from the film. The shot of the villains carrying Luthor and Lois into the Fortress is also a Donner shot, as the graininess and lighting of the footage, as well as the set arrangement, clearly do not match the footage that Lester shot. An alternate version of the flight into the Fortress appears in the Donner Cut.

2:06:40 – 2:08:48 (Ursa dumps Luthor; beginning the final confrontation; strange powers; Non and Ursa threaten to rip Lois apart; Luthor slides down) – Lester footage (2:08). This entire confrontation was rewritten and re-shot by Lester in 1979-80, replacing the original Donner take that was shot but not seen until 2006. A close up Ursa and a long shot with her voiceover saying “General?” was inserted into the extended versions, replacing the single shot of Zod saying, “We must combine our strength,” that appears in the theatrical version – more on this later.

2:08:48 – 2:09:18 (Zod’s demands to Superman; Luthor arrives; “We have no more use for this one. Kill him.”) – Lester footage (:29). Terence Stamp’s voice is re-dubbed in the theatrical version, yet it is presented in its natural form in all extended versions. Lester rewrote and reshot these lines from the original Mankiewicz script. In addition, after careful analysis, the shot of Luthor meeting up with Zod is clearly a Lester shot. The remains of the crystal console match up with what Lester had filmed earlier in the sequence, as a later Donner shot of the console appears more sparse than what is in the Lester version. As Ursa holds Lois by the neck, which appears consistent with the Donner version, pay attention to the hairstyles of both Sarah Douglas and Margot Kidder – they are consistent with what is seen earlier in the Lester-filmed shots. Finally, the graininess and whites of the footage are also consistent as in the other Lester clips and not the Donner clips.

SHEPPERTON STUDIOS – MAY 1977

2:09:18 – 2:11:57 (Luthor points at Superman; Non points at Luthor; Luthor negotiates with Superman then double crosses him; Zod orders Superman into the chamber; Lois can’t watch) – Donner footage (2:39). At this point the footage switches to Donner footage for the majority of the sequence at the Fortress. Many of the shots used in the theatrical cut and the various telecasts of the extended versions comprise one of at least two known variations for the sequence. Here the footage begins with Luthor pointing to Superman and asking, “Him?” followed by Non pointing at Luthor. He then says, “General, I helped you through the tough times, remember? I filled your inside straight. You came to me with nothing. I give you Superman!” An alternate version of this dialog is used in the Donner Cut. As Zod descends, listen to his delivery of “Silence!” For the theatrical version Lester used a voiceover for Terence Stamp; the Donner Cut presents the same line but without the voiceover.

Part of the exchange between Luthor and Superman in which Luthor says, “I don’t know what to think anymore. It’s not like the old days, Superman, when it was just you and me…. You were totally honest, and you tried to destroy me, pure and simple. I respected you for that…. I tell you, I’m full of good. I’ve just never used any of it,” appears in all broadcasts of the extended version but not in the theatrical version or the Donner Cut.

Once Luthor betrays Superman, and Superman says, “Luthor, you poisonous snake!” approximately one second of footage of Lois’ reaction was edited from the ABC telecast for time constraints. The theatrical version uses a close-up of Christopher Reeve delivering this line; the Donner Cut uses an alternate take. Much of the footage of Non grabbing Superman, and Zod ordering Ursa to kill Lois, is used in the extended versions and the Donner Cut but not in the theatrical version.

2:11:57 – 2:12:05 (Superman inside crystal chamber) – Lester footage (:08). All inserts of Christopher Reeve inside the crystal chamber were filmed by Lester in 1979-80. There is no way of knowing if Donner filmed any shots of Reeve inside the chamber, though it is believed not to have occurred. Reeve’s hairstyle is consistent with all Lester shots. The Donner Cut replaces these shots with newly-filmed versions – more on this later.

2:12:05 – 2:12:15 (everyone’s reaction outside the chamber: Zod, Luthor, and Non) – Donner footage (:10).

2:12:15 – 2:12:17 (Superman inside crystal chamber) – Lester footage (:02).

2:12:17 – 2:12:20 (reactions outside the chamber; Lois covers her eyes) – Donner footage (:03).

2:12:20 – 2:12:22 (Superman inside crystal chamber) – Lester footage (:02).

2:12:22 – 2:12:27 (outside the chamber; Zod and Luthor watch; Lois reacts) – Donner footage (:05).

2:12:27 – 2:12:33 (chamber door lowers; Superman walks out) – Lester footage (:06).

2:12:33 – 2:14:08 (Superman kneels before Zod; the big switch; villains defeated; Luthor’s reaction as Ursa falls) – Donner footage with some Lester-directed voiceovers (1:35). Once Superman kneels before Zod, pay attention as Zod says, “And now, finally.” This is a Lester-directed voiceover. The Donner Cut uses the same shot but without the voiceover. The theatrical version uses a closer take of Superman lifting Zod over his head; the Donner Cut uses an alternate angle. Also, as Non tries to take off, the theatrical version is one of two takes of this shot to exist; the Donner Cut uses an alternate angle. Finally, as Luthor says, “He did it to them. The lights were on out here, while he was safely in there,” this is one of two takes of the shot to exist; the Donner Cut uses an alternate take.

2:14:08 – 2:14:17 (Superman and Lois embrace; “Are you all right?”) – Lester footage (:09). This footage was originally shot by Donner in May 1977 and re-shot by Lester in 1979-80.

2:14:17 – 2:14:37 (Superman tells Luthor how he couldn’t resist the chance; Luthor tries to negotiate a proposition) – Donner footage (:20). Clips of this footage comprise at least one of two known alternate versions of the sequence to exist; the alternate footage of Superman saying, “Too late, Luthor!” followed by Superman and Lois’ exchange, appear in the Donner Cut.

2:14:37 – 2:14:41 (angle on Superman and Lois as Luthor says, “Now don’t stop me until you’ve heard this…”) – Lester footage (:04). Lester re-shot this take with Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder in 1979-80 and used a voiceover for Gene Hackman in these final shots of Luthor in the film.

2:14:41 – 2:14:45 (Luthor: “I know I owe you one. We’re in the North Pole, right?”) – Donner footage with Lester-directed voiceover (:04). This shot appears in the Donner Cut but without the voiceover.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – OCTOBER 1977

2:14:45 – 2:18:46 (the Arctic Patrol arrests the villains; Superman and Lois fly off together; Superman destroys the Fortress, discusses the end of his relationship with Lois) – Donner footage (4:01).

This entire ending was removed from the theatrical version and replaced with a seven-second shot of Superman and Lois leaving the Fortress, with a Lester-directed voiceover for Luthor saying, “Let’s wipe the slate clean. If you give me a ride back, I promise to turn over a whole new leaf, a tree, or even a whole forest…”, borrowed from the earlier sequence in the film of Luthor negotiating with Zod at the Daily Planet. The theatrical version begins with Ken Thorne’s musical cue “Sad Return” over the shot of Luthor saying, “I know I owe you one, right?”. The theatrical edit implies that Superman has killed the villains, left Luthor stranded at the Fortress, and kept the Fortress intact. This theory obviously supports the Fortress’ appearance in Superman IV, though it is unlikely that Superman would intentionally leave the villains to their death, in direct opposition to the long-standing belief held in the comic books that Superman does not kill.

The first two ABC telecasts of the extended version (in 1984 and 1985) eliminated portions of this sequence during its broadcasts, while the third and final ABC telecast (in 1987) included additional footage of Luthor saying, “Let’s negotiate, five percent!”, followed by a shot of Superman and Lois preparing to fly away. In the final telecast, once Superman destroys the Fortress, he and Lois discuss the end of their relationship. Part of this dialog exchange was included in the Donner Cut, though a portion of dialog where Lois says, “I’d be buying my personal little rainbow at the cost of all those people who would say, ‘Help, come quick, now.’ You think I don’t understand that? It’s the old eternal triangle, but in this case I have all of humanity waiting in the next room.”, was not included in the Donner Cut.

The first half of this sequence was also included on the Donner Cut DVD as one of the deleted scenes, while the remainder of the sequence involving the destruction of the Fortress and the breakup would appear in the context of the Donner Cut, with a few added flying shots, a visual effects shot of Superman using his heat vision to destroy the Fortress, and an insert shot of the Fortress melting away under the water.

2:18:46 – 2:19:08 (Superman and Lois fly over Metropolis) – Lester footage (:22). While the visual for this sequence appears in both the theatrical and the various extended versions, there are some substantial differences. In the theatrical cut, a Lester-directed voiceover for Reeve and Kidder replaces the sequence described next, of Lois telling Superman, “You don’t have to worry, I’m not going to tell anyone who you really are.”, and Superman responding, “I know, Lois, I know.” These lines were lifted from Mankiewicz’s original script. In the various telecasts of the extended version, these two lines are omitted, while re-tracked music from the cues “Clark Exposed as Superman” and “To Bed / Mount Rushmore / Sweet Dreams” underscores the scene.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – CIRCA NOVEMBER 1977

2:19:08 – 2:20:39 (Superman returns Lois to her apartment then flies off) – Donner footage (1:31). The extended footage that appears here is the original Donner take for the scene, which is also utilized in the 2006 Donner Cut, but with an additional insert shot. For the extended version, one take of Lois saying, “You don’t have to worry. Your secret’s safe with me. I’m not going to tell anyone who you really are,” is included here – the Donner Cut uses an alternate take (more on this later). For the theatrical version, only the final 22 seconds of the sequence are used, along with a Lester-directed voiceover of Margot Kidder saying, “See you later.”

2:20:39 – 2:25:46 (end of Lois and Clark’s relationship; the super kiss; life returns to normal) – Lester footage (5:07). Because the original ending to Superman II had been shepherded to the climax of STM, neither Donner nor Mankiewicz had time to create a new ending for the film. Had they remained on the production, the ending that they would have devised would have apparently been vastly different than the Lester-created version seen here. This ending also replaces the original coda at the Daily Planet, where Lois asks Clark to get her a pizza.
PINEWOOD STUDIOS – JUNE 1977, OCTOBER 1977

2:25:46 – 2:28:23 (Clark and Jimmy; Clark’s run-in with the bald bully; Clark returns to the diner and beats up Rocky) – Donner footage (2:37). The added shot of Clark and Jimmy, seen in the different extended versions in its entirety, also appears as one of the deleted scenes on the Donner Cut DVD.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – 22 FEBRUARY 1980

2:28:23 – 2:28:49 (Superman returns the flag to the White House) – Donner shot nothing in Washington, D.C. or Niagara Falls. His production on SII was halted before this was to happen so both exterior shots of the White House are either stock, Lester directed or Lester 2nd unit. A still frame (with a cloudy blue sky matted into the top portion – look at the fountain…it is frozen!) of the White House is used as a background plate for a Lester-directed model shot of Superman returning the American flag to the White House. (Lester footage –:26)

2:28:49 – 2:29:08 (Superman flies over the Earth) – Donner footage (:19). The first portion of the signature flyover is lifted from the first film, while the second portion of Superman’s close-up is an alternate take of Christopher Reeve, screen-compressed for the extended versions to fit within the confines of the television screen to account for the compression of the end credits on screen. This close-up is one of four known versions of the shot – the first one was seen at the end of STM and recycled for Superman IV; the third one was seen at the end of Superman III; and the fourth one was used at the end of “The Making of Superman: The Movie” TV documentary. The ABC telecast of the extended versions removes the close-up for time constraints.

2:29:08 – 2:33:40 (end credits) – Utilizes the credits seen in the theatrical version and a pair of alternate credits in the extended telecasts, to account for Michael Clifford’s participation as the musical editor for the TV broadcasts and for the additional product sponsors for the film. In the ABC telecast the credit “Coming Soon: Superman III” is removed for time constraints. The theatrical cut contains title cards not seen in the extended version and vice versa. (4:32)

CapedWonder.com.

Time sequence of footage from “Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut”

This analysis covers all of the footage as seen in Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut. This includes any and all deleted scenes not used in the final version of the film. Along the way, I will reference specific scenes with Richard Lester-directed shots, extensions, or backgrounds, as well as those scenes with missing trims utilized in the extended versions or the original theatrical version. I will also note specific differences in footage seen in both the Donner and Lester versions. All times listed are taken from the time code from the DVD’s presentation and may not accurately reflect the final time sequence of the indicated footage.

0:00:00 – 0:00:58 – introductory title cards; WB logo; DC Comics logo; Christopher Reeve tribute cards. (:58)

0:00:58 – 0:06:58 (Krypton; recap of trial; the Phantom Zone; Superman and Lex Luthor; chasing the rocket, pushing it into the sky) – Donner footage (6:00). This introductory montage combines footage from STM, alternate angles not seen in the film, and footage and newly completed visual effects for Superman II. The close-ups of Non and Zod during the trial, followed by a pair of unreleased three-shots of the villains, are alternate takes. Donner and Michael Thau re-edited the sequence by including these alternate angles into the existing scenes.

The brief shot of the Phantom Zone flying away from Krypton just prior to the planet’s explosion combines the existing plate of the Phantom Zone with the background plate of Krypton and its sun (used in the shot when baby Kal-El’s starship flies away from Krypton). An additional two-shot of the starship flying past the Phantom Zone and the villains was first seen in 1982 in the extended TV broadcast on ABC and was incorporated into the special edition DVD of STM released in 2001. The footage inside the Phantom Zone was filmed circa 1977-78, and production footage from this sequence can be seen in the documentary “The Magic Behind the Cape” (included in the 2001 and 2006 special edition DVD releases of STM). New CGI animation rounds out the Phantom Zone’s journey through space.

The narration Jor-El provides to his son about the red, yellow, and blue blankets is an audio outtake recorded in 1977 and incorporated into the recap of Kal-El’s journey to Earth. The two close-up shots of baby Kal-El are flipped from their original presentation in the first film. When the starship lands on Earth, a new CGI effect is inserted to highlight the ship’s landing. This is followed by a new outtake of baby Kal-El pushing the top of the starship off and emerging from the ship.

Once the recap of the missiles flying off their trajectory, and of Luthor tossing Superman into the pool, are completed, a new visual effects shot of the Phantom Zone flying through space is inserted, followed by several alternate takes of Miss Teschmacher saving Superman and hurling the Kryptonite necklace away. Once Superman has caught the missile and begins to push it away, a previously unreleased clip of Superman pushing the missile through the sky is used. (This is an alternate version of a clip used in the extended TV version of STM.)

0:06:58 – 0:07:00 (Superman pushes the missile into outer space) – Donner/Thau/Lester hybrid (:02). While the foreground element of Superman pushing the missile away from Earth is a new visual effect overseen by Donner and Thau, the background plate of the Earth and sun is lifted from Lester’s theatrical version of Superman II.

0:07:00 – 0:08:25 (pushing the missile away; burnout and explosion; “Free!”) – Donner/Thau footage (1:25). The first two shots of Superman and the missile are outtakes shot during production of STM, which then cuts back to tracked footage of Superman pushing the missile away. The final shot of Superman and the missile, also tracked from STM, is slowed down to place the emphasis on the missile. The shot of the missile soaring through space, followed by its burnout, are newly completed visual effects shot. (If you look carefully at the new CGI effect of the missile, you might spot a slight blooper – the missile is mislabeled XK-10, instead of the original XK-101 marking as seen in STM.)

The effects shot of the missile drifting through space, followed by its explosion, was filmed in January 1978; the production footage of these effects can be seen in the restoration documentary on the Donner Cut DVD. This footage, combined with the freeing of the Phantom Zone villains, is combined with new background plates and CGI effects to complete the sequence as originally written by Tom Mankiewicz and intended for the cliffhanger ending of STM (which was ultimately scrapped). It was believed for many years that this footage did not exist; however, it was not until 2001 that some on-set production clips were used in “The Magic Behind the Cape” for the Superman: The Movie special edition DVD release.

0:08:25 – 0:11:46 (main title credits) – The newly animated main title credits primarily restore Marlon Brando and Richard Donner’s names to the credits, removes Susannah York’s name altogether, and preserves the remainder of the cast credits as seen in the original theatrical version of the film, as well as the production credits as seen in STM. Michael Thau’s name is added after Stuart Baird’s for the film editor credit – Baird had edited much of the original Donner footage for Superman II, though John Victor-Smith received sole editorial credit on the final theatrical version of II. The background plates are a combination of new visual effects and vintage effects from 1978, accompanied by new animation for the title cards. (3:21)

E STAGE, PINEWOOD STUDIOS – JUNE 1977

NEW YORK CITY – 11 JULY 1977

0:11:46 – 0:17:15 (Metropolis; Lois’ scoop; testing her theory) – Donner footage (5:29). The shot of Earth seen after the end of the title credits is lifted from the first film, which is then followed by an establishing shot of the pre-9/11 New York City skyline. The street shot of the fruit cart and the Daily Planet was originally used in the Lester version of II. All interior footage in the Daily Planet was shot in 1977, and much evidence supporting the filming of this sequence would appear over the years in production footage, props, and still photographs.

New visual effects were combined with the existing footage to complete the illusion of Lois falling from the Daily Planet, along with a newly matted effect of Lois falling against the background plate of the Daily Planet. A new heat vision effect was included to give the illusion of Clark using his heat vision to open up the awning under the Daily Planet sign. There is also a slight audio error in this scene – if you watch and listen very carefully to Clark saying, “Lois, what have you done?”, the voiceover used for the shot does not match up with Christopher Reeve’s own voice. You’ll also see that Clark is actually not in Perry’s office, but in the window just outside of Perry’s office that he jumped out of in search of Lex Luthor in STM, which, of course, is a continuity issue since from the inside of the Daily Planet building he is seen looking out of Perry’s office window – the same window Lois jumped from.
Interestingly enough, on the audio commentary for the theatrical version of II, Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler claim that this scene was used in the various TV broadcasts of the extended version. This is obviously not the case.

0:17:15 – 0:17:20 (exterior prison shot) – The same stock footage that was used to introduce the first prison sequence in the theatrical version appears again for the Donner Cut, neither filmed by Donner nor by Lester. Its earliest known appearance is in the 1970’s TV series SOAP – confirmed by Alex Serpa. For the Donner Cut a new sound effect of a prison alarm is utilized.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – OCTOBER 1977

0:17:20 – 0:19:55 (Luthor and Otis in prison; the black box; “Slasher Fogelstein is a bed-wetter.”) – Donner footage (2:35). We now come to the first scene in the film that combines takes from three different sources – the original theatrical version, footage seen in the extended TV broadcasts, and a previously unreleased alternate take – into one form. The establishing shot of the prison, followed by the introduction of Luthor and Otis, their discussion of locating Superman’s vulnerable point, and the first mention of the black box, are all sourced from the takes used in the original theatrical version of II. The only changes to this footage are in the voiceovers for the prison guard (“Life plus 25, Luthor. Get to work.”) and in the prisoner with the Liberace record (“Tonight?”), which were re-dubbed by Lester in the original theatrical cut. The Donner Cut possibly restores their natural voices as recorded on set, although there is some controversy regarding this statement – some believe that the two changes (along with the “I answer only to the President” line) look and sound redubbed for the Donner Cut. Alex Serpa states, “If you listen closely before any of these lines are delivered, a slight hiss comes into the audio track then dials out after its delivery. So either they were redubbed yet again for the DC, or the surrounding dialogue was dubbed. And why would the ‘I answer only to the President’ line be redubbed for the Donner Cut when there was no need except to make it different to Lester’s?”

The shot of Luthor discussing the black box and pasta e fagioli is an alternate take that is slightly different in pacing yet similar in length to the version used in the extended TV broadcasts; the theatrical version uses a shorter take minus the pasta e fagioli reference. The difference is in how Gene Hackman delivers his line describing the function of the black box – in the theatrical version he says, “That little black box goes beyond any conventional radar.” In the extended TV broadcasts he says, “That little black box, Otis, goes beyond any known conventional radar.” In the Donner Cut he delivers the line as, “That little black box goes beyond any normal conventional radar.” Also, Ned Beatty’s delivery of “With garlic, Mr. Luthor, and butter…” is different in both versions of the take used in the extended TV broadcast and the Donner Cut. The final clip involving Slasher Fogelstein is the same take used in the extended TV broadcasts.

0:19:55 – 0:20:29 (introduction to Houston Control; contacting Artemis II) – Lester footage with Donner/Thau-supervised audio effects (:34). We now come to the first of several clips filmed by Richard Lester in 1979-80 that are used in the Donner Cut, as it sets up the lunar attack sequence as originally filmed by Donner in October 1977. The difference here lies with the background voiceovers and sound effects which were newly recorded for the Donner Cut.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – OCTOBER 1977

0:20:29 – 0:20:48 (lunar surface; astronaut’s mission; “Boris and I are engaged.”) – Donner footage (:19).

0:20:48 – 0:20:51 (“I had a feeling about you guys when I saw your Rorschach tests.”) – Lester footage (:03).

0:20:51 – 0:21:19 (Nate spots Ursa, tells Houston about a possible UFO) – Donner footage (:28).

0:21:19 – 0:21:21 (“Unidentified?”) – Lester footage (:02).

0:21:21 – 0:21:27 (Nate: “A lot like… like a girl.”) – Donner footage (:06).

0:21:27 – 0:21:30 (controller glances around) – Lester footage (:03).

0:21:30 – 0:23:58 (villains attack and kill the astronauts) – Donner footage (2:28). This sequence runs eight seconds shorter than what appears in the theatrical version. First, a two-second insert shot of Ursa descending just before landing in front of the astronaut was excised from the Donner Cut. Next, during Zod’s attack on Boris, once Boris falls before Zod, a short clip of Boris bouncing a second time before landing in front of Zod is excised. Finally, when Zod pulls the oxygen cord from Boris’ suit, the time between the shots has decreased. In the original theatrical version Zod pulls the cord twice; in the Donner Cut he pulls it only once. A new sound mix for the explosion of the lunar module is included in the Donner Cut.

0:23:58 – 0:24:18 (Houston Control loses contact; “Who’s using the hairdryer?”) – Lester/Donner footage (:20). This version of the final Houston Control scenes is shorter than what appears in the original theatrical version and the extended versions. Here, the scene starts with a shot of video monitor static that reappears later in the sequence. The scene then continues as in the original theatrical version, ending with the comment, “Artemis, come in, please.”. The “girl versus curl” discussion from the theatrical and extended versions is cut from the scene altogether and replaced with a second appearance of the video static. The scene then ends with the comment, “Who’s using the hairdryer?”, as it appears in the extended version. Donner footage from the inside of the lunar module appears on the monitors in all versions of the film.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – OCTOBER 1977

0:24:18 – 0:25:03 (villains discuss their powers, go to Earth) – Donner footage (:45). This sequence plays exactly as in the original theatrical version, but with a slight Thau alteration: When the villains fly away from the moon, the film image seems to turn at a 90-degree angle. This is a CGI alteration of the film’s original image to give the illusion of flight, whereas in the original theatrical version the image remains fairly static. (The ten-second extension of Ursa wanting “Men… to kill!” is not included in the Donner Cut or the theatrical version, only in the extended versions.)

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – OCTOBER 1977

E STAGE, PINEWOOD STUDIOS – SEPTEMBER 1977

0:25:03 – 0:29:46 (holographic prisoners; Luthor and Otis escape from prison; Otis recaptured; Luthor and Miss Teschmacher head north in balloon) – Donner footage (4:43). This version of Luthor’s escape from prison is similar to the version seen in the original theatrical and extended TV versions, but with a number of differences both major and subtle. First, the introductory establishing shot of the Metropolis skyline is cut from the scene. The sequence begins at the prison with the close-up of the guards and guard dogs. The voiceover of the prison guard ordering the prisoners to turn out their lights is included over the shot, whereas in the original version of the shot it begins with the prison guard saying, “380 out…”. Once he discovers that Luthor and Otis have escaped from their cell, he passes in front of the holographic camera twice – in the Donner Cut this second pass is cut from the scene.

The added clip of Luthor and Otis sneaking outside the prison walls is the same as seen in the extended TV versions. Once Otis begins climbing up the ladder to the balloon, the added insert shot of Otis (seen in the extended version) is included, minus the voiceover of Miss Teschmacher’s groans, but including the first usage of Luthor saying, “Get off!”

The added clip of Otis being captured by the guards is the same as it appears in the extended TV versions but without the voiceover of the guard asking him, “You never give up trying, do you? Where’s Luthor?” The shot of the balloon floating over the prison wall, as seen in the theatrical version, was omitted from the Donner Cut. The final shot of Otis saying, “I think I hurt myself,” which appears in the extended TV versions, is not included in the Donner Cut.

The balloon sequence involving Luthor and Miss Teschmacher is similar to the original version seen in the theatrical and extended versions, but with additional dialog. This alternate take is presented at night, whereas in the previous version the scene was set in daytime. This version in the Donner Cut preserves the amended scene as scripted by Tom Mankiewicz on 26 June 1977. A new nighttime background plate completes the visual effects for the scene.

NIAGARA FALLS – SEPTEMBER 1979

0:29:46 – 0:30:32 (Niagara Falls; Lois and Clark at Honeymoon Haven) – Lester footage (:46). This scene is the same as the version presented in the theatrical version but trimmed down significantly. Only the first 46 seconds of the scene are preserved in the Donner Cut; everything else in the hotel room has been entirely cut from the film. In addition, the background music scored by Ken Thorne has been removed from the Donner Cut and replaced with the Thorne musical cue “Relaxing at Niagara”.

0:30:32 – 0:30:43 (Arctic flyover) – Lester footage (:11). This was shot by Lester’s second unit in Norway.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – OCTOBER 1977

007 STAGE, SHEPPERTON STUDIOS – MAY 1977

0:30:43 – 0:37:55 (Luthor and Miss Teschmacher to Fortress; first appearance of Jor-El; history of the Phantom Zone) – Donner/Lester footage (7:12). We now come to one of the most heavily re-edited sequences in the entire film and the first of Marlon Brando’s three scenes for Superman II. This version, while similar in approach to the version presented in the theatrical cut and extended versions, greatly differs in many ways, chief among them the inclusion of the first Brando footage. While the majority of the sequence is Donner footage shot in 1977 and completed by Donner and Thau circa 2005-06, a four-second clip of borrowed footage from Lester’s version appears during the sequence, which I will reference later. In order to examine this sequence properly, we must break it down shot by shot to analyze the changes.

When the scene begins at the 0:30:32 mark, it begins exactly the same as in the Lester version, with a borrowed clip of the Arctic Circle from the first film. It then continues with a pair of long shots of Luthor and Miss Teschmacher traveling to the Fortress in the snowmobile. This scene runs a few seconds shorter than in the theatrical and extended versions, with some minor trim work removing slight footage where Luthor waves his arm to point to Miss Teschmacher which way to go. While the Lester-directed voiceovers are the same, the middle portion of the voiceovers – where Miss Teschmacher asks, “Ice and snow, is this your idea of a good time?” followed by Luthor’s reply “A good time? Is that all you care about?” – is removed from the Donner Cut (as with the various extended versions). However the third portion of the voiceovers, where Luthor orders, “North, Miss Teschmacher! North, north, north, north!” has been relocated to just before the end of the first shot.

At the 0:30:54 mark in the sequence we now have the first extended clips utilized, of Luthor and Miss Teschmacher’s approach to the Fortress, the first of which was seen in the Canadian and international broadcasts and the second in the edited ABC telecasts. (This first clip was not seen in the ABC telecasts, as the sequence was heavily edited for time constraints.)

At the 0:31:03 mark the footage switches to a pair of shots seen in the Canadian and international broadcasts, of the snowmobile’s descent into the Arctic waters and its transformation into a floating snowmobile. This footage, along with the previous clips, is part of a longer version of the sequence presented as one of six deleted scenes on the Donner Cut DVD, as well as on the Restored International Cut DVD – more on this later.

The next shot, seen at the 0:31:13 mark, is a shot originally used in the theatrical cut with a Lester-directed voiceover for both Luthor and Miss Tescmacher. The voiceovers were removed from the extended versions as well as the Donner Cut.

From there, at the 0:31:19 mark we have a scene of Luthor and Miss Teschmacher getting out of the snowmobile, talking outside the Fortress, and looking for the entrance to the Fortress. This footage was also used in the Canadian and international broadcasts of the extended versions.
The scene then changes at the 0:32:11 mark to a longer alternate version of Luthor and Miss Teschmacher entering into the main cavern of the Fortress. This entrance clip is longer than the version seen in the theatrical and extended versions, which uses a distant shot of Luthor and Miss Teschmacher at the edge of the Fortress entrance. This alternate version also includes a sweeping panoramic look at the interior of the Fortress.

At 0:32:21 the two-shot of Luthor exclaiming, “It’s fantastic!” appears as it did in the theatrical and extended versions.

At 0:32:28 it then goes into a longer 14-second alternate version of Luthor musing, “The construction goes beyond any known architectural theory.” It is then followed by an unused distant shot trim. This is one of two known variants of this shot to exist, the other appearing in the theatrical and extended versions.

At 0:32:42 the shot of Luthor and Miss Teschmacher descending down the steps is used. This is the same shot as used in the theatrical and extended versions but without the Lester-directed voiceovers; the dialog in this shot appears in its natural on-set form.

At 0:33:03 we then see an added shot of Miss Teschmacher commenting on how she finds the Fortress boring. This added shot appears as it did in the extended versions.

At the 0:33:18 mark the two-shot of Luthor and Miss Teschmacher approaching the crystal console, followed by her picking up one of the crystals and his inserting the crystal into the console, is used as it appeared in the theatrical and extended versions. Only the Lester-directed voiceover “This looks like some kind of control panel” has been removed from the Donner Cut.

At 0:33:43 the first time we see Jor-El on screen in the film, the shot begins with an alternate close-up of Luthor and Miss Teschmacher looking up at the hologram. The shot was newly composited and completed in 2006.

At 0:33:55 we have a three-second clip of Luthor and Miss Teschmacher looking at Jor-El. This shot appeared in the original theatrical and extended versions as is.

We then continue at the 0:33:58 mark with more new footage of Jor-El talking. At the 0:34:21 mark an alternate version of Luthor stating, “He’s not here. It’s a voice from the past, but it’s cute, very cute,” is used. At least two known takes of this shot exists, the other version appearing in the original theatrical and extended versions.

At 0:34:28 we then have more new Jor-El footage as Brando narrates the first two lines of Joyce Kilmer’s poem “Trees”. An alternate version of Luthor taking out the crystal, followed by Miss Teschmacher’s reply of “I like ‘Trees’,” appears at 0:35:04 – again, this makes two known versions of the shot to exist, the other version appearing in the original theatrical and extended versions.

At 0:35:11 the next portion of Jor-El’s dialog begins, his narration of the history of the Phantom Zone. At 0:35:27 we see a brief alternate version of Luthor telling Miss Teschmacher, “Now this I want to hear.” This alternate version is one of two known versions of the shot to exist, the other version appearing in the original theatrical and extended versions. The scene continues at 0:35:30 with more new Brando footage.

At 0:35:43 we have a longer alternate version of Luthor stating, “Criminals,” followed by Miss Teschmacher’s response, “Deviants. He had it right the first time.” In the original theatrical and extended versions, a different shorter take of the shot is used along with a Lester-directed voiceover saying, “Criminals… my kind of people.”

At 0:35:48 the new footage continues of Jor-El’s description of the three villains’ havoc on Krypton. At 0:36:05 we then see the projections of Non reaching out, followed by Ursa placing her hand on Non’s arm to get him to stop, followed by Ursa’s close-up. This footage is taken from a longer master outtake of the villains’ trial on Krypton as seen in STM. The key indicator is the angle of Ursa’s close-up, as it is framed the same as it appears in STM. These images were roto-scoped from the master outtake from the first film.

At 0:36:17 we have a new four-second shot of Luthor and Miss Teschmacher. Then at 0:36:21 we see the projection of Zod. This footage is taken from the Lester version of II and roto-scoped from the original footage. This is followed at 0:36:28 with a new 19-second clip of Luthor commenting on the end of the battle, “Kind of an anti-climax.”

At 0:36:46 we have a new alternate take of Luthor commenting, “Sensible enough.” As with other shots in this sequence, this is one of two known versions of the take to exist – the other appears in the theatrical and extended versions. At 0:36:49 we then see a new overhead shot of the criminals as they are sentenced to the Phantom Zone. This appears to be an unused outtake from STM.

At 0:36:52 we have a seven-second clip of the villains being sent to the Phantom Zone. This footage was lifted from STM, and the image of the villains inside the Phantom Zone was roto-scoped from the original master footage from STM.

At 0:36:59 we see the final portion of Jor-El’s speech about the Phantom Zone, followed by his disappearance at the end of the interactive discussion. Oddy, Miss Teschmacher has completely disappeared from the scene. Her disappearance can be explained in the Donner footage used in the theatrical version, once Luthor asks, “No possibility for parole?” Once Lara (in the theatrical version) says, “The Phantom Zone might, just might, be cracked by a nuclear explosion in space,” we clearly see Miss Teschmacher stepping away. These Donner clips were not used, oddly enough, in the Donner Cut.

At this point I must reference that some additional dialog involving Luthor appears in the theatrical and extended versions. These four shots were not utilized in the Donner Cut. If the Brando dialog for this portion of the scene exists, it was cut for one of a number of reasons:

1. The Brando footage of his lines for this portion of the scene doesn’t exist anymore;

2. The Brando footage was located but not in any shape for completion and usage in the Donner Cut; or,

3. Michael Thau may have located the footage, but he and Donner may have deemed this portion of the dialog superfluous to Brando’s discussion of the Phantom Zone and therefore wanted to distance the Donner Cut as far as possible from the Lester theatrical version.

Whatever the reason, said Brando footage remains unaccounted for as of this writing.
At 0:37:18 we have a new alternate version of Luthor musing about the Kryptonian villains. This is one of three known versions of the shot to exist. The original theatrical version uses a short take of Luthor stating, “Three… count them, three super villains, each one with the same power he has.” This shorter take uses a Lester-directed voiceover that continues into the concluding exterior two-shot. The extended versions use a longer alternate take with the same dialog but ends with Luthor stating, “She found it.” In this third alternate version Gene Hackman accidentally fumbles his line by reversing a few words, stating, “It’s too true to be good.” Also, if you listen very carefully, you’ll clearly hear a very non-Kryptonian toilet flush in the Fortress! (Was this intentional or a blooper?)

(Site note: In 2000 I received an e-mail forwarded to me from Mike Matessino, in which he asked an interesting question: “What’s with all the urination jokes? When in doubt, resort to toilet humor.” Apparently this is a running gag conceived by Donner and Mankiewicz for the film.)

NIAGARA FALLS – SEPTEMBER 1979

0:37:55 – 0:41:02 (Lois and Clark at Niagara Falls; Superman saves boy from falling; “Hello and goodbye.”) – Lester footage (3:07). This follows very closely to the version that appears in the theatrical and extended versions but with a few variances. As the sequence begins, Lois asks, “Where’s Jimmy Olsen when I need him?” It starts exactly in the same place as the ABC telecast of the extended version; the introductory shots of Niagara Falls and the tourists have been removed from the Donner Cut. The Ken Thorne score has been replaced with borrowed tracks from John Williams’ score – specifically, “Arrival on Earth”, “The Mugger”, and “Helicopter Rescue”. There are also some new voiceovers and sound effects mixed into the sequence.

At 0:40:11 the shot of Superman flying into Niagara Falls has been electronically sped up from its original usage in the theatrical and extended versions. In addition, the shots of Lois saying, “Way to go, Superman!” and Superman catching the boy have been reversed for the Donner Cut. The sequence ends with Lois saying, “Well, hello and goodbye.” The remainder of the sequence has been edited from the Donner Cut.

0:41:02 – 0:41:58 (Kryptonian villains arrive on Earth; Zod walks on water) – Lester footage (:56). The footage appears identical to the shots in the Lester version but with replaced music and sound effects.

SHEPPERTON STUDIOS – 1 FEBRUARY, 24 APRIL 1977

0:41:59 – 0:46:28 (Lois tricks Clark into becoming Superman) – Donner footage (5:29). This sequence was assembled together from two different screen tests shot in 1977, as the actual version of the scene was never filmed. In Christopher Reeve’s screen tests, dated 1 February 1977, his hair is obviously slicked back, and his glasses are different. In Margot Kidder’s screen test, dated 24 April 1977, Reeve’s hair is much longer, and he is wearing the larger, rounder glasses that he wore in the films. By this time Reeve had acquired his glasses from optician Ellen Savage from New York. In addition, Kidder’s hair is shorter and brunette, as opposed to the black hair she had for the first two films. These screen tests were originally featured on the special edition DVD release of STM in 2001 and 2006, and another portion was included in the 2006 documentary “Look! Up in the Sky – The Amazing Story of Superman”.

0:46:28 – 0:47:09 (Ursa kills the snake; “We all have them, my dear.”) – Lester footage (:41). This sequence of the villains’ arrival on Earth was divided into two parts for the Donner Cut. For this second portion, once Ursa throws down the snake, a couple of frames just prior to Ursa using her heat vision have been trimmed to speed the action. The remainder of the sequence, with Non attempting to use heat vision, was edited from the film.

0:47:09 – 0:47:58 (Superman and Lois fly to Fortress; “I live in the city about three blocks from you.”) – Lester/Donner footage (:49). This sequence appears as it did in the theatrical version. At the 0:47:35 mark, once Superman and Lois arrive at the Fortress, a Donner-directed background plate of the Fortress is used. No alternations were made to the footage, though the Ken Thorne cue “Lovers Fly North” was replaced with John Williams’ music from “The Flying Sequence” (which Thorne used as the basis for “Lovers Fly North”).

SHEPPERTON STUDIOS – MAY 1977

0:47:58 – 0:48:01 (interior shot of the Fortress; “This is a very special place for me.”) – Donner footage with Lester-directed voiceover (:03). This interior shot of the Fortress is consistent with all Donner footage shot for the first two films. The voiceover of Superman saying, “This is a very special place for me,” was supervised by Lester in 1979-90. No alterations were made to this footage.

0:48:01 – 0:48:16 (“I wanted you to see it… come on, let me show you.”) – Lester footage (:15). No alterations were made to this footage.

GALLUP, NEW MEXICO – JUNE 1978

0:48:16 – 0:48:28 (flyover shot of the mountains) – Donner footage (:12). This footage was used as the background plate for Superman’s flight to the wrecked remains of Lois car as seen in STM; confirmed by Mike Matessino.

0:48:28 – 0:49:50 (sheriff and deputy encounter the villains) – Lester footage (1:12). This sequence is edited from the original version that appears in the theatrical cut. The introductory dialog has been trimmed, as the scene starts with the sheriff and deputy approaching the villains, followed by the deputy’s line, “I don’t know. From the looks of them I’ll bet ten dollars they’re from Los Angeles.” An insert shot of the sheriff placing his hat on the dashboard appears next (borrowed from earlier in the scene). A new sound effect of the police siren is used as the police car stops in front of the villains, which ends when the sheriff says, “Did I hear that right?”

Part of the dialog where the sheriff encourages the deputy to “kick ass if you want to be a peacemaker is edited from the sequence, along with part of the shot where the sheriff encourages the deputy to take charge. New sound effects for the heat vision and the shotgun blast are used here. Once Zod shoots himself with the shotgun, the sequence ends after the sheriff and deputy’s reaction, the remainder of the sequence edited from the Donner Cut. (Despite some who claim stunt doubles were used for the sequence, there were, in fact, no stunt doubles at all.)

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – 18 OCTOBER 1979

0:49:50 – 0:50:47 (Superman and Lois eat dinner; Superman declares his feelings for Lois, takes her hand) – Lester footage (:57). New sound effects for the scene include the cork popping off the champagne bottle and the glasses clinking. Footage prior to Superman saying, “Not to me it isn’t,” has been slightly trimmed. As he says, “For the first time in my life…” the footage has been trimmed, and the dialog from that shot is inserted over the close-up of Lois. The scene ends as Superman and Lois hold hands; the remainder of the sequence has been edited from the Donner Cut. At 0:50:46, dialog from the next sequence is used to introduce the upcoming scene.

0:50:47 – 0:52:27 (news report; villains’ attack in East Houston; “I haven’t seen the likes of this since Superman.”) – Lester footage (1:40). The sequence begins very similar to what was seen in the theatrical cut, though the first few frames of footage of the TV satellite and the news anchor saying, “Good morning, America…” has been edited from the Donner Cut. The reporter’s questions toward Zod, Ursa’s comments, and Non using his heat vision to fire on the army jeep are all seen as in the original theatrical cut, with modifications to the music and sound effects. Once the Army jeep steers out of control, Non’s second heat vision blast and the jeep’s crash through the building are edited from the Donner Cut. It then abruptly jumps to the shot of the crashed jeep atop a car and the Army officer stumbling out. The voiceover for the actor saying, “Are you all right, buddy?” has been removed from the Donner Cut.

When the Army officers use their flame gun on Zod, a new CGI effect of the flames emerging from the gun, followed by Zod blowing the flames into the nearby bar, is inserted into the Donner Cut over the animation used in the theatrical and extended versions. Once this shot occurs, the footage up to the point of the reporter’s comments has been removed from the Donner Cut.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – JUNE 1977

0:52:27 – 0:52:46 (White House reaction to the villains’ attack) – Donner footage (:19). No alterations were made to this sequence.

0:52:46 – 0:53:49 (officers fire missile on Non; Army helicopter attacks Zod; Ursa blows a kiss; “Is there no one on this planet to even challenge me?”) – Lester footage (1:03). The first part of this sequence, of the Army officers firing on the villains, is edited from the Donner Cut, as the sequence begins with Non in an Army officer’s target sight. Once Non catches the missile and crushes it, footage of the Army helicopter approaching the villains, and the Army officer’s order, “Clear the area! Clear it!” has been cut from the film, as the shot begins with the helicopter firing on Zod. After the blasts occur, footage of Ursa walking over to Zod, and the Army officer stating, “The rockets don’t have any effect!” is cut from the film. A shot of Ursa blowing a kiss to the helicopter has been divided into two parts here. Part of the helicopter being blown off course, followed by the establishing shot of the building it will crash into, has also been cut from the film. When the helicopter crashes into the building, the footage has been sped up to intensify the sequence. Once the explosion occurs, two shots of Ursa’s gleeful smile and the remains of the explosion have also been cut from the film.

0:53:49 – 0:54:08 (Superman and Lois asleep in bed) – Lester footage (:19). This two-shot is similar to what appears in the theatrical and extended versions; however the second shot of Lois opening and closing her eyes is an unused Lester outtake that replaces the original shot of the camera pulling back to show Clark kissing Lois’ forehead. This sequence’s placement at this point in the film is the most significant alteration from the Lester cut, as it occurs prior to Superman sacrificing his powers for Lois. This scene’s placement at this point retroactively justifies the plot revelation in Superman Returns that Superman is indeed the father of Lois’ son Jason.

0:54:08 – 0:54:59 (Zod makes his declarations) – Lester footage (:51). The only differences between this version of the sequence and its original version in the theatrical and extended versions are in the voiceovers and music. Once Zod says, “Your very lives will gladly be given in tribute to me…” the end part of his voiceover (“…General Zod.”) has been removed from the Donner Cut. In addition, the Lester-directed voiceover for the Army general stating, “I answer only to the President!” has been removed from the Donner Cut, restoring the actor’s natural voice. The excerpt from John Williams’ “Destruction of Krypton” cue replaces Ken Thorne’s cue “Zod Meets General”.

0:54:59 – 0:55:12 (villains destroy the Washington Monument; White House reaction) – Reiner/Donner/Thau footage (:13). The destruction of the Washington Monument, as awkward as its placement is at this point in the film, is a new visual effects piece supervised by Donner and Thau, replacing the villains’ destruction of Mount Rushmore in the theatrical and extended versions. The original background plate of Washington, D.C. first appeared in Rob Reiner’s 1992 film A Few Good Men. This short insert is intended to convey the sense of the villains’ menace in conquering the world, as written in the Tom Mankiewicz script from April 1977. The end part of the effects footage is superimposed over the TV in the White House, which is Donner footage lifted from earlier in the film.

SHEPPERTON STUDIOS – MAY 1977

0:55:12 – 1:00:13 (Jor-El counsels Superman about giving up his powers) – Donner footage (5:01). The first 12 seconds of this sequence is an outtake of the Fortress set lifted from STM. The remainder of the sequence, featuring the second of Marlon Brando’s three scenes for the film, was newly completed with digital compositing. Over the years a number of still photographs from the sequence appeared in different forms of media, which clearly dispute initial beliefs that the scene had not been filmed. Music from “The Fortress of Solitude”, “Destruction of Krypton”, and “The Dome Opens (Alternate)” complete the sequence. This sequence further completes the father/son relationship referenced in STM and replaces the more awkward mother/son discussion used in the theatrical version of II.

During this sequence we also see an obvious body double wearing a latex mask resembling Christopher Reeve. This same body double appears toward the end of the film in the shot of Superman reversing the villains’ power loss in the Fortress. To this day Michael Thau has not acknowledged who doubled for Reeve in these shots and has remained unavailable for comment. In July 2014 Scott Cranford (who appeared as Superman at numerous Superman Celebrations in Metropolis, Illinois) revealed on Facebook that he was one of two candidates who tested for the part. “I received a call from the woman who was hired as the Lois Lane double when this project was shooting,” Cranford posted on the official CapedWonder Facebook page. “She set up a meeting for me to audition for this at the WB. The audition took place in a recording studio on the lot. I came in and put on a black wig and a white shirt. They told me they were seeing only one other guy. I remember thinking that I was way over muscular for this. The white shirt was tight in my chest, arms and shoulders. In the parking lot when I was leaving, I saw a tall guy, lean guy about 6’4″ going in. I knew by looking at the guy that he was a better match. Regardless, this was a great experience!” It is also possible that the selected actor may have requested to keep his identity secret as his way of honoring Christopher Reeve’s contribution to the Superman film series.

1:00:13 – 1:00:17 (exterior shot of the White House) – Donner footage (:04). This new exterior shot replaces the original shot used in the theatrical and extended versions of the film.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – CIRCA 21 JUNE 1977

1:00:17 – 1:01:00 (villains attack the White House) – Donner footage (:43). Much of the footage of this sequence is a combination of alternate takes for the sequence, outtakes and extensions, and existing shots from the theatrical and extended versions. This would seem to indicate that the entire sequence had been filmed at least twice, given the number of differences between shots as they appear in all versions of the film.

1:01:00 – 1:01:02 (American flag falls) – Lester footage (:02). This insert shot of the American flag was filmed by Lester as part of a score of reshoots and insert shots he filmed in 1979-80. In the theatrical and extended versions this clip appears after the Army officer is impaled with the chandelier; here it appears prior to the shot.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – CIRCA 21 JUNE 1977

1:01:02 – 1:03:44 (attack on the White House; Zod fires on agents; invading the Oval Office; the President surrenders) – Donner footage (2:42). When Zod fires on the agents, this is an alternate version of a shot that was filmed at least twice. The original take was used in the extended versions. The key here is of Terence Stamp smiling during the shot used in the Donner Cut. An alternate angle of Non throwing an agent is used here – this is also one of two versions known to exist; the other variation appears in the extended versions, prefaced by an additional clip of an agent on the phone saying, “Don’t worry, everything’s under control. No one is getting in here!” There are an added couple of beats just prior to Ursa kicking the agent in the face. Once Ursa kicks the agent, at the 1:01:35 mark, the remainder of the sequence as played out is the same footage that appears in the theatrical and extended versions, including the added footage of Ursa ripping the medals off the Navy officer (which appears at the 1:02:54 mark).

(Side note: The irony in the sequence is that Zod wants the President praying to him and not God; in 2007 Terence Stamp provided the voice of God in the Word of Promise audio dramatization of the New Testament. Stamp also provided the voice of Jor-El in the “Smallville” TV series, which makes his search for the son of Jor-El all the more ironic between this film and “Smallville”. Furthermore, in the sixth season opener, entitled “Zod”, you can clearly see Zod’s face at one point during the attack – it’s none other than Stamp himself, in footage digitally borrowed from Superman II!)

CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADA – AUGUST 1977

1:03:44 – 1:04:04 (Lois and Clark drive through the mountains) – Donner footage (:20). This footage first appeared in the extended versions as seen on ABC and the international telecasts. In the international footage it is a first of a two-part clip of Lois and Clark driving through the mountains; the second clip is not featured in any other version or telecast of the film. In the ABC telecast the sequence begins with this clip, then abruptly jumps to the borrowed footage from STM accompanied by voiceovers for Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder. Here, the voiceovers are moved to this clip, but Reeve’s line “I’m supposed to be the shy one” was edited from the Donner Cut.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – OCTOBER 1977

1:04:04 – 1:08:58 (Lois and Clark at the diner; Rocky attacks Clark; the President surrenders; Clark resolves to go back) – Donner footage (4:54). This sequence appears intact as in the theatrical and extended versions. The only modifications are with a slight music cue change from the Thorne cue “T.V. President Resigns” for the scene to the first part of Williams’ cue “Leaving Home”, and the restoration of the original voices for Reeve and Kidder, which were dubbed for the theatrical release. Here, Reeve’s line, “He knew, I heard him” appears in its natural form. The audio from the start of the next sequence follows his line at the last second or two of the sequence.

1:08:58 – 1:09:23 (villains in the White House; bored Zod) – Lester footage (:25). This footage appears intact as in the theatrical and extended versions, with only a slight modification in Non’s grunts to an almost silent grunt for the Donner Cut.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – JUNE 1977

1:09:23 – 1:12:13 (Luthor and the villains at the White House) – Donner footage (2:50). This sequence appears as in the extended versions but in slightly shorter form. Only Ursa’s “Praying…” and Luthor’s “Havana… check” are not included in the Donner Cut. The Thorne musical cue “Bored Zod” with the first part of the Williams cue “Super Feats”. In addition, the delivery of Zod’s line “We will kill the son of our jailer” is retained in its natural form here.

1:12:13 – 1:12:56 (Clark walks to the Fortress) – Lester footage (:43). This three-shot sequence stars with a close-up of Clark’s feet through the snow, as it appears in the extended versions. The next shot, of Clark wandering through the snow-covered mountains, is from the theatrical version, as is the third and final shot of Clark attempting to hitch a ride which starts at the 1:12:26 mark.

H STAGE, SHEPPERTON STUDIOS – 5 APRIL 1977

1:12:56 – 1:18:08 (Clark at the Fortress; Jor-El appears, restores Superman’s powers) – Donner footage (5:12). The third and final Marlon Brando scene from Superman II was the one fans most requested to see, restored and completed here for the Donner Cut. This sequence was also Christopher Reeve’s very first scene filmed on 5 April 1977 for the two Superman movies. Still photos of this sequence appeared in different forms of media since 1981, including the Topps trading cards for the film, in print, and during Reeve’s 1985 appearance on “Saturday Night Live”.

Two recently filmed insert shots are used to round out the sequence. At the 1:14:47 mark, there is a new five-second insert shot of Clark’s hands pulling out the green crystal. According to Jim Bowers, the crystal used in the shot is the same green crystal used during filming of Superman Returns. Toward the end of the sequence, there is a brief insert shot of Jor-El placing his hand on Clark’s shoulder – this is also a new insert shot. The hands seen in both insert shots, are, in fact, Michael Thau’s. The final shot of the Fortress is also lifted from footage seen in STM.

E STAGE, PINEWOOD STUDIOS – 29 MAY 1977

1:18:08 – 1:21:23 (Daily Planet; villains attack; Luthor negotiates with Zod) – Donner footage (3:15). This is another heavily edited sequence that combines elements from different versions of the film into one form. The first 41 seconds of this sequence is original footage shot in 1977, replacing the Lester-directed version that appears in the theatrical release. From there, at 1:18:49, it reverts back to a majority of Donner footage used for the theatrical version of II, but with some differences in angle inclusion and some deletions made for the Donner Cut.
There is an additional insert short of Perry White watching the villains’ rampage through the Daily Planet, as well as an alternate angle extension focusing on Jimmy and Lois as Non enters into Perry’s office. When Perry throws the Planet globe at Non’s head, the take used is an alternate angle, indicating that the shot was filmed at least twice. Once this occurs, Kidder’s line, “Quick, take the picture!” has been removed from the Donner Cut.

After Luthor first appears in the Daily Planet offices, Jimmy begins taking pictures of Non. This series of clips begins with Jimmy focusing the camera at Non – this is an all-new insert shot. The shots of Jimmy taking Non’s picture, followed by Non crushing the camera, are similar to what appears in the extended versions but slightly shorter. The two-shot of Jimmy telling Non off by saying, “That’s my brand new camera!” does not appear in the Donner Cut.
An alternate angle of Lois tending to Perry is used, also indicating that this shot was filmed at least twice. The Donner clip of Luthor saying, “Even with all of this accumulated knowledge, when will these dummies learn to use a door knob?” is not used in the Donner Cut.

When Luthor and the villains are in Perry’s office, an alternate version of Zod asking, “This is the son of Jor-El?” is used. This is one of two versions of this shot to exist; the other version appears in the extended versions. When Non picks up Jimmy, the shot seen in the extended version runs about one or two seconds shorter than in its counterpart in the TV broadcasts.
Some of the Lester-directed voiceovers have been removed from this sequences, as Donner and Thau chose to restore the actors’ natural voices. In one shot, when Zod says to Luthor, “You promised me the son of Jor-El,” Terence Stamp’s quiet voice is the natural on-set dialog recorded during filming.

When Luthor points Lois out to Zod, the camera angle on Lois is trimmed by a couple of seconds from what appears in the theatrical and extended versions. When Ursa insults Lois, an alternate take of Lois’ insult to Ursa is used, as opposed to the take used in the theatrical version.
The remainder of the sequence is primarily composed of alternate takes, indicating that the scene had been filmed at least twice. An alternate version of Zod saying, “Kill the rest, starting with him,” appears in a two-shot of him and Luthor. The original theatrical version uses a distant shot seen from Lois’ point of view, followed by a quick close-up of Zod. When Non approaches Luthor, the take used here is an alternate version that replaces the version used in the theatrical and extended versions. The key here is that Non is seen dropping Jimmy, whereas in the other version Jimmy is not seen in the shot. The dialog of Luthor attempting to negotiate with Zod is also an alternate take used for the Donner Cut. The final shot of Luthor stating, “You oughta have that fixed,” is exclusive to the Donner Cut. The footage of Luthor re-negotiating with Zod, from the end of his statement, “You just hold onto that little lady, and he’ll be along,” to the end of the sequence, which appears intact in the ABC and international broadcasts, was cut from the Canadian broadcast for time constraints.

1:21:23 – 1:21:33 (the streets of Metropolis; Superman’s return witnessed by onlookers on the street) – Lester footage (:10). The only replacement here is a new audio effect of Superman flying by.

E STAGE, PINEWOOD STUDIOS – 29 MAY 1977

1:21:33 – 1:21:46 (“General, haven’t you ever heard of freedom of the press?” / villains fly toward the window) – Donner footage (:13). This quick sequence, which initiates the confrontation between Superman and the villains, begins another heavily re-edited combination of footage from the original theatrical version and footage used for the Donner Cut. The first shot of Superman standing on the flagpole is the original Donner take, while the close-ups of Zod and Ursa are Donner clips used in the theatrical version. When Superman says, “General…” the voice seems inconsistent with Reeve’s voice when he says, “…haven’t you ever heard of freedom of the press?” When Jimmy approaches Superman standing outside the window, the shot is similar in composition to the angle used in the theatrical version, though this clip is clearly Donner footage.

1:21:46 – 1:21:48 (“Kneel before…”) – Lester footage (:02). Confirmed by Jim Bowers.

1:21:48 – 1:21:53 (Superman flies off; villains in pursuit) – Donner footage (:05). The Donner footage begins with the last part of Zod’s classic line, “Kneel before Zod!” used over the next shot. Once Superman flies away, he flies in the opposite direction as opposed to the direction seen in the theatrical version. When Zod flies toward the window, this is a new alternate angle; the original version follows his now classic line, “Kneel before Zod!” The shot of Non flying toward the window is also a new shot used for the Donner Cut. The footage of Ursa flying towards the window is indeed Donner footage, as Sarah Douglas’ hairstyle is consistent with the previous close-up – confirmed by Jim Bowers.

1:21:53 – 1:22:03 (villains burst through windows; onlookers; Superman and villains fly through the city) – Lester footage (:10). This footage appears as in the theatrical version minus a few trims. When the villains fly through the windows, the angle cuts to a shot of the onlookers on the street, followed by a quick insert of the debris falling to the street. These last two shots are reversed for the Donner Cut. As the onlookers begin to react to the battle, the shot of Superman and the villains flying through Metropolis has been sped up for the Donner Cut to heighten the speed and intensity of the sequence.

1:22:03 – 1:22:07 (Lois to Perry: “Watch out, you all right?”) – Donner footage (:04).

1:22:07 – 1:22:11 (Superman flies by; onlookers watch from the street) – Lester footage (:04). A new sound effect is used for Superman flying by.

1:22:11 – 1:22:15 (onlookers watch from the Daily Planet; exterior shot of Lois, Perry, and Jimmy) – Donner footage (:04). All interior and exterior footage of the onlookers watching from the Daily Planet is Donner footage, which confirms that Donner shot at least part of the Metropolis battle in 1977-78.

1:22:15 – 1:23:07 (Superman lands; Zod confronts Superman, hurls cement block; Superman uses heat vision to destroy cement block) – Lester footage (:52). While the footage that appears here is Lester footage, its appearance in the Donner Cut is slightly different in arrangement. First, the voiceover dubs of Zod saying, “Wait here,” and of Ursa saying, “Let him prove it,” are removed from the Donner Cut. Second, a quick insert shot of Zod flying downward has been edited from the film. As Zod flies toward the building under construction, the first part of the shot has been electronically sped up for the Donner Cut, followed by the remainder of the footage at normal speed as Zod lands on the building and starts to approach Superman.

When Superman says, “I’m not a coward, Zod,” listen to the line very carefully – it obviously sounds different than what is heard in the theatrical version. Either this is the natural on-set dialog Reeve used for the line, or this is a voiceover for Reeve.

The footage of Zod saying, “It is extremely likely that you are merely a fool, like father…” was first seen in the extended versions. For the Donner Cut, as Zod says, “Like father, like son,” instead of Superman’s reply “Somehow I just can’t hear you, Zod,” we see a repeated shot of Superman silently watching Zod. It then goes to footage of Non and Ursa, sans their voiceover dubs from the theatrical cut. When Zod uses his heat vision on the cement block, the Donner Cut freezes and recycles the shot on the heat vision on the chain, as opposed to the zoom-in shot used in the theatrical version. The heat vision sound effects used in the Donner Cut replace the sound effects used in the theatrical version.

1:23:07 – 1:23:09 (Lois and Perry’s reaction to the start of the battle) – Donner footage (:02).

1:23:09 – 1:23:22 (debris falls to the street; onlookers encourage Superman; Superman takes off; Non follows in pursuit) – Lester footage (:13). While the sequence appears virtually intact as in the theatrical version, some minor differences appear. First, once the debris hits the street, a few frames of footage is removed from the shot. As Superman flies off, the second shot of Superman flying away was electronically sped up from the Donner Cut from its slower original take to heighten the intensity and speed of the scene.

1:23:22 – 1:23:29 (Ursa flies off; Daily Planet onlookers’ reaction) – Donner footage (:07). The shot of Ursa was combined from an original blue screen flying element and a newly filmed background shot of New York City.

1:23:29 – 1:23:36 (Superman and Non fly through the streets of Metropolis) – Lester footage (:07). The two new shots of Non chasing Superman through the streets of Metropolis are shots first seen in the Canadian and international telecasts of the extended version. In those versions, these two shots are preceded by an added shot of Zod saying, “Kill him!” That shot does not appear in the Donner Cut.

The two added shots were filmed by Lester’s model unit in 1979-80. The clue that points to these two added shots as Lester footage can be found in the reverse angle of Non chasing Superman through Metropolis. Look very closely at the bottom of the screen, and you will spot the top corner of the Cutty billboard, which appears in full size later in the film during the fight between Superman and Zod. The Cutty billboard also appears in the miniature shot of the bus crashing onto the ground just before Superman catches it. All of the miniature model shots were filmed by Lester’s special effects unit, as confirmed by the “Making of Superman II” and “You Will Believe” documentaries.

Once these first two shots are seen, it then goes back to footage from the theatrical version of Non chasing Superman, but without the voiceover of Zod saying, “Come on, kill him!”

1:23:36 – 1:23:39 (Zod flies over the city) – Donner/Lester combination (:03). The original flying element of Zod is a Lester-directed flying element lifted from the original theatrical version, while the background plate of New York City and the World Trade Center is a Donner-directed background plate. For this shot, the flying element of Zod was reversed from its original film composite and composited against the background plate for the Donner Cut.
1:23:39 – 1:23:43 (Lois and Perry watch; Ursa flies by) – Donner footage (:04). The flying element of Ursa is an original Donner element composited against the same background plate of New York City and the World Trade Center.

1:23:43 – 1:23:53 (Superman and Non fly over the harbor) – Donner/Lester combination (:10). This shot appears virtually the same as in the theatrical cut, with the Lester-directed flying elements composited over the Donner-directed background plates of New York City (which appeared as background plates for STM). A two-shot of Superman and Non flying under one bridge, followed by Non missing Superman flying past another bridge, was edited from the film for the Donner Cut. As Superman flies toward the World Trade Center, the shot is shorter than in the theatrical version, as the scene was cut to remove Non from the shot and replaced with the voiceover of Ursa saying, “Superman?”

1:23:53 – 1:23:56 (close-up of Superman) – Lester footage (:03). This shot of Ursa distracting Superman has been flipped from its original theatrical presentation.

1:23:56 – 1:24:08 (Zod kicks Superman into the Statue of Liberty; Perry’s reaction; close-up of Zod and Ursa) – Donner footage (:12). The elements of Zod kicking Superman into the Statue of Liberty, as well as the close-up of Zod and Ursa, were originally intended to be included in a preview trailer that was originally intended to be seen at the end of STM (as part of the intended cliffhanger ending to the film), but the trailer was never completed, according to Michael Thau. Those foreground elements were combined with new background plates and a new visual effect of the Statue of Liberty’s torch exploding.

1:24:08 – 1:24:10 (Superman reacts and lifts off) – Lester/Donner/Thau combination (:02). The shot of Superman reacting and lifting off was roto-scoped from the original Lester footage of Superman’s reaction upon being hit into a building. The background plate of the wreckage of the Statue of Liberty’s torch is a CGI element supervised by Donner and Thau.

1:24:10 – 1:24:11 (Superman flies off from the Statue of Liberty) – Donner footage (:01). This quick reaction shot of Superman flying toward the villains combines original foreground plates shot in 1977-78 and a new background plate of the Statue of Liberty.

1:24:11 – 1:24:12 (Zod and Ursa fly off) – Lester-directed footage with Donner/Thau retouches (:01). The flying elements of Zod and Ursa, and the background plate of the cityscape, are clearly Lester clips. For this re-edited shot, Donner and Thau recycled the flying elements from earlier in the film and roto-scoped these elements into different positions in the film frame, thereby combining the footage together into a different appearance for the Donner Cut.

1:24:12 – 1:24:18 (Luthor takes Jimmy’s coffee) – Donner footage (:06). The final three seconds of this scene, of Jimmy’s comment “I should have spiked it,” were not utilized for the Donner Cut.

1:24:18 – 1:24:21 (Superman flies over the city; Ursa flies over Superman) – Donner footage (:03). The shot of Superman flying over the city was recycled from STM and its image flipped for the Donner Cut. The shot of Ursa combines the original foreground element of Sarah Douglas and a new CGI background plate of the night sky.

1:24:21 – 1:24:28 (Non flying; Ursa grabs Superman; “What, you hit a woman?”) – Lester footage (:07). This is a combination of alternate, theatrical, and unused Lester clips that appear in the Donner Cut and not in any previous version of the film. The shot of Non is a new outtake restored for the Donner Cut. The quick shot of Ursa approaching Superman was referenced from the theatrical version. Once Ursa grabs Superman’s neck, he threatens to hit her, which prompts her response, “What, you hit a woman?” This is an alternate version of the clip that appears in the theatrical cut. Pay attention to Christopher Reeve’s positioning in the shot. In the theatrical version he is looking off to his left when Ursa grabs him by the neck. Once he turns, the back of his hair flops up for a moment. In the longer alternate version for the Donner Cut, Reeve is looking towards the center of the screen and slightly to his right when Ursa grabs him. Once he turns to confront her, the back of his hair stays in place.

1:24:28 – 1:24:38 (Superman punches Non; spire explodes) – Donner footage (:10). This newly completed shot combines the original foreground plates of Superman punching Non, followed by Non spinning away into the building, with a new background plate of New York City and a new model element of and explosion on the building as Non crashes into the spire.

1:24:38 – 1:25:18 (the spire collapses; Superman catches the spire; Zod: “I suppose so.”) – Lester footage (:40). This version of the scene as the spire collapses has been electronically sped up to give the scene a heightened sense of danger. Part of the spire’s fall from the building, and some of the crowd’s reaction footage, has been edited from the sequence for the Donner Cut. Once Superman catches the spire, two shots of the crowd’s relief (indicated by the citizen and the police officer shaking hands) and of Superman flying the spire upward, have also been edited from the sequence for the Donner Cut. Once Zod says, “This Superman is nothing of the kind,” a brief second of footage has been trimmed from the sequence for the Donner Cut, quickly continuing to his next line, “I’ve discovered his weakness.”

1:25:18 – 1:25:26 (Superman pins Non with spire) – Lester footage (:08). This sequence appears as is from the theatrical version, minus two of Ursa’s voiceover lines, “Sentimental idiot” and “He’s caged Non.” In the audio commentary for the Donner Cut, Tom Mankiewicz laughs and comments about the sequence, indicating how well Donner had shot the scene. Is it possible that this is in fact a Donner-directed scene? In the shot where Superman flies the spire toward the building and down, the background footage of the cars on the street is consistent with all Lester-directed footage. Furthermore, in the shot of Superman lowering the spire onto Non, Reeve’s hair is consistent with all Lester-directed footage. All of the evidence points to Lester as the director of this sequence.

1:25:26 – 1:25:40 (“I’ll draw his fire with some of my own”; Zod fires on cars) – Lester footage (:14). New audio sound effects for Zod’s heat vision replace the audio used in the original theatrical version.

1:25:40 – 1:25:43 (Daily Planet reaction to the battle) – Donner footage (:03).

1:25:43 – 1:26:52 (Zod fires on cars; Superman retaliates, freezes truck; Non lands on Superman, pushes him under the street) – Lester footage (1:09). Footage is similar to the theatrical cut but with some differences. One image of Zod firing on the cars has been flipped from its original image presentation, and some of the shots of the cars exploding are faster-paced than in the theatrical cut. Also, when Zod fires on the gasoline truck, the trucker’s line “Look at what’s happening to those cars” is more pronounced than in the theatrical cut and similar in volume to the extended broadcasts. However, the line “Hey, get out of here, the rig’s going to blow!” has been removed from the scene for the Donner Cut. Additional crowd shots were also removed from the sequence for the Donner Cut, as the film then goes from the trucker’s reaction to Superman freezing the gas tank to Non landing on Superman for the start of the underground battle.

1:26:52 – 1:26:53 (Jimmy’s reaction) – Donner footage (:01).

1:26:53 – 1:28:04 (onlookers react to battle; Superman punches Non through the street and through a building; Ursa hits Superman with manhole cover; Zod versus Superman; Zod hurled into Coke sign) – Lester footage (1:09). This sequence is similar to the theatrical cut but with some differences. First, the underground battle has a number of sight gags and reaction shots removed from the Donner Cut. An obvious visual effect of the first manhole cover being blown off the street (in which we can clearly see the air pressure hole under the manhole cover) has been removed, reducing the number of times that manhole covers are blown off from four to three. In addition, the effect of Non crashing through the building has been electronically sped up for the Donner Cut.

As Superman crashes into the car, a voiceover of one of the women saying, “The car, it’s almost paid for…” has been removed from the Donner Cut. Trims were also made to the footage of Superman and Zod fighting on the car and in the truck – once Superman kicks Zod off him, an extension of Superman standing up has been edited from the footage. Once Superman begins spinning Zod in circles, much of the voiceover for Zod has been removed from the film, though a slight portion remains in the Donner Cut with reduced effect.

1:28:04 – 1:28:10 (Daily Planet: onlookers’ reaction; Luthor: “I never thought this thing would go the distance.”) – Donner footage (:06). The reaction shot is a new insert shot for the Donner Cut. Luthor’s delivery of his line, “I never thought this thing would go the distance,” is presented in its natural on-set form sans the Lester-directed voiceover.

1:28:10 – 1:28:48 (Non and Ursa throw the bus; Superman hit) – Lester footage (:38). After Non lands, the shot of Ursa saying, “Here, take the end of this,” has been removed from the Donner Cut. New voiceovers for the people’s reaction inside the bus have been recorded for the Donner Cut. As Non and Ursa throw the bus, the shot of the bus thrown from Superman’s point of view has been sped up for the Donner Cut, as is a quick shot of the bus landing on the ground.

1:28:48 – 1:28: 50 (Lois and Perry react) – Donner footage (:02).

1:28:50 – 1:29:09 (bus crash; survivors escape; “Superman is dead!”) – Lester footage (:19). The shot of the aftermath of the bus crash on Superman and the Marlboro truck is duplicated for the Donner Cut. Once one of the survivors goes to check on Superman, his voiceover of “He’s dead” has been removed from the Donner Cut.

1:29:09 – 1:29:12 (Lois’ reaction to the survivors’ comments) – Donner footage (:03).

1:29:12 – 1:29:55 (“They killed Superman”; citizens react; villains blow a big storm through the city; firefighters fall) – Lester footage (:43). The start of the villains’ retaliation against the people of Metropolis is trimmed significantly from its original theatrical form. Throughout this entire sequence and the one that follows, nearly all of the Lester-directed sight gags have been removed (the ice cream gag, the hair flying off, the dogs going in different directions, the man in the phone booth falling and laughing, the woman with the money outside the Kentucky Fried Chicken swept away). Once Non uses his super breath during the storm, this sequence ends with the firefighters losing control.

1:29:55 – 1:29:58 (Lois, Jimmy, and Perry observe the storm) – Donner footage (:03). Strangely enough, the Lester-directed voiceover of one of the onlookers saying, “I can’t even see what’s happening,” which was used in the theatrical version, is retained in this insert shot.

1:29:58 – 1:30:31 (close-up of Zod and Ursa blowing; cars crashing through the street; people blown away) – Lester footage (:33). As previously indicated, much of the sequence has been edited from its original theatrical form, with nearly all of the sight gags removed from the film. A brief shot of the man wearing the sign “The end of the world is near,” and one shot of the elderly disco roller skater, remain in the Donner Cut.

1:30:31 – 1:30:35 (Superman pushes the debris away) – Donner footage (:04). This is a newly filmed insert shot for the Donner Cut.

1:30:35 – 1:30:50 (light post falls; Superman emerges onto the bus) – Lester footage (:15). In the theatrical version, the shot of the light post falling occurs after Superman emerges onto the bus. Here it has been moved prior to Superman emergence for the Donner Cut.

1:30:50 – 1:30:52 (Lois and Perry’s reaction to Superman’s appearance) – Donner footage (:02).

1:30:52 – 1:31:16 (cars crashing into one another; Zod watches Superman retreat) – Lester footage (:24). No cuts or alterations were made to this footage.

1:31:16 – 1:31:18 (Lois’ reaction to Superman’s retreat) – Donner footage (:02).

1:31:18 – 1:31:33 (villains’ reaction; “He is a coward after all”; onlookers watch as Superman flies off) – Lester footage (:15).

1:31:33 – 1:31:35 (Lois and Perry react to Superman flying off) – Donner footage (:02).

1:31:35 – 1:31:49 (“Don’t leave us”; onlookers shocked; “Come on, let’s go.”) – Lester footage (:14). The only edits from this footage were the removals of the Lester-directed voiceovers “We can’t handle it without you” and “It’s not our fault.”

E STAGE, PINEWOOD STUDIOS – 29 MAY 1977

1:31:49 – 1:33:25 (villains return to Daily Planet; Luthor demands Cuba for Superman’s address) – Donner footage (1:36). Similar to what appears in the extended versions but with significant differences. All of the footage Lester re-shot has been removed and replaced with the original Donner footage. The footage of the Daily Planet staff’s reactions to the villains’ return is similar to the extended versions but with different angles. It appears that the reactions were filmed with multiple cameras to cover all of the angles. In addition, the villains’ descent into Perry’s office is an alternate side angle as opposed to the shot used for the theatrical version. A new shot of Luthor saluting the villains follows this shot. This is followed by another alternate angle of the villains landing in Perry’s office, followed by a shot of Lois hiding behind a chair, which is moved forward in the sequence before Zod says, “Our victory is complete…” In the theatrical version the shot of Lois follows Jimmy asking, “Superman fled?” An alternate version of Perry saying, “I don’t believe you,” is used instead of the close-up that appears in the theatrical version. When Zod says, “The son of Jor-El has fled,” the Lester-directed voiceover has been removed, restoring Stamp’s natural on-set voice.

At this point an extended clip appears of Luthor saying, “You heard him. Three against one, you should have given him two ears and a tail.” This is an alternate take of the version that appears in the extended telecasts; that alternate take omits the rest of his line. When Zod replies, “He fled in fear of us,” this is another alternate take different from the version used in the extended telecasts. Lois’ reaction appears as it does in the extended telecasts. Zod’s response, “The next time we will kill him,” followed by Luthor’s response, “The next time? What am I going to do with you people?” is another alternate take different from the version used in the theatrical cut. The Lester-directed three-shot of the villains has been replaced with a new close-up of the villains, while Luthor’s “Bow, heel, kneel” comment is an alternate take slightly different and more animated than the version used in the theatrical cut.

Zod’s response to Luthor, “Why do you say this to me when you know I will kill you for it?” is the original Donner take; Lester re-shot the take with the exact same line reading. Luthor’s response appears as is in all versions of the film but is slightly shorter, as the footage of Luthor asking, “Eradicate the only man on Earth with…” is replaced with a close-up of Ursa just before she says, “Let me kill him.” Zod’s further demands are also different as the take that appears here is the original Donner take; Lester also re-shot this clip as well as Zod’s response, “What more?” which both appeared in the extended telecasts. The scene of Luthor negotiating appears as it does in the extended telecasts; however, when Luthor says, “Cuba,” that is an alternate take from the version in the extended telecasts, further proving that the sequence had been filmed at least twice during Donner’s tenure on the film.

1:33:25 – 1:34:01 (villains fly north) – Lester footage (1:18). This sequence appears as in the extended version, complete with Zod saying, “I trust you are not wasting my time, Lex Luthor,” followed by Luthor’s response, “Of course not, Your Turbulence.” It is possible that this may have possibly been filmed by Donner, as Mankiewicz refers to Luthor’s response in the audio commentary on the Donner Cut as something he scripted which Donner had filmed. However, the tip-off that is a Lester shot is in Margot Kidder’s appearance in the scene, as she looks different from her appearance in all of Donner’s scenes toward the end of the film.

007 STAGE, PINEWOOD STUDIOS – OCTOBER 1977

SHEPPERTON STUDIOS – MAY 1977

1:34:01 – 1:40:19 (the villains arrive at the Fortress; confrontation with Superman; the big switch; Superman and Lois embrace) – Donner footage (6:18). The first half of this sequence differs substantially from the Lester version, particularly with the confrontation inside the Fortress. The editing of this sequence also substantially differs, removing all of the Lester influences from the film. The first of the two shots of the villains arriving at the North with Luthor and Lois is retained as in the theatrical version; however, the second shot does not appear. This is replaced by a four-second exterior shot of the Fortress that appeared in the extended telecasts (and at the end of the deleted scene of the villains breaking through the Fortress’ force field).

Once the villains confront Superman outside the crystal chamber, the sequence is substantially different from that in the theatrical and extended versions, as Zod forces Superman to surrender because of his compassion toward humanity. Superman’s response, “With certain rare exceptions,” indicates his desire to see Luthor either defeated or destroyed. When Zod says, “I sense the presence of Jor-El here. We will destroy this place…” this is an alternate version of the Lester take used in the extended telecasts. Also, pay attention to one of the close-ups of Christopher Reeve as Zod makes his demands. In the theatrical cut, a shorter version of Reeve not smiling is used. For the Donner Cut, a longer version of the shot appears as Reeve gives a half-smile before the smile disappears from his face.

The shots of Luthor pointing at Superman, followed by Non pointing at Luthor, and Luthor’s response to Zod, are alternate versions of takes appearing in the theatrical and extended versions. As Zod descends, his order, “Silence!” is different in pitch from what is heard in the theatrical version, as the Lester-directed voiceover has been removed in favor of the natural on-set delivery. Luthor’s response, “Watch it, don’t touch me,” is also a Lester-directed voiceover removed from the Donner Cut. Furthermore, Luthor’s comment, “The guy’s a clod,” is also an alternate take that replaces the extension seen in the theatrical cut. This is followed by a new short of Luthor saying, “You think you know a guy,” with a close-up of Zod that appears to run backwards (watch Stamp’s head as he looks up and then to the front – this shot is clearly running backwards from the way it was filmed, with Stamp looking straight ahead and then up!). Alternate versions of Luthor saying, “Promises were made, gifts exchanged…” are also different from the versions seen in the theatrical cut.

Superman’s delivery of the line “Try to get them all into this molecule chamber…” is an alternate take that replaces the version used in the original theatrical version. As he continues saying, “(It) turns them into ordinary human beings,” an added close-up shot of Zod starting to walk toward Luthor and Superman is used. Once Luthor informs Zod of the trap, an alternate shot of Superman calling Luthor a poisonous snake appears here, replacing the close-up of the shot used in the theatrical version.

Once Zod compliments Luthor about his information, we then see a newly added shot of Luthor saying, “I thought so,” followed by footage of Zod ordering Non to seize Superman and Ursa to kill Lois, which appeared in the extended telecasts. As Zod orders Luthor to activate the crystal console, the Lester-directed voiceover for Zod has been eliminated, restoring Stamp’s natural on-set voice. When Non flies Luthor toward the console, the Lester-directed voiceover for Luthor has also been removed. We then see another new shot of Luthor straightening his clothes before picking up the green crystal. This is followed by an alternate shot of Luthor asking Zod for permission to activate the machine, another indicator that the scene had been filmed at least twice.

When Superman enters into the crystal chamber and begins pushing, the close-up footage that appears here replaces the Lester close-ups used in the theatrical version. Upon further inspection it becomes clear that this footage had been newly shot with a body double wearing a latex mask and wig of Reeve (also referenced from Scott Cranford’s Facebook post from July 2014). The key indicator is the Superman costume. In these shots, the costume is a darker shade of blue, with a slightly higher neckline than the costume Reeve wore for the movies. Also, the cape is much looser around the shoulders, and the S symbol on the shirt is of a different design than on Reeve’s costume.

During the sequence with Superman in the crystal chamber, we see an added insert shot of Zod observing him. As soon as Superman emerges and kneels before Zod, the Lester-directed voiceovers for Stamp have been removed, restoring Stamp’s natural on-set delivery.

Once Superman lifts Zod over his head, two new alternate shots replace the ones used in the theatrical version. There is also an added shot of Non and Luthor exchanging glances. The shots of Superman hurling the powerless Zod across the Fortress, and of a powerless Non growling before he falls, are alternate versions that also replace the takes used in the theatrical cut. Furthermore, as Luthor pieces together Superman’s plot, another alternate take is used. The shot of Superman saluting Luthor is slightly longer at the front end of the shot, indicating that this the master take of the shot. Once Lois has knocked Ursa down the Fortress cavern, Superman and Lois smile and embrace. This is the original Donner take of the shot; Lester had re-filmed the shot in 1979-80.

1:40:19 – 1:40:23 (Superman asks Lois, “Are you all right?”) – Lester footage (:04).

1:40:23 – 1:45:50 (Superman verbally spars with Luthor; leaving the Fortress; Superman destroys the Fortress with heat vision; return to Metropolis; turning back time) – Donner footage (5:27). In this montage of sequences, once Superman has checked on Lois, he informs Luthor about his inability to take a chance in trusting him. When Luthor responds, the Lester-dubbed voiceover laugh is removed from the Donner Cut. This is followed by an alternate version of Superman saying, “Too late, Luthor, too late.” This replaces the louder version used in the theatrical cut. As Luthor attempts to renegotiate with Superman, we hear Hackman’s natural delivery of the lines, which were dubbed for the theatrical version. During this dialog, we also see the original Donner close-up of Superman and Lois, which Lester also re-shot in 1979-80.

In the sequence of Superman and Lois leaving the Fortress, we again see a single shot of the two flying from the Fortress, again indicating that Superman has abandoned Luthor at the Fortress and left the three Kryptonian villains to die in the waters, as implied in the theatrical version. This single shot is followed by a new overhead shot of Superman and Lois flying, followed by an extended shot of the two landing away from the Fortress. This latter shot is clearly one of two versions of the shot to exist; the other take was seen in abbreviated form in the extended telecasts. We then have a shot of Superman looking back at the Fortress before walking away from Lois. This is the master take of the shot, as it, too, was edited slightly for the extended telecasts, removing the first part of the shot.

As Superman prepares to destroy the Fortress, the distant exterior shots of the Fortress are lifted from the first film, and a new CGI heat vision effect has been inserted into the existing footage. The footage appearing here is the same as in the extended telecasts, along with an added shot of the Fortress melting away. This further implies that not only has Superman buried the Kryptonian villains in the icy Arctic, he has also buried Luthor amid the destruction of the Fortress (a plot implication that, ironically, would be revisited in the seventh season finale and eighth season premiere episodes of “Smallville”!).

It then goes into dialog seen in the final ABC telecast and the overseas telecasts of the extended version, of Superman and Lois discussing the end of their relationship. The dialog presented here is performed in the actors’ natural voices without any apparent voiceovers for the scene. Part of Lois’ dialog where she says, “It would be at the expense of my little rainbow for you to answer their every call… in this case, I have all of humanity waiting in the next room,” is omitted from the scene for the Donner Cut. Once they kiss and embrace, we see a new silent close-up of Superman and Lois. This scene cross-fades into the next scene, of Superman returning Lois to her apartment.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – CIRCA NOVEMBER 1977

In this restored scene, the dialog presented on the production track is a combination of sound from the close-up angles of Reeve for Kidder’s dialog and dialog from wider shots where the rear projector (simulating the Metropolis skyline) had been further away from the microphone. The end result is a more natural delivery than what is heard in the extended versions. In addition, an alternate angle of Lois saying, “Your secret’s safe with me,” is used here, indicating that the shot had been filmed twice. The other version featured a continuation of the dialog where Lois says, “I’m not going to tell anyone who you really are,” which appears in the extended versions.
Once Superman flies away, we then see a new shot of Lois saying, “Well, there he goes, kid, up, up, and away.” This is the only time in the Superman movies where the classic “up, up, and away” line is heard. In the pullback shot from Lois’ apartment, the Lester-directed voiceover of Lois saying, “See you later” has been removed from the film.

We now come to one of the most controversial aspects of Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut: the restored ending for the film. Originally, Donner and Mankiewicz had conceived Superman II to conclude with Superman turning back time and undoing all of the damage the Kryptonian villains had caused throughout the film. However, during production on both films it was decided to move the ending to the conclusion of STM in order to conclude the first film and meet its release date deadline. By moving the end of II onto the end of STM, it thereby created an added emotional poignancy to Lois’ death at the climax of STM, which was also rewritten as a result, to remove the original cliffhanger concept bridging the two films.

By this time a portion of the original ending of Superman turning back time had been filmed, specifically the scenes involving Perry White preparing to brush his teeth and the toothpaste going back inside the tube. Donner and Mankiewicz had decided at that point to conceive a new ending to II once they resumed work on the film in 1979. Of course, that never came to be, which resulted in Richard Lester rewriting the film and creating the new ending of Clark wiping away Lois’ memories of the events of the film by kissing her. However, upon reviewing the footage for II, Mankiewicz noted that only Superman, not Clark, should kiss Lois. This argument forced Donner and Thau to go back and adhere to the original Mankiewicz script in completing the film, combining original footage, newly shot footage, borrowed footage from STM, and new visual effects.

The sequence begins, of course, with Perry preparing to brush his teeth. This is followed by a new shot of Lois sitting down to type out her story of Superman’s battle with the Phantom Zone villains. This is clearly a new shot because the actress playing Lois in this shot does not resemble Margot Kidder – this was also confirmed by Scott Cranford. We then move to a borrowed skyline shot of New York City with new CGI effects of the clouds moving backwards. The next shot of the toothpaste stopping in mid-squeeze is original Donner footage from 1977-78. This is followed by new shots of people walking on the streets, stopping in mid-stride, along with Lois’ typewriter freezing in mid-type. This is also accompanied by the damage to the Statue of Liberty’s torch repairing itself – basically the damage footage from the battle scene reversed – complete with new CGI cloud effects. This is then followed by a close-up of the Statue of Liberty with more CGI cloud effects indicating the reversal of time.

We then have a new effects shot of the toothpaste going back into the tube – this is obviously a reverse-time footage of the same scene filmed twice; the angle is obviously different in both versions of the shot. We then have a new CGI effect of the Washington Monument being repaired, accompanied by more CGI effects of the clouds going backwards.

1:45:50 – 1:45:53 (reversal of Coke sign explosion) – original Lester footage with Donner/Thau retouch (:05). This is the last of the Richard Lester shots to appear in the Richard Donner Cut, but with a twist. In the shot, the damage to the Coke sign reverses itself. The time-accelerated footage, reversed for the shot, is accompanied by new CGI background effects.

1:45:53 – 1:51:05 (continuing to turn back time; Superman in space; Phantom Zone villains trapped; Daily Planet coda; Clark returns to beat up the bully; end flyover) – Donner footage (5:12). The time-reversal sequence continues with new shots of a traffic scene, reversed and sped up for the shot, along with new footage of Lois’ typewriter reversing, all with new CGI effects. The shot then reverts to borrowed footage from STM of Superman flying in space over the Earth and spinning the Earth backwards.

We then see a newly-completed effect of the Kryptonian villains returned to the Phantom Zone, a reversal of the effects footage seen at the beginning of the film. With this ending in place, it only resolves the issue of restoring the villains to life by returning them to the Phantom Zone, it also implies that Lex Luthor has also been restored to life and returned to prison and that the Fortress had also been restored (both of which further supports their appearances in Superman IV). The shot of Superman smiling as he spins the Earth backward is an outtake of footage from STM, its image flipped and placed at this point of the film. It then continues with borrowed footage of Superman spinning the Earth back into its correct rotation, as seen at the climax of STM.

E STAGE, PINEWWOOD STUDIOS – JUNE 1977

The Daily Planet coda is new, and Clark Kent is wearing the same suit as he wears in the extended telecasts (and deleted scene) with Jimmy Olsen in the hallway and the bald bully at the elevator.

PINEWOOD STUDIOS – OCTOBER 1977

The final sequence for II, of Clark’s revenge against Rocky at the diner, is kept intact as it was in the theatrical cut but with minor sound effect changes for the scene. The music heard here is a hybrid of the Ken Thorne track “Superman Replaces Stars and Stripes”, which then shifts to the end title theme from STM. The final flyover two-shot is a combination of part of the footage as seen in STM and the alternate take used for the end of II. A new sound effect of Superman flying completes the shots.

1:51:05 – 1:55:39 – end credits (4:34). The music for the end credits is essentially the same as heard at the end of STM, though greatly edited for the Donner Cut. The credits sequence is a combination of credits seen at the end of STM with the majority of credits as seen at the end of II, with key production credits listed in an “additional” section. However, no credit card is made to acknowledge Richard Lester’s directorial work, though the credits for Peter Murton, Robert Paynter, John Victor-Smith, and Ken Thorne appear here. Marlon Brando’s credit has been restored to the cast credits and at the start of the film, while only those supporting cast members who appeared in the Lester scenes had their credits retained for the Donner Cut. Furthermore, the title card for the prison warden is apparently mistyped “warder”. According to Brian McKernan, this is a British term which refers to an official in charge of prisoners, so the term is interchangeable between cultures. We also have all of the credits for the 2006 restoration, led by Michael Thau’s credit as restoration producer. The final title card is a disclaimer from Donner disavowing any acknowledgement of supporting fur and tobacco, as the film reflected what he had originally shot in 1977.

CapedWonder.com.

Time sequence of deleted scenes from “Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut”

When the Richard Donner Cut of “Superman II” was released on DVD in 2006, six deleted scenes, also shot by Donner, were included on the DVD in a separate supplemental feature. All of the deleted scenes were not utilized within the context of the Donner Cut; however, most of these scenes are familiar to viewers who have seen the various extended versions of the films since the 1980’s. The following listings identify the scenes in question, their respective running lengths, and additional information pertaining to their usage in the various versions of the film.

1. Luthor and Miss Teschmacher arrive at the Fortress (1:01) – The first eleven seconds of this scene were used in the Donner Cut, along with twelve seconds of footage at time markers 0:00:36 – 0:00:48. For the ABC telecasts of the extended version, the first four seconds of this scene were cut for time constraints, as the sequence began with the second shot of the sequence, running some 22 seconds in length and ending with Luthor’s line, “That’s his home! That’s his home!” The scene ends on the DVD with the snowmobile floating on the water toward the Fortress.

2. Luthor and Miss Teschmacher leave the Fortress (1:37) – This entire scene was not used in the original theatrical version, the Donner Cut, or the ABC telecasts of the extended version. It would not be seen until the Canadian and international broadcasts and the Restored International Cut DVD.

3. The villains arrive at the Fortress (1:17) – Only the final three seconds of this scene, of the exterior shot of the Fortress, appears in the Donner Cut. The remainder of this sequence was used in all extended versions of the film. In the “Restoring the Vision” documentary feature on the DVD, if you listen very carefully, this scene can be heard on the monitor as Richard Donner tells restoration producer Michael Thau, “Oh, put that back in!”

4. “He’s all yours, boys” (1:47) – This original ending has a unique history to it. Five seconds of footage from this scene appear in the original theatrical version, indicated here at time markers 0:01:37 – 0:01:42, beginning with the footage once the Arctic Patrol trucks have departed the scene. When ABC first aired the extended version of “Superman II” in the 1980’s, the only footage from this sequence to appear in the first two telecasts was a 37-second piece of footage (which can be found on the DVD at time markers 0:00:06 – 0:00:43) involving Luthor’s arrest by the Arctic Patrol, beginning with “So what do you say? Who would be the wiser?” and ending with Luthor negotiating, “All I ask is ten percent… eight percent…” followed by Superman and Lois’ close-up. The ABC telecast then abruptly cut to the final 24 seconds of footage from this scene (indicated here at time markers 0:01:23 – 0:01:47) of the Arctic Patrol leaving the Fortress, followed by Superman and Lois flying over the Fortress and away. In the final U.S. telecast of the extended version, ABC incorporated ten seconds of additional footage from this deleted scene back into the broadcast (appearing here at time markers 0:01:18 – 0:01:23). The entire version of this deleted scene would not appear in its complete original form until the Canadian telecast in the 1980’s, along with the international telecasts and the 2004 Restored International Cut DVD. For the 2006 Donner Cut, only four seconds of footage, appearing here at time markers 0:01:37 – 0:01:41, are used in the final film.

5. Clark and Jimmy (:51) – This additional scene featuring Clark and Jimmy at the Daily Planet, followed by Clark’s encounter with the bald bully at the elevator, appeared in all telecasts of the extended version and in the 2004 Restored International Cut.

6. Luthor escapes from prison (1:42) – This is an alternate version of Luthor’s escape from prison by car, originally conceived in the April 1977 script by Tom Mankiewicz and partly rewritten prior to its filming. In the original Mankiewicz script, Miss Teschmacher pulls Luthor over the prison walls with a rope and into the waiting car. In the version seen here, Luthor and Otis fake repairs on the car (which also appears in STM as the automated car), with the real Luthor hidden inside the car and mannequin legs dressed in prison pants and shoes placed under the car to simulate Luthor working on the caar. This plot was accomplished with Miss Teschmacher asking the prison warden out on a date. As the car pulls away from the prison, the penultimate shot for the scene appears with no sound effects. This original version of the sequence was cut from the film and later replaced with the more elaborate prison escape via hot air balloon as seen in the final theatrical version, the various extended versions, and the Donner Cut.

When added together, this amounts to eight minutes, 15 seconds of additional footage shot by Richard Donner that was not incorporated into the film.

CapedWonder.com.

Additional footage and alternate takes

The following scenes are identified as variations that appear only in the theatrical cut of “Superman II”. These variations do not appear in the extended versions or the 2006 Richard Donner Cut. These scenes should be considered when analyzing all of the pieces of the puzzle.

1. Luthor informs Otis about the black box; “…his secret will give me Superman.” – Donner footage (:36). In this shorter version of the prison scene, used only in the theatrical release, Luthor makes no mention of pasta e fagioli or Slasher Fogelstein. The key indicator is in Gene Hackman’s delivery of the following line: “That little black box goes beyond any conventional radar.”

2. Clark picks up two hot dogs and walks away – Lester footage (:02). This unusual variation, used in the theatrical cut, implies that Clark has stolen the hot dogs. The alternate take used in the extended telecasts corrects this misstep by replacing the shot with Clark stopping to turn back and place a $5 on the hot dog stand. The extended clip, coupled with the restored ending to the extended version, preserves Clark’s moral stand of what is right.

3. Luthor at Fortress: “Three… count them, three super villains, each one with the same power he has.” – Donner footage with Lester-directed voiceover (:13). This variation is much shorter than the alternate takes used in the extended versions and the Donner Cut. The indicator is in Hackman’s performance and in the Lester-directed voiceover looped over Hackman’s lines.

4. Second exterior shot of Luthor and Miss Teschmacher in snowmobile; “They’ll need a contact here on Earth… South, Miss Teschmacher!” – Donner footage with Lester-directed voiceover (:09). The exterior two-shot used at the end of the first Fortress scene in the theatrical cut uses a Lester-directed voiceover for Hackman which replaces the interior monologue of the same lines used in the previously-referenced scene (which appears intact in the extended versions and the Donner Cut). The Lester-directed voiceover is delivered at a much faster pace than in Hackman’s delivery of the lines. In the Canadian and international telecasts of the extended version, this second part of the two-shot is entirely edited from the film (the Restored International Cut also deletes this second shot). In addition, the first shot used in the two-shot also incorporates an additional Lester-directed voiceover: “Wait! That explains the alpha waves I’ve been getting on my black box!” This voiceover is used only in the theatrical version.

5. Boy’s reaction to Zod’s assault on the father – Lester footage (:02). This brief clip was omitted from all telecasts of the extended version as well as the Donner Cut.

6. Zod at Fortress: “We must combine our strength.” – Lester footage (:02). This close-up appears only in the theatrical release. In the extended versions this shot is replaced with a close-up of Ursa looking at Zod, followed by a long shot of the villains and Superman, with Zod ordering, “We must combine our energy.”

In addition, an alternate close-up of the deputy, directed by Lester (:02), appears only in the extended telecasts. In the theatrical version and the Donner Cut, once Zod shoots himself with the deputy’s rifle, the deputy speaks an audible profanity. In the extended versions, this clip was replaced with an alternate silent take of the deputy staring open-mouthed at the villains. In numerous films of the 1970’s and 1980’s, it was commonplace for film directors to shoot two versions of a scene, one using profanity for the theatrical version, and the other a clean version for the television broadcasts. Films such as “Tootsie” and “Ghostbusters”, when originally aired on ABC during the 1980’s, would commonly insert these alternate clean takes to replace the profanity-laced versions to meet with the approval of the networks’ censors.

This accounts for an additional 58 seconds of footage filmed during Richard Donner’s tenure on the production in 1977-78, and an additional 17 seconds of footage filmed during Richard Lester’s involvement in 1979-80.

CapedWonder.com.

Is there nothing more?

“Evolving, learning, instinctively needing… no answers, only questions… Is this all that I am? Is there nothing more?” – Leonard Nimoy (Spock) to William Shatner (Kirk), “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”.

Even with all of the known footage used in the original theatrical release, the various extended telecasts and Restored International Cut, and the Richard Donner Cut, there are, however, some scenes from “Superman II” that remain unaccounted for. These scenes in particular were never used in any form of the film, and in some instances there is insufficient documentation to verify whether or not they even exist anymore. Let’s address those scenes in question.

The first scene in question, referenced multiple times during the analysis, pertains to an additional scene of some very intense lovemaking between Superman and Lois Lane in the Fortress of Solitude. These scenes, referenced in the Tom Mankiewicz shooting script dated 4-18-1977 as scenes 392 and 393, depict Superman and Lois viewing home movies of Superman’s parents Jor-El and Lara on Krypton. (This could have apparently used either stock footage or outtakes from STM to source the images of home movies appearing on a relief map of Krypton.) Following a brief discussion, Superman and Lois engage in some very sensual lovemaking.

Based on this scripted scene, and coupled with the placement in the Donner Cut of the Lester-filmed shot of Superman and Lois asleep in bed together prior to Superman giving up his powers, it is quite plausible that this sequence could have been filmed. (It would also explain the plausibility of Superman being the father of Lois’ son Jason in “Superman Returns.”) The only reference to this scene is a brief mention in Wizard Magazine’s Superman special, printed in 1993, which stated that the scene was cut to avoid giving the film an “R” rating. So far this is the only known source of said report. Since there is no physical documentation in the form of still photographs that supports this statement, there is no way to know whether or not the scene was ever filmed to begin with. It may have been one of those scenes that Donner did not get around to filming.

The second scene in question, however, leads us to believe that it very well was filmed. This is a brief sequence of Christopher Reeve as Superman flying over the Arctic and on approach to the Fortress of Solitude set. While the scene never appears in the Mankiewicz shooting script or the Lester-Fraser rewrite, two still photographs point to the existence of the scene. One photograph published in the “Superman II” movie magazine from DC Comics and also in the Topps trading card set shows Superman with a single arm outstretched and flying over the Arctic. The other photograph, released on CapedWonder™.com, clearly shows Superman flying on approach towards the Fortress. The existence of both of these photographs leads us to conclude that this scene was indeed filmed and meant to occur prior to the villains’ arrival with Luthor and Lois at the Fortress. Based on these assumptions, it is possible that this short scene may have run no more than 10-15 seconds at most. It is possible that this footage may have been lost due to time in storage in England, and it is also possible that Michael Thau had located and identified the footage but deemed it unnecessary to include in the Donner Cut. However, aside from these two photographs there is no further documentation to support the whereabouts or even existence of said footage.

CapedWonder.com.

And now, the rest of the story

In May 2001 Warner Home Video released the four Christopher Reeve “Superman” films on DVD for the first time, with “Superman: The Movie” prepared as a Special Edition DVD-18 release. The three sequels, however, were presented in their original theatrical forms only. Rumors at that time had initially floated around that “Superman II” would also receive the Special Edition treatment, and a few print publications, including Widescreen Review, went so far as to announce that statement in print. The DVD wound up being a bare-bones release with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, the film’s second theatrical trailer, scene selection, and cast and production credits. No further added features were planned at the time because of the many legal issues surrounding the film – specifically, the legal problems involving Marlon Brando’s footage for II.

Shortly after the release of the “Superman” DVDs, Pueblo Film Licensing, which had acquired the rights to the Salkind film library upon the death of Alexander Salkind, filed a lawsuit in a Los Angeles circuit court of appeals to block the sales and distribution of the “Superman” DVDs, citing illegal and improper usage of the extra footage and vintage material for the Special Edition DVD release of the first film, along with creative alterations made to the sequels – specifically, the digital erasing of matte effects used to hide the wires showing Reeve and any other actors flying. Basically, the illusion of Superman, or anyone for that matter, flying was destroyed.

In 2001 an anonymous fan took it upon himself to restore “Superman II”. The initial attempt was to re-edit the extended version of the film and bring it closer to Richard Donner’s original intention, and a series of main title credits were prepared. As a result, this fan attempt became initially known as the “Green Cut”, referencing the green crystal that played a prominent role in the first two films. In time the editor worked to restore the film by compiling all of the footage from both the theatrical version and the best representations of telecasts of the extended version, re-editing the film into a format similar to the longest known cut of the extended version, cleaning up the picture as best as possible, and upgrading the sound throughout the film. This effort was completed in 2004 and released as the Restored International Cut, which became a highly sought collectible by fans around the world, and which served as another impetus to convince Donner and Warner Bros. to bring Donner’s original vision of “Superman II” to completion.

Little did anyone know, however, that those plans were already underway. In 2001 some six tons of footage was brought from London to Warner Bros., and under the supervision of Michael Thau, who had overseen the restoration of the first “Superman” for DVD release, work began to bring Donner’s version of “Superman II” to life. Initially Donner was sought to give his blessing to the project, but as work progressed Donner became more actively involved, taking a more hands-on approach to completing the film. At times he could not deal with the injustice wrongly done to him by the Salkinds and by Richard Lester, whom he felt betrayed him by taking over the remaining work on II without his blessing. It was Thau who handled the project with a fresher eye and a more balanced objectivity without all of the baggage of 30 years on his shoulders.

Thau’s work on the Donner Cut became possible not only due to the fans’ request for Donner’s footage to be released, but also to the efforts of director Bryan Singer (“The Usual Suspects”, “X-Men”, “X2: X-Men United”, and “Valkyrie”). In preparation for his production of “Superman Returns”, Singer had contacted Donner and sought his blessing to proceed with a new Superman film in the same spirit as the first two films, which Donner enthusiastically gave. More importantly, Singer contacted Warner Bros. and Marlon Brando’s estate, which had taken control over Brando’s finances after his death in August 2004, to acquire and purchase the late actor’s footage from both “Superman” films for use in “Superman Returns”. As Thau stated in an interview for American Cinematographer, “This later led to the studio going back to his estate for our recut of ‘Superman II’. If that footage couldn’t be used, it wasn’t worth doing this project.”

In 2006 work was finished, and on November 2, 2006 “Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut” made its world premier at the Directors’ Guild of America Theater, followed shortly afterwards by its premiere on DVD, HD-DVD, and Blu-ray as both a standalone release and as part of the 14-disc “Superman” Ultimate Collector’s Edition (along with the other “Superman” films in the series). The DVD also featured a new audio commentary with Donner and Tom Mankiewicz about their work on the film, a new introduction by Donner, a 13-minute restoration program, and six deleted scenes of footage shot by Donner totaling approximately eight minutes in length.

While the Richard Donner Cut of “Superman II” enjoyed a healthy release to much fan debate that continues to this day, the theatrical version of “Superman II” also enjoyed a Special Edition DVD release of its own (along with a four-disc “Superman” Special Edition and Deluxe Edition releases of III and IV). In the new two-disc Special Edition, the film was remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 sound and featured a new audio commentary with Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler, one additional deleted scene of Superman preparing a souffle’ for Lois (which was featured in the extended versions), and the film’s second theatrical trailer on the first disc of the set. The second disc contained the “Making of Superman II” documentary, the 1988 TV special “Superman’s 50th Anniversary”, the final eight installments of the Fleischer/Famous Studios “Superman” animated theatrical shorts from 1942-43, and a featurette entitled “First Flight”, which looked at the creation of the Fleischer animated segments. (The Fleischer animated segments and the “First Flight” feature were compiled together in a recent two-disc release from Warner Home Video.) The two-disc special edition served as the perfect counterbalance to the Donner Cut. In later years the first disc of the “Superman II” Special Edition would be reissued, along with the first disc of the “Superman” Special Edition and the Deluxe Editions of III and IV as a two-disc dual-sided DVD-18 set of the four Christopher Reeve films in a Family Favorites re-release from Warner Home Video (the Donner Cut was not included in the set).

“Any attempt by you to create a climate of fear and panic among the populace must be considered by us an act of insurrection.” – Trevor Howard (1st Ender) to Marlon Brando (Jor-El), in “Superman: The Movie”.

Such a line is highly prophetic of the Salkinds’ actions. Once Donner was fired in the fall of 1979 via telegram by the Salkinds, and the Mankiewicz script was jettisoned, Lester came aboard to complete the film by filming and reshooting a number of sequences based on a joint rewrite of the script he oversaw with the late George Macdonald Fraser and Guy Hamiltion, which was pieced together with various Donner scenes shot in 1977-78. (Lester was also brought aboard to settle a $4 million dispute with the Salkinds over an unpaid directorial fee he felt was due him, because of the Salkinds’ decision to separate the footage shot for “The Three Musketeers” into two films, the latter released as the sequel “The Four Musketeers”, which led to Lester, the cast, and production crew suing the Salkinds for misleading information over working on one film when their work contributed to two films. This led to the Motion Picture Association of America and the Director’s Guild of America implementing the now-famous Salkind clause, which states that a director and/or studio must state up front how many pictures are to be produced simultaneously. This clause affected such projects as the “Back to the Future” sequels, the “Matrix” sequels, the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, the “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequels, and, of course, the first two “Superman” films.)

When Donner was released from the project, the Salkinds approached Tom Mankiewicz to consider working with Lester on the rewrite and re-shoots. Mankiewicz refused, feeling that he could not betray his friendship with Donner, and walked away from the project, ending any future involvement he could have had on later installments. (Ironically, a few scenes in “Superman III” were lifted from the two scripts Mankiewicz wrote, which technically could have earned him a writing credit on the third film, though the script to III was credited to David and Leslie Newman.) In 1984-85, Warner Bros. approached Donner and Mankiewicz about possibly working on “Superman IV” and told the duo, “Name your price.” Donner and Mankiewicz considered the idea and felt that they had explored all their ideas on the first two films, though they had originally discussed swapping writing and direction for III and IV and mapping out ideas that could have been explored in later installments. Both Donner and Mankiewicz turned down the idea, saying, “It would have been just for the money.”

The Salkinds’ actions were highly criticized in the media by many fans, production experts, creative personnel, and cast members Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, and Marlon Brando, who considered this an act of sabotage to remove any and all of Donner’s influence from the sequel. Kidder was extremely vocal in the 1981 British magazine Time Out, calling the Salkinds’ behavior “beneath contempt” in the interview. This interview, coupled with her successful million-dollar lawsuit against the Salkinds for unpaid work on II, led to the Salkinds’ substantial removal of Kidder for “Superman III”. Brando had sued the Salkinds for unpaid compensation at the time for his work on the sequel (which would later be resolved out of court in 1982 for approximately $17 million), even though the Salkinds elected to remove Brando’s scenes and name from the sequel and to have the scenes re-filmed with Susannah York. For that matter, the Salkinds used a body and voice double for the departed Gene Hackman, who had completed all of his scenes for Richard Donner in 1977-78. According to Pierre Spengler in numerous interviews and the DVD audio commentary, a voice and body double for Hackman was brought in to complete work on any additional scenes for the film. When “Superman II” premiered in the United States in 1981, Time film critic David Denby praised Lester for bringing out Hackman’s comic timing in the film. This prompted Mankiewicz to respond to Denby’s article in a letter for the magazine, stating that Hackman never filmed a single scene with Lester, that he had shot all of his scenes with Donner. The letter was never published.

In addition, John Williams would not return to score the sequel. After being invited to screen the sequel with the Salkinds and Richard Lester in early 1980, he declined, simply stating, “I’m sorry, but I don’t feel I can work with him.” Later, Williams would cite composing and scheduling commitments elsewhere as the reason he declined to score “Superman II”, stating, “I think it primarily had to do with commitments elsewhere.” Those commitments would prominently include his composing and scoring “The Empire Strikes Back” and his succession as conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra (succeeding the late Arthur Fiedler) in the spring of 1980, which would be consistent with his not scoring “Superman II”. It could also be assumed that Williams felt a sense of loyalty to Richard Donner while scoring the first film in 1978. In an interview conducted with Williams in 2007 for the “Superman: The Music” box set collection, Williams cited a fun working relationship he had with Donner (and also with Steven Spielberg). In any event, the Salkinds turned to composer Ken Thorne to adapt and conduct Williams’ music to fit within the context of the sequel, which by the time Thorne came aboard the project was a completed picture minus a few visual effects, a rarity in Hollywood standards.

Lester filmed some 52 percent, or 66 minutes, of footage for “Superman II”, and through careful re-editing of the needed Donner scenes this secured him sole directorial credit from the Director’s Guild of America. Original news reports in 1979 stated that Lester was brought in to complete the picture, though it would have still been credited as “a Richard Donner film.” Donner had been approached by the DGA and asked if he wanted to share directorial credit with Lester on the film; Donner refused. With all of the problems surrounding the sequel, had these problems occurred in later years, neither Donner nor Lester would have received any official on-screen credit, and “Superman II” would have been labeled “an Alan Smithee film” (in reference to the pseudonym used by directors when disavowing their work on certain movie and TV projects, most notably the extended version of David Lynch’s “Dune” prepared by Universal without Lynch’s involvement when it was first broadcast in extended form in syndication in 1988).

Thanks to the efforts of Donner, Michael Thau, and the restoration team, the Richard Donner Cut comprises approximately 83 percent, or 104 minutes, of footage filmed by Donner – this percentage does not take into account the amount of actual Lester footage used in the Donner Cut. In addition, certain scenes that survived into the final edits of the theatrical and extended version account for approximately 43 percent, or 66 minutes of known footage filmed by Donner, based on a composite running time of approximately 155 minutes of footage for the extended version of the film. This latter percentage initially fell short of the 70-80 percent many believed Donner had filmed for the sequel. In an online interview with 2001, actor Jack O’Halloran stated that as much as 80-85 percent of the sequel was Donner footage, which would be consistent with the amount of footage used in the 2006 Donner Cut.

Of course, none of these questions would have been answered, addressed, and considered without proper documentation of the numerous lost scenes in still photographs, magazine, and book publications; the various drafts of the script; interviews with the cast and creative team; the ABC, Canadian, and Danish television broadcasts of the extended version during the 1980’s; the Restored International Cut DVD project in 2001-04; and most importantly the release of the Richard Donner Cut in 2006. Sources like these help make restoration efforts on any film project possible and easier for film directors, archivists, and restoration experts to complete the work originally envisioned (similarly, in 2006 the Criterion Collection brought Orson Welles’ flawed film “Mr. Arkadin” to life in a comprehensive collection that showcased both released versions of the film as well as a composite version that brought the film as close as possible to his original vision). Whether or not this is indeed the final word on “Superman II” or not remains to be seen, though through all sources now available to fans and film students it seems very likely so. Such work will help enable future generations of fans and film students to enjoy “Superman II” as originally and finally envisioned for years to come.

I would like to thank the following individuals for their contributions:

1. GandAlfDC, Hiphats, Jim Bowers, Mike Matessino, and Jacob Rubenstein, for clarification of specific information regarding the footage and for their support.
2. Miss T and Indo77, for uncovering the Canadian and Danish broadcasts of the extended version of the film. Without these two vital discoveries, many rumors would have remained unconfirmed.
3. The Green Cut Editor, for his hard work, perseverance, and dedication in making the Restored International Cut DVD a reality in 2004.
4. Michael Thau, for making the Richard Donner Cut a reality for all of us in 2006.
5. And many special thanks to Richard Donner, the late Tom Mankiewicz, and the late Christopher Reeve, for giving the Man of Steel heart and life.

Bill Williams
August 2009

Updates, additional information and amendments made by Bill Williams, Alex Serpa and Jim Bowers since the article was originally posted to this website in 2009. This article is © Copyright 2009 by Bill Williams, and is not to be reproduced or excerpted without prior written permission. All Rights Reserved. Every effort has been made by the author and CapedWonder™.com to insure that the above information is as accurate and organized as possible.