Superman Returns - Timeline

Pro Bot

Well-Known Member
Earth-96 - Singerverse
Timeline Reasoning
Superman Returns: Prequel #1, "Krypton to Earth" is dated 1968 by backtracking from 1997 based on the Donnerverse timeline, with the assumption that the events were similar enough.

Prop dates from Superman Returns places the Earth-96 version of Superman: The Movie in July 1997.

The Earth-96 version of Superman II is possibly set in 2001 due to Lois and Clark being implied to have conceived Jason in this film, with Clark wiping her memory at the end of the film and seemingly leaving Earth soon after, with Lois starting a relationship with Richard White soon after and assuming Jason was his son.

The frame story of Superman Returns: Prequel #4, "Lois Lane" explains the backstory of the newspaper "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman". That newspaper is dated February 13th, 2005 in the film. The 2005 is inaccurate.

Superman Returns: Prequel #3, "Lex Luthor" is 5 years after Superman disappeared but before he returned.

Superman Returns: Prequel #2, "Ma Kent" is set shortly before and right at the start of Superman Returns.

Superman Returns has two conflicting newspapers, both state September 2006. The first is dated the 28th, while the second, days later in the film, 29th. I personally think the second is accurate as the shot of the newspaper lingers longer.

A version of Superman III is implied to have occurred in this reality, with Clark having gone nuts and fought himself. Lacy Warfield from Superman IV: The Quest for Peace is shown on the Daily Planet memorial.


Crisis on Infinite Earths is placed in 2019.

Superman = 0000CD
Batwoman = 475577
The Flash = FF0000
DC's Legends of Tomorrow = 0000FF

Timeline
1968
????

Superman Returns: Prequel #1, "Krypton to Earth" (pg. 1-20)
Superman Returns Chapter 2 (0:00:00 - 0:05:03)
Superman Returns: Prequel #1, "Krypton to Earth" (pg. 21-22)


1971
????
Superman Returns: Prequel #1, "Krypton to Earth" (pg. 23-30)
Superman Returns: Prequel #2, "Ma Kent" (pg. 7-8)


1981
????

Superman Returns: Prequel #2, "Ma Kent" (pg. 13-16)

1983
????

Superman Returns: Prequel #2, "Ma Kent" (pg. 10)
Superman Returns Chapter 5 (0:17:47 - 0:19:17)


1985
????
Superman Returns: Prequel #2, "Ma Kent" (pg. 19-20, 22-23)

1997
July 23
Superman Returns: Prequel #4, "Lois Lane" (pg. 6)

July 24
Superman Returns: Prequel #4, "Lois Lane" (pg. 8, 10)

July 25
Superman Returns: Prequel #3, "Lex Luthor" (pg. 5)
Superman Returns: Prequel #3, "Lex Luthor" (pg. 3-4, 9-12)


2001
????

Superman Returns: Prequel #4, "Lois Lane" (pg. 9, 11-12)
Superman Returns: Prequel #3, "Lex Luthor" (pg. 6)
Superman Returns: Prequel #2, "Ma Kent" (pg. 24-25)
Superman Returns: Prequel #4, "Lois Lane" (pg. 13-18)


December 25
Superman Returns: Prequel #4, "Lois Lane" (pg. 19)

2002
????
Superman Returns: Prequel #4, "Lois Lane" (pg. 20)

2006
February 11

Superman Returns: Prequel #4, "Lois Lane" (pg. 1-5)

February 12
Superman Returns: Prequel #4, "Lois Lane" (pg. 7, 21-23)

February 13
Superman Returns: Prequel #4, "Lois Lane" (pg. 24-26)

????
Superman Returns: Prequel #3, "Lex Luthor" (pg. 20-21)
Superman Returns: Prequel #3, "Lex Luthor" (pg. 1-2, 7-8, 13-19, 22-28)


September 26
Superman Returns: Prequel #2, "Ma Kent" (pg. 1-6, 9, 11-12, 17-18, 21)
Superman Returns Chapter 2 (0:05:04 - 0:07:33)
Superman Returns: Prequel #2, "Ma Kent" (pg. 21)
Superman Returns Chapter 3 (0:07:34 - 0:09:04)
Superman Returns: Prequel #2, "Ma Kent" (pg. 26-27)
Superman Returns Chapter 3 (0:09:05 - 0:09:49)
Superman Returns: Prequel #2, "Ma Kent" (pg. 28)
Superman Returns Chapter 3 (0:09:50 - 0:10:46)
Superman Returns Chapter 4 (0:10:47 - 0:16:31)


September 27
Superman Returns Chapter 5 (0:16:32 - 0:17:46)
Superman Returns Chapter 5 (0:19:18 - 0:19:46)
Superman Returns Chapter 6 (0:19:47 - 0:21:28)
Superman Returns Chapter 7 (0:21:29 - 0:25:22)
Superman Returns Chapter 8 (0:25:23 - 0:27:25)
Superman Returns Chapter 9 (0:27:26 - 0:31:10)
Superman Returns Chapter 10 (0:31:11 - 0:35:08)
Superman Returns Chapter 11 (0:35:09 - 0:38:48)
Superman Returns Chapter 12 (0:38:49 - 0:41:54)
Superman Returns Chapter 13 (0:41:55 - 0:46:48)
Superman Returns Chapter 14 (0:46:49 - 0:49:24)
Superman Returns Chapter 15 (0:49:25 - 0:53:49)
Superman Returns Chapter 16 (0:53:50 - 0:56:48)
Superman Returns Chapter 17 (0:56:49 - 1:01:13)
Superman Returns Chapter 18 (1:01:14 - 1:01:22)


September 28
Superman Returns Chapter 18 (1:01:23 - 1:06:39)
Superman Returns Chapter 19 (1:06:40 - 1:11:48)
Superman Returns Chapter 20 (1:06:40 - 1:17:12)
Superman Returns Chapter 21 (1:17:13 - 1:17:53)


September 29
Superman Returns Chapter 21 (1:17:54 - 1:19:41)
Superman Returns Chapter 22 (1:19:42 - 1:22:58)
Superman Returns Chapter 23 (1:22:59 - 1:28:52)
Superman Returns Chapter 24 (1:28:53 - 1:32:58)
Superman Returns Chapter 25 (1:32:59 - 1:35:48)
Superman Returns Chapter 26 (1:36:49 - 1:40:08)
Superman Returns Chapter 27 (1:40:09 - 1:44:30)
Superman Returns Chapter 28 (1:44:31 - 1:49:27)
Superman Returns Chapter 29 (1:49:28 - 1:51:51)
Superman Returns Chapter 30 (1:51:52 - 1:56:15)
Superman Returns Chapter 31 (1:56:16 - 1:58:33)
Superman Returns Chapter 32 (1:58:34 - 2:01:53)
Superman Returns Chapter 33 (2:01:54 - 2:04:36)
Superman Returns Chapter 34 (2:04:37 - 2:07:42)
Superman Returns Chapter 35 (2:07:43 - 2:11:40)
Superman Returns Chapter 36 (2:11:41 - 2:15:46)
Superman Returns Chapter 37 (2:15:47 - 2:19:37)
Superman Returns Chapter 38 (2:19:38 - 2:20:28)
Superman Returns Chapter 39 (2:20:29 - 2:24:05)
Superman Returns Chapter 40 (2:24:06 - 2:26:32)


2019
December 10

Batwoman 1x09, "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part 2" (0:23:22 - 0:24:12) [Pre-Crisis]
Batwoman 1x09, "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part 2" (0:25:09 - 0:30:02) [Pre-Crisis]

2020
January 16

Legends of Tomorrow 5x00, "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part 5" (0:37:32 - 0:37:40)

Viewing Order
Superman Returns: Prequel #1, "Krypton to Earth"
Superman Returns: Prequel #4, "Lois Lane"
Superman Returns: Prequel #3, "Lex Luthor"

Superman Returns: Prequel #2, "Ma Kent"
Superman Returns
Batwoman 1x09, "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part 2"
The Flash 6x09, "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part 3"
DC's Legends of Tomorrow 8x00, "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part 5"
 
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selfishmisery

Well-Known Member
Superman 3 and 4 as "[Erased Pre-Crisis Timeline]", perhaps?

Clark mentioned the evil clone scenario (which happened in the third film) in Crisis. You can also just assume he had a kid pre-Crisis (where 3 and 4 were canon) and post-Crisis (where Returns is canon but not 3 & 4).
 

selfishmisery

Well-Known Member
I always like the idea that in these standalone worlds there are unseen heroes. For example, Raimi Spider-Man has Doctor Strange, Earth-89 has a Superman and Earth-96 has Viki Vale, the Joker, Batman and possibly Robin. In Superman Returns: Prequel, Perry White mentions bringing Viki Vale from the Gotham Gazette on "The World Needs Superman" story because she knows a thing about caped wonders, suggesting Batman and possibly a sidekick or two exist in this world. In Superman Returns, Gotham is directly mentioned. In Crisis on Infinite Earths, Gotham and a reference to the Joker are made, with Joker gassing the Daily Planet killing Clark's wife, Lois Lane.

I honestly wouldn't mind if post-crisis Earth-89 and Earth-96 were merged and The Flash set up a loose adaptation of Kingdom Come with classic film versions of characters. It would allow them to reboot Michael Keaton easily, though personally I think that if Batman & Robin were canon it would be better since "This is why Superman works alone". I guess whatever Joker killed Lois and friends is the one Batman captured shortly before his universe was wiped out.

Concept art showed Michael Keaton as Earth-99 Bruce Wayne, so we've kinda seen what he'd look like in a Kingdom Come inspired world.

Wishful thinking, I know. I'm contempt not knowing anything about Batman or other heroes. The idea of Christopher Reeve in a version of the Justice League is enough of an image to leave an impression on me.

I included the entirety of Crisis on Infinite Earths because to watch this Superman you need to have context for his appearance, unlike the Batman Anthology/Burtonverse.
Might as well share my ideal Kingdom Come additions, to add to your ideas that you brought up:
1.) Wally West succeeding John Welsey Shipp's Flash; after he 'vanished' and Central City is destroyed. (Earth-90 merged as well, and the destruction of Central City takes the place of Kansas in the adaptation.)
2.) A reference to Wes Craven's or 90s TV series Swamp Thing (NOT the same continuity) and Shaq's Steel (but don't bring him on, because he can't act) but making his movie canon.
But both Swampy and Steel were in Kingdom Come. I'm not just condensing continuities lol.

This will never happen...But perhaps a Kingdom Come mini-series on HBO Max will one day.

giphy.gif
 
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Pro Bot

Well-Known Member
Might as well share my ideal Kingdom Come additions, in addition to your ideas that you brought up:
1.) Wally West succeeding John Welsey Shipp's Flash; after he 'vanished' and Central City is destroyed. (Earth-90 merged as well, and the destruction of Central City takes the place of Kansas in the adaptation.)
2.) A reference to Wes Craven's or 90 TV series Swamp Thing (NOT the same continuity) and Shaq's Steel (but don't bring him on, because he can't act) but making his movie canon.
But both Swampy and Steel were in Kingdom Come. I'm not just condensing continuities lol.

This will never happen...But perhaps a Kingdom Come mini-series on HBO Max will one day.

giphy.gif
What about Lois Lane being referenced, and Batman and Superman being films?

Pahaps in this hypothetical world, the post-Crisis version of the show doesn't have these easily dismisable easter eggs and references, and the films are replaced with some other franchise and Lois is simply a recognisable reporter.

I also like the idea of Earth-52 (GR Superman), Earth-66 Earth-76 and Earth-72 (MG Shazam) being combined, honestly. Could make for a pretty funny comic.

I'd love to see Brandon wear the cape again someday. It seems as if DC realized they had an excuse for multiple versions of characters and decided to have 3 Batmen in the span of 3 years, assuming Keaton comes back, so maybe theres hope for the most iconic version of Superman?
 
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Pro Bot

Well-Known Member
For Superman II, you gonna go with the Richard Donner version?
I personally don't think that version fits as well as the Lester cut. It was released after Superman Returns, so the film was already written as a sequel to the original version, it's implied Clark got Lois pregnant with Jason in Superman II and left earth before they realised, while in the Donner Cut Superman erases that entire event. Lex also hints he's been to the Fortress, which happened in Superman II, but not after the end of the Donner Cut, though I suppose it could give him a sense of Déjà vu like Lois had. If Superman goes back in time after something bad happens, why didn't he save the Daily Planet? I think it could fit, Lois and Clark could date after, have sex then Clark wipes her mind, assuming he can still do that in the Donner Cut timeline, and leaves Earth for Krypton, but the Lester Cut gives that information on-screen rather than us having to infer that.
 
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Pro Bot

Well-Known Member
Yep, all films are canon. You can see Lacy Warfield, from Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, on the memorial on the wall in Metropolis in Crisis.
0:24, top row, second across.

I suppose it really is like Gotham, huh? Well, you can't argue that they didn't intend to combine these worlds. It's all connected, apparently.

If you don't remember:
 
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Pro Bot

Well-Known Member
Do you think I should move everything to the 1970s-1980s?
1977 - Superman: The Movie: Special Edition
1977 - Superman II
1982 - Superman Returns
1983 - Superman III
1983 - Supergirl
1985 - Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
1995 - Crisis on Infinite Earths

This might be a much better way to fit everything together. I don't think I saw anything in Crisis that makes it modern day. It could be like Earth-16, Earth-F or Earth-666, where a traveller to that universe ends up at a different point in time. Lex also states that Superman took 5 years of his life in Superman Returns: Prequel. If Superman II took place a couple months after the first film, that would fit better. A lot of the timeline evidence fits better overall if this reality was set in the 1970s or 1980s. For example, the technology, the arms race and the twin towers remain in tact. I'd have to ignore some newspapers in Superman Returns that are related to Superman Returns: Prequel, but I don't think that matters too much.

Though, more time between Superman Returns and the other films gives a bit more time for Lois and Richard to split. I suppose Jason could have a baby sitter, but they had no problem bringing him to the planet. Pahaps now he has powers to an extent because they stopped treating his "health issues", they feel they don't need to. My head-canon is that Richard has shared custody, he's still "technically" the father after all. No idea why he's not at the planet, but that's what retconing does. These films were never meant to fit together, but thankfully it's not impossible.

I do like a long gap of 10 years, though. Enough time for Clark or Superman to date Lois, reveal his identity without using a mind wiping kiss, get married, and finally a remix of Kingdom Come to occur.

Edit: Computers, so no, but at 1:30 is that a typewriter or am I seeing things? It's probably just a printer.

Although, 5 films vs 1 film + tv crossover. It's all a mess anyway, either decade works. Pahaps in this world of heroes, technology evolved faster due to their presence from 1977 onward. You can come up with whatever reason you want for Superman Returns, though.
 
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selfishmisery

Well-Known Member
Do you think I should move everything to the 1970s-1980s?
1977 - Superman: The Movie: Special Edition
1977 - Superman II
1982 - Superman Returns
1983 - Superman III
1983 - Supergirl
1985 - Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
1995 - Crisis on Infinite Earths

This might be a much better way to fit everything together. I don't think I saw anything in Crisis that makes it modern day. It could be like Earth-16, Earth-F or Earth-666, where a traveller to that universe ends up at a different point in time. Lex also states that Superman took 5 years of his life in Superman Returns: Prequel. If Superman II took place a couple months after the first film, that would fit better. A lot of the timeline evidence fits better overall if this reality was set in the 1970s or 1980s. For example, the technology, the arms race and the twin towers remain in tact. I'd have to ignore some newspapers in Superman Returns that are related to Superman Returns: Prequel, but I don't think that matters too much.

Though, more time between Superman Returns and the other films gives a bit more time for Lois and Richard to split. I suppose Jason could have a baby sitter, but they had no problem bringing him to the planet. Pahaps now he has powers to an extent because they stopped treating his "health issues", they feel they don't need to. My head-canon is that Richard has shared custody, he's still "technically" the father after all. No idea why he's not at the planet, but that's what retconing does. These films were never meant to fit together, but thankfully it's not impossible.

I do like a long gap of 10 years, though. Enough time for Clark or Superman to date, reveal their identity without using a mind wiping kiss, get married, and finally a remix of Kingdom Come to occur.

Edit: Computers, so no, but at 1:30 is that a typewriter or am I seeing things? It's probably just a printer.

Although, 5 films vs 1 film + tv crossover. It's all a mess anyway, either decade works. Pahaps in this world of heroes, technology evolved faster due to their presence from 1977 onward. You can come up with whatever reason you want for Superman Returns, though.

In my opinion, no. Once again, the whole "Time is moves different on Earth-whatever" was an assumption of Tom Ellis' that people used as an absolute fact.

That idea gets super convoluted the more you think about how different universes move at different times despite the big bang in Crisis (Part 4) being what created ALL Earths. I would assume the same pre-Crisis since the Dawn of Time IS where all Earths came from. No late bloomers, that would imply a secondary big bang.
There's not gonna be a dark age where an Earth freezes in time, they all have to be concurrent with each other. Same day, same month, same year.
 
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Pro Bot

Well-Known Member
In my opinion, no. Once again, the whole "Time is moves different on Earth-whatever" was a assumption of Tom Ellis' that people used as an absolute fact.

That idea gets super convoluted the more you think about how different universes move at different times despite the big bang in Crisis (Part 4) being what created ALL Earths. I would assume the same pre-Crisis since the Dawn of Time IS where all Earths came from. No late bloomers, that would imply a secondary big bang.
There's not gonna be a dark age where Earth freezes in time, they all have to be concurrent with each other. Same day, same month, same year.
Reasonable. What if it was the same day in terms of how long the universe had been in existence, but in Earth-96 the calendar was in the past?
 

selfishmisery

Well-Known Member
Reasonable. What if it was the same day in terms of how long the universe had been in existence, but in Earth-96 the calendar was in the past?

Printing error. Gotham (the show) could follow that same logic with its conflicting dates, so why not this universe?
 

Pro Bot

Well-Known Member
Printing error. Gotham (the show) could follow that same logic with its conflicting dates, so why not this universe?
Alright. What about Lex saying that Krypton exploded in 1948, which leads to one thing to another that places the film in 1977, or the "class of '65" sign from Superman III now actually meaning 1985. The Twin Towers too, but to a lesser extent as the attack may have not happened. The technology is inconsistent, but I suppose the Daily Planet may be testing experimental equipment, and humanity has really only got 80s technology but are in modern day. Newspapers are an indication of time, but I don't think they can fully be trusted, so those don't matter quite as much.

My idea in my previous comment was that the universe 96 was created the exact same time as everything else, but the human calendar was literally behind as everything was delayed by 20 years. In this way, the films are in the past if isolated but in modern day as a universe.

Probably overthinking it.
 

selfishmisery

Well-Known Member
Alright. What about Lex saying that Krypton exploded in 1948, which leads to one thing to another that places the film in 1977, or the "class of '65" sign from Superman III now actually meaning 1985. The Twin Towers too, but to a lesser extent as the attack may have not happened. The technology is inconsistent, but I suppose the Daily Planet may be testing experimental equipment, and humanity has really only got 80s technology but are in modern day. Newspapers are an indication of time, but I don't think they can fully be trusted, so those don't matter quite as much.

My idea in my previous comment was that the universe 96 was created the exact same time as everything else, but the human calendar was literally behind as everything was delayed by 20 years. In this way, the films are in the past if isolated but in modern day as a universe.

Probably overthinking it.
Hmm.
I would almost say that the events taking place 20 years earlier are post-Crisis since we don't see "Earth-96" interact with anything outside of Superman flying around the Earth in a brief shot.
Basically Superman is 30 years older in that shot than he was at the end of Superman IV post-Crisis.

Whereas with PRE-Crisis, it's more closer to present day like Superman Returns established.
 

Pro Bot

Well-Known Member
Hmm.
I would almost say that the events taking place 20 years earlier are post-Crisis since we don't see "Earth-96" interact with anything outside of Superman flying around the Earth in a brief shot.
Basically Superman is 30 years older in that shot than he was at the end of Superman IV post-Crisis.

Whereas with PRE-Crisis, it's more closer to present day like Superman Returns established.
Yeah, that's what I thought, but all the connections to the Reeve and Routh films are pre-crisis. For example, we get Brandon Routh, computers and Jason from Superman Returns, but "second time I've fought myself" from Superman III and Lacy Warfield from Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. I interpreted that as either the attack on the planet being rewritten or Superman no longer feeling that hope needs to cut through the darkness after getting closure.

It seems that the pre-crisis timeline is all the films, while post-crisis is pretty much the same but without Kingdom Come.

I hope we get some kind of appearance by Routh anywhere to clear this up, Arrowverse, HBO, DCEU, doesn't matter. That or confirmation of canonicity. For now, I'll keep it modern, as it just fits the bigger picture.
 

selfishmisery

Well-Known Member
Yeah, that's what I thought, but all the connections to the Reeve and Routh films are pre-crisis. For example, we get Brandon Routh, computers and Jason from Superman Returns, but "second time I've fought myself" from Superman III and Lacy Warfield from Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. I interpreted that as either the attack on the planet being rewritten or Superman no longer feeling that hope needs to cut through the darkness after getting closure.

It seems that the pre-crisis timeline is all the films, while post-crisis is pretty much the same but without Kingdom Come.

I hope we get some kind of appearance by Routh anywhere to clear this up, Arrowverse, HBO, DCEU, doesn't matter. That or confirmation of canonicity. For now, I'll keep it modern, as it just fits the bigger picture.
I'm saying the same events happened no matter what. But with pre-Crisis you ignore the older dates; whereas post-Crisis it's retconned as those 'older' dates being canon.

It's convoluted, but that's the only way I can figure that out.

If anything, Crisis is a blessing for one-note continuity errors since you can interpret certain scenes with conflicting information as "pre" or "post" Crisis.
 

Pro Bot

Well-Known Member
I'm saying the same events happened no matter what. But with pre-Crisis you ignore the older dates; whereas post-Crisis it's retconned as those 'older' dates being canon.

It's convoluted, but that's the only way I can figure that out.

If anything, Crisis is a blessing for one-note continuity errors since you can interpret certain scenes with conflicting information as "pre" or "post" Crisis.
True. I think that might be how I'll explain Batman 3-4 and Catwoman no longer being in Earth-89 if it contradicts those films. Simple multiversal rebirth, now Batman Returns leads into The Flash.
 

TalonCard

Well-Known Member
There's not gonna be a dark age where an Earth freezes in time, they all have to be concurrent with each other. Same day, same month, same year.

Although since Superman physically turned back time by reversing the Earth's rotation in Superman I, Earth 96 should be slightly behind most other Earths where that didn't happen. XD :D ;)
 
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