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Superman Lives: The Tim Burton Superman Movie We Never Got to See Starring Nicolas Cage

You may or may not know that back in the 90s Nicholas Cage was set to play Superman in a movie directed by Tim Burton.

Based on The Death and Return of Superman comic-book series, “Superman Lives” was in development hell for a number of years and underwent multiple script changes with different writers being brought in over the course of the project.

Writer, director Kevin Smith was involved early on and not only rewrote the original script but also gave the movie its name which was, up until that point, “Superman Reborn”.

Following the success of Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992), Tim Burton was brought on board and very soon after, cast Nicholas Cage as the man of steel.

All previous versions of the script were dropped and Burton began working on a new one which from the sound of it, would’ve been the darkest and most unusual version of the character seen so far.

The villains were to include Lex Luthor, Brainiac and Doomsday who of course is a huge part of The Death of Superman storyline.

Cage even screen tested for the role wearing the iconic costume, and tonnes of concept art was drawn up by Burton himself.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending how you look at it) the project never happened due to a number of reasons.

Changes to the script, budget cuts and lack of support from the studio are cited as reasons the movie was never made.

To be fair Warner Bros. had experienced a string of box office bombs around the time and the idea of a dark take on Superman became a financially risky idea. Tim Burton eventually left the project and the whole thing was dropped.

Years later a sequel would be made in the form 2006’s Superman Returns. Needless to say it was no doubt a vastly different movie to the one we can imagine Tim Burton would’ve made.

How do you feel about the idea of Nicholas Cage playing Superman? Would it have worked? Would you have loved it or hated it?

Let me know in the comments.

P.S. You can see a video of Mr. Cage modelling the costume here:


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