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Donner's cut of Superman II

Warner Brothers is supposedly preparing a “Richard Donner’s Cut” of SUPERMAN II for a mammoth 14-disc collectors DVD set.

Why a Donner’s cut? you ask.

Here’s the short version of the story: SUPERMAN and SUPERMAN II (like THE THREE MUSKETEERS and THE FOUR MUSKETEERS, which were also produced by the Salking Brothers) were conceived as one long movie, cut in two halfs. Director Richard Donner completed the first movie and most of the second before he had a falling out with the Salkinds.

After SUPERMAN came out, the Salkinds hired Richard Lester (who had directed the MUSKETEER films for them) to finish up SUPERMAN II. Lester ended up not just completing the film but redoing lots of it. For example, Lester filmed a new scene to explain how the three supervillains are released from the Phantom Zone. In Donner’s version, they were to be released by the explosion of the nuclear missile that Superman diverted into space at the end of first film.

The final version of SUPERMAN II went out with Lester’s name on the credits, even though much of it was shot by Donner. The “Donner Cut” is supposed to present a version closer to what Donner originally intended.

But there’s a catch: Donner is not actually involved in the “Donner Cut.”

Aint It Cool News has an interview with the director, wherein he states that he gave his blessing to the project but did not want to participate: “It was too many years ago for me to be involved. […] So it’s not my cut. It’s not really my film anymore at all.”

Nevertheless, it will be fun for fans to be able to compare this version with the one credited to Richard Lester. One one hitch, though: you will only be able to purchase the “Donner Cut” as part of the DVD box set. With fourteen discs, the price is likely a little steep for those motivated just by idle curioisity.