“Superman Lives” the proposed Tim Burton movie that was supposed to feature Nicholas Cage in the lead role has become some cinema legend, despite it never being made in the first place. The film was set to portray an entirely different version of the Superman, and as per the actor, it was a concept that would have blown away all other Superman versions.
In a chat with EW during the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, Cage spoke about Superman Lives, and this is what he said, “the movie that Tim and I would have made, in your imagination, is more powerful than any of the Superman movies.”
He went on to highlight the fact that Superman Lives was such an impactful story that it has already created an impression despite the fact that it is only a concept that was never filmed.
“I didn’t even have to make the movie and we all know what that movie would have been in your imagination. That is the Superman. That is the movie. Even though you never saw it — it is the Superman.”
Many fans won’t take the assumption kindly as Superman Lives didn’t depict “the Superman,” rather, the concept of Burton was quite wild.
The Death of ‘Superman Lives’
In case you don’t know about it, Superman Lives was a late 90s project from Warner Bros. wherein they had roped in producer Jon Peters and writer, Jonathan Lemkin to modify the 90s “Death of Superman” story for a cinematic adaptation. It was first titled as “Superman Reborn.” Later Robert Rodriguez left the project to make The Faculty, and the studio hired Tim Burton as the director. Burton tasked Wesley Strick to redo the script written earlier by Kevin Smith and add some “Burton-isms” to it.
Smith’s story spun off from the point where the monster Doomsday comes to Earth to murder Superman and then eclipses the Sun to render Superman powerless. After he loses the battle, Superman gets revived by a robot from Krypton who was called The Eradicator, who went on to serve as the armor suit for Superman till the time he regained his full powers.
Once Burton and Strick joined the project, Burton went on to do massive overhauls to things, and Superman Lives then witnessed a great deal of visual and conceptual variations from the perceived Superman franchise. These included showing Superman as an alien suffering an existential problem and he being revived due to “The Power of K,” which was a spiritual power from Krypton. The film’s costumes and designs hardly resembled the comic books.
Finally, WB found the 190 million concept by Burton and Strick to be too costly, and after spending a year on the pre-production, that team had to exit. Subsequently, the project meandered off into the chaos of multiple rewrites and a directorial hunt, but, ended up as a non-starter. Ultimately, Warner went ahead with the Bryan Singer film Superman Returns which released in 2006. Reportedly, Kevin Smith is still campaigning to get his concept filmed.
In case, you haven’t checked this one, go ahead and watch the 2015 documentary The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened? This would make you familiar with the concept that as per Nicholas Cage would have resulted in the greatest Superman film in the history.
For the time being, you can check out Henry Cavill as Superman in the upcoming Justice League.