Kara Zor-El lives in an isolated community, a Kryptonian city called Argo City, in a pocket of trans-dimensional space. Zaltar allows Kara to see a unique item known as the Omegahedron, which he has borrowed without the knowledge of the city government, and which can infuse an artificial structure with life. She uses it under the tutelage of Zaltar to make a dragonfly-like creature; this creature breaches a window of the community and in the decompression that follows, the Omegahedron (which also powers the city) is sucked out into space. Kara follows it to Earth in an effort to recover it and save the city, which will die without it.
On Earth, the Omegahedron is recovered by Selena, a would-be witch, who quickly realizes that it can be used to allow her to perform real magical spells. On the radio, Selena hears that Superman has just left on a peace-seeking mission to a galaxy several light years away. Kara, now dressed as Supergirl, arrives on Earth and discovers her powers. Following the path of the Omegahedron, she takes the name Linda Lee, identifies herself as the cousin of Clark Kent, and enrolls at an all-girls school. Supergirl and Selena are both enamored by Ethan, who works as a groundskeeper at the school. After Selena misuses the Omegahedron to make herself a "princess of Earth", she drugs Ethan with a potion to make him love her and serve as her consort. Supergirl rescues Ethan and breaks him of Selena's spell.
Supergirl and Selena repeatedly battle in various ways, until Selena uses her powers to put Supergirl in an "eternal void" known as the Phantom Zone. Here, stripped of her powers, she wanders the bleak landscape and nearly drowns in an oily bog. Yet she finds help in Zaltar, who has gone into self-imposed exile for losing the Omegahedron. Zaltar sacrifices his life to allow Supergirl to escape. Back on Earth, she regains her powers and defeats Selena. Ethan admits his love for Kara, but knows it is possible he may never see her again and understands she must save Argo City. The final scene shows Kara returning to a darkened Argo City, which promptly lights up again.
- Helen Slater as Kara Zor-El / Linda Lee / Supergirl
- Faye Dunaway as Selena
- Peter O'Toole as Zaltar
- Mia Farrow as Alura
- Brenda Vaccaro as Bianca
- Peter Cook as Nigel
- Simon Ward as Zor-El
- Marc McClure as Jimmy Olsen
- Hart Bochner as Ethan
- Maureen Teefy as Lucy Lane
- David Healy as Mr. Danvers
- Sandra Dickinson as The Pretty Young Lady
- Robyn Mandell as Myra
- Jenifer Landor as Muffy
- Diana Ricardo as Mrs. Murray
- Carole Charnow as Popeye's cashier
- Pamela Franklin as Vera
Aside from the stiff editing in the film's original U.S. version, scenes that were left unseen for many years involved moments of importance. To begin, the Argo City opening was longer, and contained certain lines of dialogue that supported elements that would be seen later in the story. The cut dialog also developed the characters and their background. In addition, the pacing was slower, digesting the action before introducing the next chapter of the film.
Another important scene not included in the final cut is known as the "Flying Ballet". As Supergirl lands on Earth, she is surprised to find herself capable of almost anything, especially flying. She can use super-strength to crack rocks into dust, and use heat vision to help flowers grow. This scene establishes that she is very much like her cousin, and that she possesses his same powers. The absence of this scene in the U.S. theatrical version created confusion in later scenes, as viewers simply saw Supergirl shoot out of the lake, and fly all around the world.
Scenes concerning Selena, Bianca, and Nigel were also trimmed. In the U.S. version, Selena's introduction was merely a few lines long when the Omegahedron lands on Earth, and Selena takes it for use of magic. The full introduction establishes Selena as an impatient witch, who is sick of being under her mentor and lover, Nigel, who is himself, a warlock. Later scenes not seen before the 2000 DVD release from Anchor Bay Entertainment, include Selena using the Omegahedron for the first time, and realizing that she has no control of herself when under its influence. Selena later throws a party for all her followers, and deleted material shows Nigel insulting Selena after being dismissed. Nigel then gets cozy with another party member, whom Selena pulls a vicious magical prank on.
These scenes and moments listed above show the characters' states of mind and their determinations, and dialog that later helped the movie make much more sense. Other scenes/moments, involve Linda Lee making a temporary home in the city of Midvale, Illinois, an extended version of the tractor sequence, in which the possessed machine runs amok on the Midvale streets, killing a civilian. Another cut scene was a clarification that proved Supergirl possessed her cousin's known vulnerabilities and limitations as well as his known superhuman powers: she cannot see where the Omegahedron is hidden because Selena keeps it in a container made out of lead. The Phantom Zone scenes are also longer, showing Kara's dramatic strength as she is willing to fight to the death in order to stop the evil witch Selena. Eventually, these scenes were restored to American audiences in 2000 when Anchor Bay Entertainment released the film under their label.
The 2006 DVD release by Warner Home Video, whose parent company, Warner Bros., is the current rights holder to the Superman movies, is the International Edition, also called the "European Theatrical Edition." The original 150 minute version is rumored still to be out there, in the vaults where all the Superman movie elements are (where they found lost footage which was used in Richard Donner's version of Superman II as well.)
Much of the deleted material appeared in DC Comics's one-shot comic book adaptation of the film, primarily the scenes that fleshed out Selena's character.
|1978-1987 Film Series|
|Superman Films: Superman • Superman II • Superman III • Superman IV: The Quest for Peace|
|Supergirl Films: Supergirl|