The plot: Superman decides to walk across America because…. erm.
What was obviously an attempt to humanise a God-like character by putting him in contact with the Average Joes of America's vast cultural landscape resulted in one of the weirdest Superman curios in recent memory. Superman never fully explains why he's choosing to walk instead of fly across the entire country, and any attempts at pointing out all the people who are presumably not being saved from burning buildings or supervillains who are running rampant while he wanders about are merely met with cod-waffle philosophy.
It was a plot so redundant and bizarre that even the writer himself gave up after four issues of a proposed 12 issue run. Just check out the super-awkward exchange above for an example of how misjudged the whole thing was. Oy.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: There isn't one.
Chance of happening: 5%. We doubt even King of the slow-mo action porn Zack Snyder could make LOTS OF WALKING thrilling to watch.
Superman vs Muhammad Ali
The plot: When Rat'Lar, the crazytown leader of a species of aliens called the Scrubb, threatens Earth with invasion, he asks that the planet put forward its greatest fighter to spar off against the Scrubb's mightiest warrior. When both Superman and Muhammad Ali volunteer, they're forced to battle each other before inevitably coming together for the greater good to punch aliens in the face.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: The pair step into an intergalactic ring (handily set under a Superpower-depleting red sun) and slug it out glove to latex bodysuit. Get Will Smith to reprise his Oscar-nominated turn in Ali , and you've got a movie poster that writes itself.
Chance of happening: 5%. Celebrity cameos in the comic world always come with a healthy dash of disbelief. Transposing that onto the big screen would be somewhat of a challenge.
The Legion of Super-Pets
The plot: Everyone (well, comic nerds) would have heard of Superman's trusty pet Kryptonian dog, Krypto. But what happens when Krypto is faced with The Brain-Globes of Rambat - a challenge neither he nor seemingly any of his super-powered human friends can defeat? He has to call on Streaky the Supercat, Beppo the Super-Monkey, and Comet the Super-Horse from different points in Superman's timeline, to come together and save the day.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: Animating that much CGI fur is sure to cost a fair few dollars, but otherwise, it'd be watching the combined power of their super-woofy/meowy/neighy/growly might unleashed.
Chance of happening: 5%. Much like The Pet Avengers (opens in new tab) , a super-powered animal team of heroic furballs is something best left for the Disney channel. Although the thought of watching Super-Monkey super-throw his super-faeces at Batman does hold some allure.
The plot: The joy of having a character so old? So many stories across so many mediums to raid for inspiration. Take for example, 'Smart Kids', a very unique episode of The Adventures Of Lois & Clark that tackled the question no-one had ever asked - what happens when a group of genetically engineered super-children escape from a boarding school and play elaborate super-pranks on Metropolis?
The gabillion dollar setpiece: Imagine the fanboy joy of watching Metropolis' water supply replaced with detergent - IN 3D IMAX. Calm yourselves.
Chance of happening: 5%. There are few Smallville and Lois & Clark episodes that have the big-budget pitch and spectacle to migrate to the cinema screen. Watching a bunch of super-moppets prank their way around town is definitely not one of them.
At Earth's End
The plot: In the first 'Elseworlds' (read: alternate universe) tale on this list, a future Superman is faced with preventing twin Hitler clones from creating an army of evil Batman clones. He does this by shooting them a lot with a giant gatling gun he found in the Batcave called 'The Expunger'. Oh, and by looking really manly (or Santa-y depending on your opinion) with a massive white beard.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: Superman attacks the Diktators' legion of mutated lionmen (yes, they're exactly as stupid as they sound), and mutant SS troopers with his big gun.
Chance of happening: 5%. A naff concept, a rather un-PC plot and an ending that has Superman kill himself by walking into his own funeral pyre. Let's see DC market that on the side of a bus.
It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman
The plot: Superman faces off against Dr. Abner Sedgwick, a multi-Nobel Prize-losing scientist who decides to win infamy by killing the world's greatest hero. Oh, and did we mention the whole thing's set to multiple broadway showtunes?
The gabillion dollar setpiece: There's got to be more than a little fanboy entertainment in seeing Supes sing his way around that classic singalong classic, 'Pow! Bam! Zonk!'.
Chance of happening : 10%. While the idea of a super-powered Les Misérables is nerdily thrilling (hey, Les Mis already had Wolverine, Superman's Dad and Catwoman all sing on-camera), we can't see Henry Cavill jazz-handing his way through fight scenes anytime soon.
The plot: What if Superman's ship had landed in the Soviet Union instead of America? Super-powered Communism, that's what. But a Kal-El in the thrall of another political ideology produces a far darker, more morally complex character - and one that gives Russia a notable advantage over its Cold War rivals.
The gabillion dollar setpiece : Superman attacks America's East Coast and its Green Lantern Marine Corps, before turning on Wonder Woman and her Amazon forces in a super-powered slugfest.
Chance of happening : 15%. Sure, it's not likely to be Man Of Steel 's immediate sequel, but if the X-Men can start exploring alternate universes on-screen ( Days Of Future Past ), then Supes totally can. And especially one so critically acclaimed and genuinely plot-heavy.
Superman vs Predator
The plot : An ancient derelict spacecraft is discovered in the heart of the Central American jungle. When Superman investigates, he's afflicted with an alien virus that saps his strength and makes his powers go haywire. Which is probably the wrong moment to discover there's an alien bounty hunter stalking him.
The gabillion dollar setpiece : Watching the Predator's triangular laser-sights lock onto Supes' iconic chest Super-symbol is instant fan-pleasing gold.
Chance of happening : 20%. Now it looks like Warner Bros have finally got the Superman movie franchise back on its feet and looking credible, it'd be a pretty risky move to mash it up with a franchise that hasn't had a solid, critically acclaimed box office hit since the '90s.
Superman vs Aliens
The plot : When Lexcorp's space division discovers an incoming probe, Superman's investigations reveal a telepathic transmission from a Kryptonian that survived the planet's destruction. The only problem? An Alien Queen crash-landed on the planet years ago - and Superman's at depleted strength as he's so far from the superpower-imbuing chemistry of Earth's yellow sun.
The gabillion dollar setpiece : A Superman impregnated with an Alien Queen regains his powers as he enters Earth's solar syste. Moments from death, he's forced to crush it from the inside (SUPER ABS FTW!) and regurgitate before catching a falling satellite.
Chance of happening : 25%. This is a franchise that's already pitted their killer antagonists against Predators in two naff crossovers, before confusing the story further with the head-scratching bonkersness of Prometheus . Throwing Superman into the mix isn't even that much of a stretch.
The Legion of Super-Heroes
The plot : A team of time-travelling superheroes team up with Superman during his teenage years for copious time-stream bothering escapades.
The gabillion dollar setpiece : The moment that either hero or team step into the timestream and emerge on the other end straight into a brave new world.
Chance of happening: 30%. Time-travel's always a tricky movie plotpoint (we're waiting for baited breath on whether X-Men: Days Of Future Past nails the complexities), and so introducing a team of futuristic heroes with names like Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl may be a step too far.
The plot : The best non-movie Zod-related Supes tale out there would be perfect for a story a few Man Of Steel sequels in. Co-written by none other than original Superman director Richard Donner, Superman stops a strange meteor crashing into Earth's atmosphere - only to discover it carries a young Kryptonian child. As Clark Kent has to wrestle with the right moral and legal thing to do in a world where everyone wants a piece of the child, the situation is complicated by the arrival of Phantom Zone criminals Zod, Ursa and Non.
The gabillion dollar setpiece : Lex Luthor's constant meddling draws him into the battle, and soon Superman is forced to fight the three Phantom Zone escapees, along with Lex Luthor, Parasite, Bizarro and Metallo.
Chance of happening: 35%. A Superman tale that would allow for Michael Shannon to return, whilst spinning a heartfelt and poignant reflection on Kal-El's origin tale and exploring the possibility of a Super-family tends to tick most of the narrative boxes.
The plot : Nefarious pseudo-god Darkseid finally gets his wish when he manages to unleash the power of the Anti-Life Equation. The only problem being that he can't control it, and before long the whole universe is at risk. As a result, he's forced to recruit the New Gods and a host of superheroes (including Superman and Batman) to save the day.
The gabillion dollar setpiece : Superman and Orion (a 'New God') team up on an alien world. After fighting a giant robot (long story), Superman returns to the planet's surface to find Orion has killed thousands of natives. Cue fisticuffs.
Chance of happening : 40%. While Supes is a space-sent superhero, he has few decent intergalactic adventures. 'Cosmic Odyssey' is one of the better crafted tales, that would introduce a classic Superman villain, broaden the movie world and provide an apt rival for Marvel's soon-to-be interstellar Guardians Of The Galaxy movie universe.
For The Man Who Has Everything
The plot : Comics legend Alan Moore wrote arguably the definitive Mongul tale (while there are various incarnations, he's generally a punchy, hefty alien warlord) in a story that turns Superman against his friends. Batman, Robin and Wonder Woman arrive at the Fortress of Solitude with presents for Supes' birthday, only to find him enslaved to Mongul by a plant that traps him in a walking nightmare.
The gabillion dollar setpiece : Superman turning on Mongul after awaking from the mind-control, and battling him across the Fortress of Solitude while Batman and co battle the mind-control plant.
Chance of happening : 40%. It'd take a hefty amount of story-wrangling to get Batman, Robin and Wonder Woman to appear on-screen, but their characters are pretty interchangeable. And Mongul's a decent enough Big Bad to ensure at least part of the story is incorporated into his on-screen origin.
The plot : Frustrated with losing to Superman in the traditional punchy sense of attack, Luthor decides to use his smarts another way - by seizing control of the most coveted office on the planet through manipulation and deception. Or, as the rest of the world calls it, politics.
The gabillion dollar setpiece : Fed up with the world having the wool pulled over its eyes, a number of Justice League heroes break rank to oppose him. As a result a host of heroes are forced by Luthor to turn on Batman and Superman.
Chance of happening : 50%. Once Luthor's been introduced to the DC movie universe, there are going to be only so many times an audience can watch him build a giant robot suit and get beaten back down. A sidestep into more machiavellian pursuits would be a better and cleverer use of his smarts.
The plot : Arguably the most popular Elseworlds tale of all time, Kingdom Come is set in a future where the idealism and heroism of 'classic' superheroes like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are being replaced by darker, more morally complex and bloodthirsty ones. With both sides increasingly at odds, and Lex Luthor meddling his way between them, things soon escalate into a super-powered world war.
The gabillion dollar setpiece : A super-prison stuffed full of the world's nastiest supervillains and superheroes is pushed to breaking point, forcing heroes against heroes, and the UN to send three nuclear warheads into the fray in the hope of stopping everything for good.
Chance of happening : 50%. An unarguable comic classic, and one that shades a dark but fascinating light on classic characters and what it means to be a superhero could well be DC's answer to Marvel's X-Men: Days Of Future Past .
The plot : Superman's origin story retold for a modern generation, and with lots of clever, post-modern plot threads weaved amidst the classic tropes. So you get Clark Kent providing aid relief in Rwanda, Lex Luthor reinventing himself as an astrobiologist, and a backstory that ties the two back to Smallville.
The gabillion dollar setpiece : A Kryptonite-infused Lex Luthor flinging Lois Lane off a skyrise, forcing Superman to save her mid-fall whilst battling an armoured assailant.
Chance of happening : 55%. Sure, it's another look at his origin - and one that looks to be pretty heavily mined in Man Of Steel - but there's more than enough material to mine a so-far unused plot for a movie sequel (in particular, Lex's introduction, and socio-politically questionable super-meddling in foreign affairs).
Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
The plot : An older Lois Lane recounts the tale of Superman's final days to a bushy-tailed, bright-eyed Daily Planet reporter, as she was the last person to see him alive. When Brainiac takes over Lex Luthor, all hell breaks loose - friends die, murderous psychotic foes, and self-sacrifice.
The gabillion dollar setpiece : The battle royale at the Fortress of Solitude, as Superman's friends are kidnapped, and his foes team-up to end him for good.
Chance of happening : 60%. Universally known as the greatest Superman story ever written (thanks to comics legend Alan Moore), if they ever wanted to wrap up Supes' on-screen tale a la The Dark Knight Rises , incorporating the bulk of this tale into the proceedings would be a must.
For All Seasons
The plot : Yet another origin story, but this time focused more intently on Supes' family and his Smallville connections (Lana's a substantial love interest) - and each quarter of the tale broken into a different seasonal analogy, and narrated by a different supporting character (Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, Lana Lang and Jonathan Kent).
The gabillion dollar setpiece : A much smaller, intimate and character-focused Superman tale, the biggest setpiece is arguably when Smallville is hit by a flood and it's up to Clark to save the day.
Chance of happening : 60%. Sure, the structure feels kinda hokey on-camera, but as one of the biggest selling Superman graphic novels of all time, it certainly earns a mention - and offers a narrative tighter and more unique than many of its rivals.
Batman vs Superman
The plot : Take your pick from any number of comic, videogame and animated clashes between the pair of best buds-turned-fist clashing frenemies over the years. Recent videogame and associated comic Injustice: Gods Amongst Us pit a heartbroken and revenge-obsessed Supes battling Batman, while classic comic tale Hush finds a mind-controlled Superman brought down by Batman using a Kryptonite ring entrusted to him by a forward-thinking Kal-El.
The gabillion dollar setpiece : Batman beating Superman down to the ground using a Kryptonite-infused fist is as amazing as it is jaw-droppingly unrealistic.
Chance of happening : 70%. Wolfgang Petersen almost made a movie of the same name back in 2002 - and it's become such a Hollywood running in-joke that I Am Legend smuggled a movie poster into the background of its post-apocalyptic wasteland.
What's so Funny About Truth, Justice & The American Way?
The plot : A new group of super-powered vigilantes known as The Elite start to gain global notoriety for brutally murdering their enemies whilst saving the planet over and again - forcing Superman to justify his comparatively antiquated moral standpoint.
The gabillion dollar setpiece : Superman's 'final' showdown with The Elite on Jupiter's moons, in which he systematically and seemingly brutally murders each one of them in turn. That each is eventually shown to be misdirection doesn't lessen the initial shock.
Chances of happening : 70%. If it's one thing that's always asked about poor old Superman, it's 'why the chuff is he even relevant any more?'. Man Of Steel looks to be doing pretty well in repositioning the world's most classic superhero as a contender for your box office attention, but this tale makes the point with surprising skill - and with a host of super-punchy fight scenes along the way.
The Death of Superman
The plot : History has shown this plot was little more than a calculated sales driver, but it doesn't lessen the impact it had at the time. A grey Hulk-like monster (who, for legal reasons, is definitely NOTHING like the grey version of the Hulk) decides to beat all of DC's B-list superheroes into the ground to show his strength. A concerned Superman flies in to save the day and goes fist to fist with a super-powered monster far stronger than anything he's faced before. Cue shameless stuntery.
The gabillion dollar setpiece : Said fight scene, with Superman and Doomsday exchanging blows as Metropolis (and the rest of the world) watches in fear.
Chance of happening : 75%. At the time of release, the issue in which Supes carked it shipped a massive three million units, Once the movie universe is established, it makes sense to follow comic-book convention by killing him off - only to reboot him again a few years later.
The Return of Superman
The plot : Well, Superman was never going to stay dead forever, was he? Unfortunately, early '90s DC wasn't exactly a bastion of narrative genius. So while Superman 'hibernated' (and was eventually reborn with stupid new powers and a super-mullet), readers had to endure The Reign of the Supermen - four replacement Superman knock-offs, including a clone, a robot, a man wearing a super-steel suit of armour, and a crazy, lethal alien with Superman-y powers.
The gabillion dollar setpiece : Watching Superman eventually take his place - and do away with his naff successors would be an amusing sight to see.
Chance of happening : 10%. We know this has screwed with the whole probability countdown, but really…. can you imagine any studio ever greenlighting that plot?
In case you needed any more convincing, we heartily recommend you watch Max Landis' (writer of Chronicle ) ridiculous and often hilarious star-studded pastiche of the whole preposterous debacle.
The plot : Less about DC's finest manly bad-ass superheroes fighting each other (see Batman Vs Superman ) and more concerned with the adventures they endure together (and the classic Odd Couple banter that ensues).
The gabillion dollar setpiece : Take your pick - with Superman having to rely on Batman's smarts, and Batman having to rely on Superman's strength, they've faced pretty much every DC universe villain along the way.
Chance of happening : 75%. If their respective on-screen actors manage to match the chemistry on-panel in their countless comic adventures, then it's a surefire winner.
The plot : What with Superman being all God-like, he has few substantial, truly terrifying enemies. But Brainiac's definitely one his creepiest. Responsible for shrinking and stealing Kandor, the capital city of Superman's home planet Krypton, he's a hyper-intelligent, super-strong extraterrestrial android with an unsettlingly personal grudge to bear.
The gabillion dollar setpiece : Seeing Superman and Brainiac go at it fist to fist would be fun, but watching Superman's spirit crushed by seeing his home city captured offers a devastating slight as personal as they come.
Chance of happening : 80%. Outside of Lex Luthor, there are few enemies as instantly distinguishable - and as mash-up of threats both extraterrestrial and super-intelligent, it seems an accessible and morally wonky route for future screenwriters to explore.
All Star Superman
The plot : An epic tale that entrusts a dying Superman with carrying out 12 mind-bending, soul-searching labours of seemingly impossible and unsurmountable odds.
The gabillion dollar setpiece : So, so many. From Lois Lane being super-powerised (and then snogging Superman on the moon), to a prison break with Lex Luthor, fighting alongside his time-travelling descendants, fighting a creature with the ability to eat suns, and travelling into an anti-verse, it's a story that would never be short of ideas.
Chance of happening : 85%. Writer Grant Morrison has never been one to shy away from big concepts - but All Star Superman succeeds in having emotion, pathos and grandiose craziness to match, with each labour saying something about why and how Superman's as important a hero as he is.