We already knew that Kingsman and X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn has been eager to get his hands on a Superman movie, but now we have a few more details about his rejected pitch for a film trilogy.
Vaughn appeared on an episode of Josh Horowitz’s Happy Sad Confused podcast for 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.
Matthew Vaughn and Mark Millar’s Vision
Delving into the details of the pitch, though, Vaughn pointed to the Richard Donner Superman films, from which he and Millar took inspiration.
“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.”
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.”
Horowitz pointed out that it’s a little surprising that Vaughn never got his chance to see out his vision, 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.”
But, in today’s interview, 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,” he went on. “So let’s see what happens.”
For more on Gunn’s vision of Superman, check out our breakdown on why the director is using all the right words so far.
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Alex Stedman is a Senior News Editor with IGN, overseeing entertainment reporting. When she’s not writing or editing, you can find her reading fantasy novels or playing Dungeons & Dragons.