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November 28, 2006

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut is a 2006 re-edited director's cut of the 1980 film Superman II. It features a significant amount of lost footage shot by the original director, Richard Donner, in 1977 before he was taken off the project and replaced by Richard Lester, who not only completed the remainder of the film for its theatrical release, but also rewrote and reshot a substantial portion of Donner's footage in order to receive a director's credit. In 2001, during the DVD restoration of Superman: The Movie, editor Michael Thau became interested in completing Donner's version of Superman II. In 2006, Donner's footage of Marlon Brando was discovered and used in Bryan Singer's Superman Returns, finally creating the possibility of restoring Donner's cut.

The cut was re-edited by Thau under the supervision of Donner and creative consultant Tom Mankiewicz. Unlike many "special edition" and "director's cut" movies released over the years, The Richard Donner Cut is a largely different film serving as an alternative version of the theatrical film, and is an attempt to closely follow its original script. It features its original opening and ending, alternative takes and camera angles, and deleted scenes featuring Brando, whose character Jor-El was largely replaced by Susannah York's Lara in the theatrical release.

Since Donner never completed Superman II in its original form, certain scenes filmed by Lester along with newly created visual effects shots by Thau had to be added to the film in order to finish it as closely to Donner's vision as possible, while providing a complete story. An early screen test of one pivotal scene featuring Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder was also added to the film, as Donner never properly filmed the scene.

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut was released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2006, coinciding with the release of Superman Returns.


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