Secret DC Movie Endings You Never Knew About

Blockbuster movies are the result of committee labor: screenwriters, producers, studios, directors, and test audiences all get a say on what eventually winds up on the screen. That can make for a messy final product, such as an initial cut of a movie that doesn't make sense, is too confusing, or doesn't wow audiences. Studios will then go back into production to film a better ending for their movie, which means there are all these movies with alternate endings. Take a trip into an alternate dimension with these scrapped and abandoned endings to movies based on DC Comics titles.

Superman (1978)

The movie as we know it ends in a pretty cool way: Superman (Christopher Reeve) saves Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) from suffocating to death after an earthquake by spinning around the planet so fast that he reverses time and Lois's death. Then he takes Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) and his henchman Otis (Ned Beatty) to prison and flies away as John Williams's iconic score plays. But there was a little more to the ending that was shot. It surfaced when the movie began airing on broadcast TV in the early 1980s. Earlier in the film Lex Luthor abandons his loyal cohort Miss Tessmacher (Valerie Perrine) in a lion's den. In this alternate version, Superman goes and rescues Miss Tessmacher as well. What a super guy!

Superman II (1980)

Back in the '70s, the first two Superman movies were shot largely at the same time by director Richard Donner. Producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind became frustrated with Donner when the budget spiraled out of control, and they fired him after he finished Superman but before Superman II was done. They hired director Richard Lester (best known for directing the Beatles movie A Hard Day's Night) to finish the job. In Lester's Superman II, the version seen in movie theaters, Superman/Clark Kent erases Lois Lane's memory so she doesn't remember his true identity, defeats General Zod (Terence Stamp), and restores the American flag atop the White House. In 2006, Donner's version was pieced together on the DVD release of Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut. Tons of lost footage was restored for this director's cut, including Donner's intended ending. Similar to how the original Superman ended, Superman uses his superpowers to spin the Earth back in time to before the terrible events of the previous few days and sends General Zod to the Phantom Zone.

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

A critical and financial flop, Superman IV was apparently so bad that it killed the Superman franchise for nearly 20 years. Christopher Reeve — Superman himself — helped write the screen story, in which Superman vows to rid Cold War-era Earth of all nuclear weapons, only to be nearly destroyed by an evil Superman clone named Nuclear Man (Mark Pillow), created by Lex Luthor. The theatrical version of Superman IV ends with Superman dumping Nuclear Man into a nuclear power plant's core, converting him into electricity. Then Superman gives a treacly speech imploring the people of Earth to demand that their leaders pursue world peace. And yet an even bigger kumbaya ending was filmed and ultimately scrapped — although it does appear in the 1987 comic book adaptation of the movie. Superman and an adorable little boy named Jeremy (Damian McLawhorn) fly above the Earth, and together they realize that world peace is possible because despite political differences and divisions, we all live on the same planet. Awww.

Man of Steel (2013)

After his successful reboot of DC's Batman property into the thoughtful, financially successful, and Oscar-winning Dark Knight trilogy, Christopher Nolan was hired on by Warner Bros. to approach DC's Superman in the same manner. Nolan served as a producer on Man of Steel and wrote the story for the film with screenwriter David S. Goyer. In the original story and script, the film ended with Superman (Henry Cavill) finally defeating General Zod (Michael Shannon) and banishing him to where Zods go: the Phantom Zone. But Man of Steel director Zack Snyder didn't like that — he wanted Superman to kill General Zod, not just send him away. Nolan and Goyer argued that it was a betrayal of the Superman character to do so. Superman just doesn't go around killing bad guys because he's the ultimate good guy. Snyder ultimately got his way. Nolan and Goyer's ending was never shot, but just be aware that it's how Man of Steel should have ended.

Batman (1989)

The Spanish-language dub of Batman aired throughout Latin America in the 1990s. It's also got a number of cuts to trim the length of the movie. One of those deletions really speeds up the ending and kills a lot of the drama and tension. The final showdown between Batman (Michael Keaton) and The Joker (Jack Nicholson) ends with Batman pushing The Joker off a ledge to his death. Boom, dead, done. Gone is almost the entire fight and the attempted escape via helicopter seen in the theatrical version of Batman.