Superman Anthology - Timeline

Pro Bot

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Can you give me the exact duration of the movies (and the 2 versions of Superman II) please?
I don't understand whag are the canon versions and there are multiple versions in Wikipedia, and sice I've never seen one of those movies, I don't know what to watch?

Thanks!
The duration is on here. Superman: The Movie: Extended Cut isn't as good as the other versions, it being so bloated, but it's basically the same film but with more... stuff. It was originally a tv movie, meaning they edited the cinema film to be longer so they could make more money off of it. There was demand to see it, so Warner Brothers released it, much to Richard Donner's displeasure. Since it's basically just an extension of the events, I included it here like any Extended Cut should be.

Superman II is the original version, and works better in canon, but Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut is still an official film. I've used it here to solve a small continuity issue. It involves a different ending that makes it possible to include both films as canon. If that's not your thing, feel free to ignore it.

Other than that, Superman I, II, Returns, III, Supergirl, IV and Crisis work well together, continuity-wize. You just have to ignore release order for Superman Returns. It all makes sense due to some references in Crisis.
 
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Dok

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So the canon version of the first movie is the 188-minute version?
 

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So the canon version of the first movie is the 188-minute version?
They're all canon, technically. That's just the one with the most information about the events, if that makes sense. Sort of like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Extended Editions, which don't overwrite the movies but instead add to them.

The director prefers the Special Edition, and hates the Extended Cut. If you want to know everything, watch the Extended Cut. The Extended Cut is still an official WB restoration of the tv version of the film, complete with revised music to tie scenes together.

You might enjoy the Special Edition more, but the Extended Cut is the most "canon", I'd say.
 
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True, Jason could just be off screen with Lois. Is Superman: Miracle Monday also canonical? Its not an adaptation and could fit sometime after Superman Returns or right after Superman 2
 

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True, Jason could just be off screen with Lois. Is Superman: Miracle Monday also canonical? Its not an adaptation and could fit sometime after Superman Returns or right after Superman 2
Apparently that's set in the comics universe.
 

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Yeah, Lois Lane is barely in Superman III and IV, so Jason's absence is actually the least problematic element of reconciling Returns with the original films.
The most problematic is probably the technological evolution of this world. It has 70s technology, 00s technology, then goes to 80s technology. This is quite obvious between Superman Returns and Superman III.

I mean, to be fair, the Alien universe does this too, where more advanced technology in 2122 resembles 70s/80s computing, whereas in modern day stories we can see it resembling our world. The Gotham tv show acts as if it's in a timeless state while taking place in the 1980s.

The only thing I can say to that is it's one of those worlds that just evolves in a strange way.
 

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Heres actually an argument for why the Richard Donner Cut is actually canon, not just an alternative sequel that I'm including for the sake of it. RCO013_1471667630.jpg
Superman Returns Prequel comic. The top left shows Superman saving Lois from the car in the first film.

Except, in the first film, Lois was never buried after the time travel.

So, the idea is that the ending of that film leads into the beginning of Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut, which is immediately after Superman. At the end of that film, Superman travels back in time to the first film and stops the original missile from exploding the Phantom Zone open. Then, he simply saves Lois by being more super, without the time travel.

You know the rest, his mind adjusts to the timeline and he forgets about Zod, then the rest of the films play out with Superman II (theatrical) taking place.

It's definitely speculation around a small continuity error, but yeah. They're both official films meant to work as part of the Christopher Reeve Universe.
 
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Watching Supergirl and reading Superman Returns: Prequel, I suppose that the film could technically still take place between Superman II and Superman Returns.

Quote from Supergirl:
"The president confirmed reports that Superman has indeed embarked on a special peace-seeking mission to a galaxy scientists estimate may be serveral hundred billion light-years away."
Ignoring the absurdity of that number (which is way past the known universe)

Superman went to search for Krypton survivors in Superman Returns. The comic has him discovering that Krypton has been discovered on the news at the Kent Farm, and he leaves earth soon after a conversation with Martha. I guess this would mean he talked to the president shortly after. This would put Supergirl close to the events of the 2001 flashbacks.

Of course, this is unintentional, but it just doesn't sit right with me that Superman leaves Earth AGAIN.
 
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Official response! Doesn't make much sense granted, but at least it's there. Thanks, Guggenheim!

Don't think I'll change the timeline though. It's literally impossible to have it before Superman Returns. I just asked about Lana saying that Martha is dead in Superman III and Clark selling the Farm. We'll see if there's an answer on that.

Superman III-IV confirmed canon, though!
 
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Watching Supergirl and reading Superman Returns: Prequel, I suppose that the film could technically still take place between Superman II and Superman Returns.

Quote from Supergirl:

Superman went to search for Krypton survivors in Superman Returns. The comic has him discovering that Krypton has been discovered on the news at the Kent Farm, and he leaves earth soon after a conversation with Martha. I guess this would mean he talked to the president shortly after. This would put Supergirl close to the events of the 2001 flashbacks.

Of course, this is unintentional, but it just doesn't sit right with me that Superman leaves Earth AGAIN.
Isn't it implied in Supergirl that the surviving kryptonians know Superman? Because in Returns, Superman has no idea there are other kryptonians alive, and he should be aware Supergirl has visited Earth if he caught up on all the news of the previous 5 yeras.
 

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Isn't it implied in Supergirl that the surviving kryptonians know Superman? Because in Returns, Superman has no idea there are other kryptonians alive, and he should be aware Supergirl has visited Earth if he caught up on all the news of the previous 5 yeras.
They would know him regardless. They seem to follow Earth culture from inside "inner space".

At the end of the film, Supergirl goes back to "inner space". Jimmy Olsen and Lucy Lane promise not to tell anyone she was there. It'd probably just be rumours of a Supergirl who was around for a few days and then never heard of again.
 

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Having actually seen Crisis now, it's really a potential fix-all for any continuity issues anywhere: since Crisis did occur and was resolved in multiple potential futures of The Flash, any of the Earths could have been destroyed and remade multiple times with slightly different variations at any given point. Martha's Superman III death, the non-Keaton Earth-89 Batmen, the different cuts of any given DC movie, any of them could be the effects of earlier iterations of Crisis.
 

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Having actually seen Crisis now, it's really a potential fix-all for any continuity issues anywhere: since Crisis did occur and was resolved in multiple potential futures of The Flash, any of the Earths could have been destroyed and remade multiple times with slightly different variations at any given point. Martha's Superman III death, the non-Keaton Earth-89 Batmen, the different cuts of any given DC movie, any of them could be the effects of earlier iterations of Crisis.
Technically speaking, I agree. If they go in that direction for Earth-89, I'll definitely end up treating it like that.

But Superman III is supposed to be canon the way it was presented on-screen along with Superman Returns in Earth-96. It's also just a bit messy to assume that every continuity issue is an effect of Crisis.

I think if Crisis meant anything, it would be that they can use it to change things moving forward rather than retcon past continuity.
 
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In my headcanon, all six films (seven if you count the Donner cut) exist in both Earth-89 and 96, but the Earth-89 version has a slightly different timeline that makes Superman I-IV be placed during the 2000s, while Earth-96 has a slightly different timeline for Superman Returns, making it be around the 80s.

So the timeline would be:

Earth 89
2000: Superman: The Movie, Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut
2001: Superman II, Supergirl
2006: Superman Returns
2013: Superman III
2015: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
2020: Crisis on Infinite Earths

Earth 96
1978: Superman: The Movie, Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut
1979: Superman II, Supergirl
1984: Superman Returns
1980: Superman III
1985: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
1989: Batman
1992: Batman Returns
1995: Batman Forever
1997: Batman & Robin

Earth-96 has the "true" version of Superman I-IV, where all the tech and dates are exactly what we see in the film, while in Earth-89 the films are happened slightly differently from what we saw on screen, with the tech and dates corresponding to the 2000s.
Earth-89 has the "true" version of Superman Returns, where all the tech and dates are exactly what we see in the film, while in Earth-96 the film happened slightly differently from what we saw on screen, with the tech and dates corresponding to the 80s.
 

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