Why Christopher Reeve Turned Down a Supergirl Movie

Christopher Reeve's Superman was supposed to have a small role in the 1984 spin-off Supergirl; that's why the star pulled out as filming neared.

Christopher Reeve ditched a planned Superman cameo in the 1984 spin-off Supergirl. Superman 1978 marked the titular superhero's big-screen debut, and it became Reeve's signature role, an actor who perfectly embodies what makes a superhero special. Reeve was always honest about the shortcomings of his later Superman films. While Superman 2 was another success, the saga's fortunes took a turn for the worse with installments 3 and 4. Superman 3 brings comedy legend Richard Pryor to play a hacker, but it's more of a wacky comedy than a Superman movie. Superman IV was a box office disaster that doomed the series and marked Reeve's Superman presence.

Sandwiched between III and IV is Supergirl. That cast Helen Slater as Superman's cousin, who comes to Earth to retrieve the Kryptonian artifact and fight Faye Dunaway's witch. Supergirl originally appeared in the more ambitious version of Superman III, where she would be Superman's lover rather than his cousin. Reeve himself was the one who suggested Jeannot Szwarc direct Supergirl because the two had worked together on rom-com timelapse, but three months before production began, he told the director He "felt wrong" (via the documentary "Will You Believe: The Movie Saga of Superman") about the spinoff and quit.

Superman Was Supposed To Be Supergirl's Mentor (Would It Have Worked?)

In the final film, Superman is mentioned leaving Earth on a "peace-seeking mission" to another galaxy, explaining his absence. Supergirl's original plan was that Reeve's superhero would instruct his cousin and show her how to use her powers before he needed to be rescued after being cursed. Several factors could have contributed to Reeve's exit from the Supergirl movies. After Superman III hit theaters, Reeve admitted to being unhappy with the sequel's ending, and felt that its comedic focus hurt the final product.

After its release, Reeve stated in several interviews that he would no longer be playing Superman. While Supergirl was in production months before Superman III hit theaters, he may have had a hunch of how the film would react. It's also possible that he's concerned about how closely connected he is to the character in the public consciousness, and feels that if he doesn't dabble in other parts, he'll be forever stereotyped. It's just the lure of big checks and creative engagement That led him to Superman IV — which, ironically, received much poorer reviews and failed to recoup its budget.

Reeve Would Have Considered Superman V

Of course, even though Reeve - who later dropped the Hannibal role - only appeared for ten minutes in Supergirl, his scene might be considered a climax. It would also make the films more connected, as his absence is acutely felt in the final product. While Reeve's was outraged by Superman IV's reception, he said at the 1994 Dixie Trek convention (via YouTube) that he was open to a return -- if it had a good story and the budget to make it a big event. Tragically, Reeve was paralyzed in a riding accident the following year, making such a return impossible.

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