Tim Burton’s ‘Superman Lives’ Costume Revealed

4 years ago by  

The same day we post our 12 favorite iconic movie costumes, FX guru Steve Johnson has revealed the costume that could have been Superman’s suit in Tim Burton’s unmade Superman Lives.

It is a truly amazing and unprecedented sight to behold. The metallic, exoskeleton look would have been way beyond anthing anybody had imagined for the look of Superman.

No details are added to the photos, but it’s hard to imagine Burton would have dumped the red and blue entirely. Either way, this is truly inspired design work. I guess they did do something with the alleged $30 million Warner Bros. spent before canning the project.

Check out some of the photos below. It’s kind of bizarre to see these visions of a Superman that never existed on film. I wonder how it would have turned out had Burton never “forgotten to film it.”



The rest of the photos can be found on Steve Johnson’s Facebook page.

The Superman Super Site has a page dedicated to Burton’s Superman Lives with an image that appears to be along these same lines. In it, Superman sports his signature red cape, but the futuristic armor replaces the spandex suit. Could that be the finished look Johnson’s team was going for before the film was halted?

I’m starting to wonder if Burton’s Superman would have outdone his adaptation of Batman – as good as the latter was. Kevin Smith was to write the script and Nic Cage would play Superman. In fact, the photos show a mold of what appears to be Nic Cage’s head. So, if you had any doubts that the one photo of Nic Cage in a Superman suit was fake, this should be final proof that was more than rumor.

But in the end, this film remains in the “what-if” category and we have to wait for Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder’s version of Superman. That’s not such a bad replacement after all.

What do you think of these molds of Tim Burton’s Superman? What would you say to this look in 2012′s Man of Steel?

Source: Steve Johnson’s Facebook



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  1. It would look better on Steel than Superman perhaps.

  2. Whoever says thats a good idea for his new costume is, let me say this gently, “CRAZY”!!!!! 100 PERCENT LOCO!!! I can see a quick look, I quess! But comeon!! Stop changing what 90% of comic fans and all others like about SuperMan! Yes, jazz it up, through in a major alien fight, but not the basis of Superman! I liked the spiderman films, but got was he depressing all the time. Spiderman was a wisecracker, a kidder, not crying or moping around! DONT RUIN SUPERMAN! Are listening to the fans NOLAN and SNYDER!

  3. Who is this fx douche trying to promote himself as a guru? What a douche!

  4. These replies kinda parralel one of the messages from last nights Smallville~
    I think Superman would be really stoked that we all want to protect HIM for a change… ;)

  5. Nicolas Cage as Superman? That would’ve been terrible. I could live with the suit, but Cage????? WHAT?

  6. Remember when Kirk asked the question “What does God need with a starship?” What does Superman need with an exoskeleton?

    I’m a big Burton fan, but he’s best when doing his own thing, not so much with the licensed properties (Planet of the Apes, anyone?). I’m glad he didn’t do this one (and I actually dislike Superman, but have enough respect for the character not to want to see him trashed).

    • Superman’s exoskeleton can be used to protect him from Kryptonite?

  7. I heard after the Smith and Burton Superman project, that J.J. Abrams was gonna make the film. Now that would’ve been epic instead of the “Schumaker Superman” up there.

    • Uh, no. Have you read Abrams script??? In many ways it’s worse that Smith’s!
      Abrams completely changed the character, had Superman fighting another kryptonian called Ton-El (something like that) changed the origin story, the supporting characters were totally wrong. And McG was going to direct, he actually went to Australia on scouting before quitting the project.
      Trust me, Abrams Superman would have been just as bad, if not worse than Smiths version.

  8. Yet another reason why I’m not a Tim Burton fan.

  9. and now for the ONLY positive comment. i like it.

  10. idk, let me see what it looks like on TOM WELLING!! lol but for real it looks awesome.

  11. “Clothes make the man.” Their’s some truth to that old saw, but turn it all over for a second. How better to illustrate that Superman in this particular story needed to adapt to the conditions he found himself in? Sure Cage would have been wrong for the part and perhaps the script needed rebuilt, but a change of clothes for the sake of advancing a story! That seems just a bit over the top to object to. Especially if it was only to be worn for part of the film, a story advancement technique.

    Nobody seemed to object to the differences between what Jor-El wears versus Kal-El. Frankly I think it advances the Superman story. So many people complain that Superman stories are hard to stay with over the long haul, because few things can hurt Superman. However everything is relative even within the Superman universe. People struggle with that mightily and I think allot of it is unnecessary. Besides what does Superman wear when the regular costume is in the laundry?? ;)

    • He’s in his Clark Kent duds. :D

  12. Boo, glad this didn’t happen.

  13. Superman with the same old red, yellow, blue suit takes the character back to the Steve Reeves days.

    Go with the black suit or go with something different.

    An invincible alien beating people up in spandex = zzzzz

    He needs some visual punch and some enemies that put him in jeopardy. Except for Superman 2, he never had that in a movie. And the cop out of throwing the emblem and shacking up with Lois ruined that movie for me.

    • Ummm, Santa…

      Did you mean CHRISTOPHER Reeve? or GEORGE Reeves? STEVE Reeves played Hercules in some old, cheesy movies (I think in the ’70s)…granted a different type of Superman, but still…

  14. Gay Pride parade

  15. Looks horrible the original costume is better, I like the Superman Returns costume as well, but this is just plain terrible

  16. this would work as a guard uniform on krypton

  17. Wow, that just looks ridiculous! Who actually gave the nod to green light this? Thank God that it was stopped before it was too late. That movie would have been a disaster… Keep Nicholas Cage and Tim Burton as far as possible from any Superman franchise!! Wow. That was worse than I thought it would be when I first heard about this movie possibly happening… Woo, WB/DC really dodged a big bullet that time.

  18. i like this…boring old superman in red and blue we seen that for past 70 years…i dont know why you scream about every change from comics if i seen it in comis i don’t see it again we need something new..(sory for bad english)

  19. i. love. SUPERMAN. <3