A Review of the Original Superman III Treatment

My Review of Ilya Salkind's Outline of Superman III

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By JM4Superman - 6/14/2011
(Note: This is the original outline Ilya Salkind had written but was rejected by Warner Bros)


SUPERMAN III – STORY OUTLINE- WRITTEN BY ILLYA SALKIND- REVIEW BY JD HARRIS A.K.A. JM4SUPERMAN.


STORY: Clark finds a note from Lois explaining that she has been asked to be transferred as a correspondent to one of the foreign offices associated with the Daily Planet and how she could not stay in Metropolis, constantly being in contact with Superman and being in love but not being able to handle the pressure so she decided to move as far away as possible. This obviously leaves Clark depressed with Jimmy and Perry trying to cheer him up. Then, Lana gets introduced as the new star reporter of the Daily Planet who impresses Clark and they start to like each other



Supergirl’s escaped from Krypton is similar to Superman’s escape in Superman The Movie except her ship lands on Brainiac’s planet where he finds and raises her as his daughter. As Supergirl got older, Brainiac love for her went from a fatherly love to romantic love. Supergirl however rejects Brainiac and tension between them soon grew. Supergirl soon runs away to Earth where he adopts a new identity and gets a job as a gym teacher. Soon, Supergirl would soon make her debut which gets Superman’s attention and the moment, they fall in love. Meanwhile, Brainiac looks for Supergirl and arrives on Earth where he gets wealth and power. Soon, he finds out about Supergirl’s whereabouts, Superman, and their mutual love for each other. Out of jealousy, Brainiac creates a machine to affect his personality.



Superman becomes violent and unpredictable due to Brainiac’s machine which leaves Supergirl in disbelief. Superman’s behavior gets to the point where everyone wants Supergirl to get rid of Superman. Suddenly, Brainiac appears in front of Supergirl with an offer that if she marries him, he will return Superman back to normal but if she doesn’t, he will make Superman the biggest enemy on Earth. Supergirl accepts the offer only to discover a weakness and follows Brainiac to his castle. Superman is freed from Brainiac’s control and desperately looks for Supergirl. While searching for Supergirl, Superman encounters Mr. Mxyzptlk.



The infamous imp from the 5th dimension wreaks serious havoc on the world which leaves Superman with his hands tied to where he is too busy to be Clark. Back at the Daily Planet, Perry is concern of Clark’s whereabouts and believes that he is often where Superman is due to his exclusive articles so he sends Lana and Jimmy to look for him. Superman gets rid of the imp back him says his name backwards then continues to search for Supergirl. Superman finds Supergirl and Brainiac who was about to head back to Brainiac’s planet. A confrontation occurs where Brainiac discovers that Supergirl contacted Superman with x-ray vision so that he could save her which confirms that Supergirl really loves Superman.


Brainiac then traps Superman in an energy cage and takes Supergirl with him into the medieval past where Brainiac is a ruthless tyrant. He reminds Supergirl that if she does not follow him, he will use the machine through the time lapse and kill Superman. Back in the present, Lana and Jimmy finds Superman in the cage because of his super voice to get them to the castle and frees him. Superman, Lana, and Jimmy then follows Brainiac to the same era where Brainiac and Supergirl are at.

Brainiac learns about Superman’s arrival and will not stop at nothing to kill Superman. Superman, Lana and Jimmy disguise themselves as serfs and learns about Brainiac and his whereabouts. They head to Brainiac’s castle then Lana and Jimmy are captured by Brainiac. Brainiac then activates the personality machine but the love between Superman and Supergirl is so strong that they could resist the deadly powers of the machine. Superman then escapes to the future leaving Supergirl, Jimmy, and Lana at the merciful of Brainiac. Superman arrives in the future where he meets Mr. Mxyzptlk again and teams up with him to stop Brainiac.


Superman and Mr. Mxyzptlk returns to the past and the imp send everyone into another dimension where Superman, Supergirl, and Brainiac are powerless. Superman and Brainiac duel against each other as the white knight (Superman) and black knight (Brainiac). Superman wins the duel thanks to Mr. Mxyzptlk and everyone returns to the present with Brainiac left behind and destroyed. The 5th dimension imp then breaks his deal with Superman and stops time with only him, Superman, and Supergirl able to move in the paralyzed world.


Mxy then breaks the street and people into a huge puzzle and gives Superman one minute to solve the puzzle or he will send the puzzle to Mercury. Superman and Supergirl succeed in solving the puzzle then sends Mxyzptlk back to the 5th dimension. Everything is restored back to normal and Superman is forgiven after everyone learns that Brainiac was responsible for Superman’s erratic behavior.


Story for a Superman film: 1/10

Reason: Brainiac was not the Brainiac fans knew, it was so creepy dad who was in love with his adoptive daughter only to be reject by her and turns evil. Superman and Supergirl being in love with each other, I mean come on that is just wrong even if Salkind had not made them related like in the comics. The other thing is that it was too campy and off the wall. I have to say thank God Warner Bros rejected this outline even though the actual Superman III was no better. If I was writing Superman III in the present, I would have used the "Superman: Brainiac" storyline to introduce Brainiac and do him justice.

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10 Comments
DoctorAlgernopKrieger - 6/14/2011, 1:24 PM
I agree with the review it was horrible, yet elements of this treatment clearly showed up in the Superman III Film (such as a reckless Superman) I too am glad it wasn't made but also sad Brainiac wasn't revised in future drafts of the same film.
JM4Superman - 6/14/2011, 3:01 PM
@Grif No Superman II was the best

@TheGoddamnSuperman I agree, Brainiac should have been revised. I guess Brainiac will never see the light in a live action movie
TheLight - 6/15/2011, 8:34 AM
The whole level with the Superman and Supergirl romance was too weird. I'm sure kids would have been like, " Isn't that his cousin?"
JM4Superman - 6/15/2011, 9:06 AM
@TheLight I said the same thing man, it definitely felt weird to me especially Brainiac being in love with Supergirl
TheLight - 6/15/2011, 10:04 AM
@JM4Superman

Dude, you and me both.
JM4Superman - 6/15/2011, 10:06 AM
@TheLight If Ilya had left it up to Donner, Superman III would have sky rocketed critically and commercially
LP4 - 6/16/2011, 9:04 AM
Even BETTER than Superman Returns, LOL. That is sad. But hey at least Superman III had some action in it. Plus who can forget the memorable junkyard battle between Superman and Clark Kent?

mastarockafella - 6/16/2011, 12:22 PM
That script is totally wrong! Good thing WB rejected it.

Even with a crappy story line of Superman battling Nuclear Man, at least we get some action all the way up to the moon and around the world.
LP4 - 6/16/2011, 11:46 PM
@mastarockafella- SupermanIII and IV had way more action than Singer's crappy Superman Returns shit.

As "bad" as III and IV were...at least they managed to keep me awake.

And I figured that was the whole point...keeping the viewer awake.

Also I liked SupermanIII yeah it had problems- Gus, Webster...the lame Super-computer wannabe Brainiac. But still...like i said- the junkyard battle between Supes and Clark was great and I liked the idea of him going back to Smallville and retracing his early roots.

A much better film than Stalkerman Returns.

JM4Superman - 6/19/2011, 8:18 AM
@ I would take Superman IV over Returns anytime

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