Over 220 weeks have passed since "Superman Returns" opened in theaters. Since then, the Man of Steel has been relegated to his Fortress of Solitude and the creative forces behind the franchise have struggled to bring another installment to the big screen. Now, with Zack Snyder ("Watchmen") tapped to direct a new film, Superman seems poised to return — if not like a speeding bullet, then certainly with all due haste — to the multiplex.
As we await his arrival, let's take a look back.
June 28, 2006: The Bryan Singer-directed "Superman Returns" opens with a relatively disappointing $52.5 million weekend gross on its way toward $391.1 million in worldwide box-office sales. Fan reaction to Singer's somewhat maudlin take on the superhero, coming a year after the gritty "Batman Begins," ranges from indifference to antagonistic. But a sequel is already in the works.
August 22, 2008: For over two years, the sequel was beset by production delays, budget disputes, shifting release dates and Singer's departure to direct the Tom Cruise flick "Valkyrie." In early '08, Singer still had plans to move forward with a new "Superman" following the writers' strike. Today, Warner Bros. announces it will reboot the franchise once again. "Had 'Superman' worked in 2006, we would have had a movie for Christmas of this year or 2009, but now the plan is just to reintroduce Superman," Warner Bros. Pictures Group President Jeff Robinov says. "We're going to try to go dark to the extent that the character allows it."
November 19, 2008: When asked if he'll direct the next "Superman," Singer tells MTV News, "At the moment, I can't really talk about that. I wish I could. From my perspective, I'm going to take a brief pause. This movie has taken a long time, so I'm going to take a pause. A movie like that takes some time to do right. That's all I can say about that."
July 6, 2009: In the absence of official announcements, rumors about directors (the Wachowski brothers?) and characters (no Lex Luthor?) proliferate. A piece of solid news comes on this day, when Brandon Routh, who played the Man of Steel in "Returns," tells us that his contract for the franchise has expired, casting doubt on whether he will reprise his role if and when a new film goes into production.
July 9, 2009: A lengthy legal battle between the heirs of the Superman creators and the companies that control the hero, DC Comics and Warner Bros., ends as a judge rules that if production on a new "Superman" film does not begin by 2011, the heirs will be eligible to sue Warner Bros. for damages, as they will own the entire Superman copyright in 2013.
July 13, 2009: Warner Bros. announces its 2011 schedule of tentpole releases, including "Green Lantern." No mention is made of "Superman."
September 15, 2009: DC Entertainment chief Diane Nelson tells MTV News, "We actually don't have any current plans for Superman."
February 9, 2010: "Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan reportedly slides into a "godfather" role for "Superman"; he will oversee its development and shepherd it toward production.
February 9, 2010: David Goyer ("Batman Begins") is said to have been tapped for scriptwriting duties.
March 10, 2010: Nolan makes his first public comments about his involvement, saying, "We're approaching it in a not-dissimilar way in terms of trying to find an incredible story in a way that audiences can engage with it the way they engage with contemporary action films. I think David's approach is a very good way of doing just that."
September 24, 2010: With the rumor mill floating Chris Columbus and James McTeigue as possible directors, reports suggest that the list is down to five people: Tony Scott, Matt Reeves, Jonathan Liebesman, Duncan Jones and Zack Snyder.
October 4, 2010: Snyder is confirmed as director. "All I'll say is that those guys — Chris and David — have created an amazing story," he told MTV News. "The 'Why [remake] Superman?' is definitely being looked at with care, that's all I could hope for as a director."