This summer, comic book fans are eagerly awaiting the big screen return of Superman in director Zack Snyder's Man of Steel. Back in the 1990s, however, the character was almost brought to life by none other than Tim Burton, director of Batman and Batman Returns.
The film – titled Superman Lives – was going to feature Nicolas Cage as the last son of Krypton and would have seen classic villains Lex Luthor and Braniac teaming up to defeat Superman. Pre-production had begun on the project when, alas (or perhaps thankfully), it fell apart. Superman wouldn't return to the big screen until Bryan Singer's 2006 aptly titled Superman Returns.
Now, thanks to the DCU Movie Page, we have a better glimpse at what Cage would have looked like in Supes' iconic suit. See the photos below:
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The black and white nature of the photos doesn't give us any indication as to the colors of the Superman Lives costume, but the design certainly strays very far indeed from the more realistic take we're getting with Man of Steel (as well as Singer's version from Superman Returns). Rather than streamlining the suit to make it less exaggerated, the Burton design instead embraces the overtly cartoony muscle tone in the same way Michael Keaton's Batsuit did.
One can easily surmise that Burton would have applied a similar tone and comic book faithfulness to his take on Superman that he did to his 1989 version of the Dark Knight. Cage's suit here seems to support that theory, at least based on this newly-uncovered photo.
However, the real question is whether or not fans would have been as receptive to Cage as Superman as they were to Keaton's Batman. It's easy to say now that Cage would have been miscast as the character, but Keaton – who was best known as a comedic actor at the time – was also criticized as a poor choice for the part of Bruce Wayne/Batman.
After all, Cage later got a chance to suit up as the Batman-esque superhero Big Daddy in Kick Ass, a role which he pulled off fairly well. On the other hand, he also starred in a pair of critically maligned Ghost Rider films, meaning his track record for playing comic book heroes is less than stellar since missing his chance to play Superman.
So, do you think that Cage could have pulled off the role of Superman, Screen Rant readers? Or are you glad the moviegoing public was spared his take on the character? Let us know in the comments section.
Man of Steel – the latest big-screen incarnation of the hero – hits theaters on June 14, 2013.