Matthew Vaughn is a highly respected director with a lot of hit movies including Kingsman and X-men under his belt. In a recent tribute to Richard Donner, Vaughn stated that he knows what type of Superman film he'd make.
It's no hidden fact that Matthew Vaughn has been eager to get his hands on a Superman movie, but in a recent interview he revealed some details about his rejected pitch for the film trilogy.
Vaughn made this big reveal when he appeared on an episode of Josh Horowitz’s Happy Sad Confused podcast that featured a wide-ranging conversation about all sorts of Hollywood franchises, including Star Wars, James Bond, the DCU, and a whole lot more.
On the DCU front, Horowitz asked Vaughn about rumors that he was offered the opportunity to direct a sequel to Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel – which apparently wasn’t the case, the filmmaker clarified.
Explaining what actually went down, Vaughn said he sat down with fellow “Superman nut” and famous comic book writer Mark Millar to plot out “a three-picture trilogy” for Warner Bros. before Man of Steel had even come out.
“We pitched how to do a trilogy of Superman movies. Warners wasn’t interested. That’s as far as it went,” Vaughn said. It “never came back around” after that, he added.
Delving into the details of the pitch, Vaughn admitted that he and Miller took their inspiration from the Richard Donner Superman films, stating; "I think Donner nailed it,” Vaughn said. “I think Wonder Woman worked very well because it was basically a Donner Superman film but reimagined as Wonder Woman. I would've done a modern version of the Donner [films].”
“Our big idea,” he went on, “was the twist that Krypton doesn't blow up. It does eventually. The dad was right, he just got his timing wrong. So when Superman's grown up, suddenly there's a mass exodus and then all hell breaks loose, and that was our idea."
When asked who the main villains would be, Vaughn said it would be “Zod and Brainiac, basically,” with Lex Luthor as the main villain “until Krypton explodes.”
According to him Lex Luthor was going to be in the mix on Earth before Armageddon, so he’d be allowed adequate time to become a thorn in Superman’s side. This all sounds like standard fare for the DCEU, minus Krypton being around, but Vaughn didn’t envision a dark dystopian landscape; wanting instead to stay in the same lane as Richard Donner.
"I would've done a modern version of the Donner [films] added Vaughn.
Horowitz also pointed out that it was a bit shocking that Vaughn was never given the opportunity to make his vision a reality as that would have indeed be mind blowing, especially given his connection with former Superman actor Henry Cavill, who worked with him on 2007’s Stardust and the upcoming Argylle.
Vaughn himself pointed to this fact in a 2021 interview with The Wrap, when he first revealed that he had been “desperate” to work on a “colorful, fun Superman movie.”
Vaughn believes what most everyone into comics does, that the 1978 Superman film’s director “did it perfectly,” and he wanted to match that tone. Our earlier report noted Vaughn prefers a Big Blue hero who is massively more uplifting and hopeful — much like Henry Cavill. “Superman is about color and fun, or it should be,” Vaughn once said to MTV.
But, in the interview with Horowitz, Vaughn brought up James Gunn’s upcoming reinvention of the superhero, which will debut in 2025 with Superman: Legacy. Vaughn said that he’s been talking to Gunn and his DC Studios co-CEO Peter Safran, and when asked if anyone's brought up their upcoming The Authority movie to him, Vaughn said “never say never, [but] at the moment, I'm very much enjoying creating my own things.”
I think Gunn's - the franchise, DC is in the best hands it's been for a long time, stated Vaughn. So let's see what happens. He added.
It’s a shame Warner decided not to go with Vaughn and Millar’s take when it may have been a clearer vision than the dark DCEU that has been broken into so many directions guided by a rotating crop of executives.
Of all the Snyderverse films, the one that worked best for Vaughn was Wonder Woman, which reminded him of Donner’s efforts.
If DC actually went with the vision of Mattew Vaugn, the 2010s could have looked a lot different for the Man of Steel. But now no one knows if that version would be more accepted by fans than the current one.