When Richard Donner shot Superman, he was also shooting Superman II at the same time. For various reasons the shooting of Superman II was at some point delayed until the completion of Superman. However after the completion of Superman Richard Donner was promptly fired, the studio got Richard Lester in to complete the scenes Donner hadn’t, and then proceeded to reshoot a large amount of Donner’s footage just to ensure Donner didn’t get a credit on the movie.
As a result of all the key Marlon Brando scenes were dumped and Gene Hackman refused to return for reshoots resulting in body doubles being used.
All of this was shocking news to me as I love Superman and used to quite like Superman II although I did feel something wasn’t quite right with the second film. Now I know the truth I wondered if there was ever a chance of seeing all this missing footage.
Well, it turns out there is a campaign to get Warner Brothers to release a ‘Donner Cut’ of Superman II in some form. Richard Donner has expressed some interest and so have Warner themselves to a degree. The various legal issues behind it are mostly cleared up, so it’s just down to convincing the powers that be that it’s worth the effort.
For further information, take a look at the campaign here