Freiman: Did Dick ever discuss with you what he thought he would have done for the ending of "Superman II" after they took the original ending and used it for the first movie?
Thau: No, no, they couldn't remember. I begged them to put their thinking caps on. 'I don't know, I don't know.' [Creative Consultant Tom Mankiewicz - GS] said, 'We would've thought of something.' And I said Tom, now, think of something now that costs like nothing so I can do it. But I couldn't get anything out of them.
So I said to them, in the first film, we see Superman turning the world backwards and then you show around the world what is happening. So this time, why don't we have all this weird stuff starting to happen, then we reveal it's Superman at the end. Then it was my idea with the clouds to give it a bit more dazzle and make it a little different from the first film. I want to tell you, everyone's gut first instinct was 'we don't want to turn back time again.' Me. Dick. Everyone. But when we thought of the alternatives like going with the magic kiss, which we were not going to do... Tom didn't like Clark kissing Lois. He only thought that Superman should kiss Lois. So then you have the Donner ending which was all shot and, again, it may not be what he intended had he gone back and actually finished "Superman II".
Freiman: If Superman reversed time to before the Phantom Zone villains ever broke out, why beat up the guy in the Diner since that original scene where Clark got beat up now never took place after he reversed time? In fact, the guys who run the comic book store I shop at just told me about an hour ago that I had to ask you this question.
Thau: [Laughs]. You gotta ask Tom. That's the way it was scripted. From a cinematic standpoint, it's a very cathartic scene seeing him kind of getting even with the guy. It makes an audience happy and clap and cheer and that kind of stuff. It worked back then and it still works now in that kind of way. I was trying to nail Tom down - 'now look, you always have a pat answer -- give me a pat answer so I can tell all these people who are asking me about it'. 'Nope they're right.' It doesn't make sense if you sit there and really think about it. But there's a lot of things in a lot of films that if you analyze like that they don't make a lot of logical sense.
I'll take continuity over catharsis, thanks.