Superman Lives: What Could Have Been

Way back in 1996 or 1997, Tim Burton was signed on to direct Superman Lives for Warner Brothers.  Kevin Smith wrote the script, and Nicolas Cage was cast as Superman/Clark Kent.

With the exception of Nic Cage as Superman, it sounds pretty cool.  On paper.

Kevin Smith wrote a good script (you can read it here).  Producer Jon Peters decided that Superman’s suit and his ability to fly were “faggy (his word, not mine),” and that Superman had to fight a giant mechanical spider.  Smith agreed to these stipulations and wrote the script.

Here’s the story in his own words:

Apparently, Tim Burton wasn’t satisfied.  I guess it just wasn’t weird or dark enough for him.  Burton re-wrote the whole thing, and Smith was off of the project.  Then, Warner Brothers pulled the plug on the movie, and nothing else happened.

Or so we thought.

A little while back, some concept art was released.

Here’s Burton’s sketch:

Tim Burton's Superman

And a more finalized drawing:

Superman Lives

Wow.  Supes in black vinyl.  Not good.

Sometime last year, concept art, based on Burton’s script, was released.  Here’s a little bit.

Brainiac

Humanoid Brainiac

Guess what form Brainiac would have taken when he wasn’t in humanoid form?  If you watched the Kevin Smith video, you will get this on right off the bat.

Answer: a giant mechanical spider.

Here are some concepts for Brainiac’s ship:

Brainiac's Ship

Brainiac's Ship

Not looking good.  We could’ve ended up with this, though:

Brainiac's Ship

So, Tim Burton wanted Superman to run around in skin tight black vinyl, when he wasn’t wearing a robot suit or weird plastic light-up suit, and fight Brainiac (not a bad idea in it’s own right, since Brainiac is a cool villain), who flies around in a literal skull, not just a skull ship.  Wow.  Can it get any worse? Yes.  In closing, I leave you with this gem.

Nicolas Cage in a costume test

Is ist just me, or does Nic look high?

Superman Returns was in no way a masterpiece.  Brandon Routh was okay, Spacey was good, and Kate Bosworth was an abomination as Lois Lane, but it was okay.  At least it was better than what we Superman fans would have gotten from Tim Burton.

Now, we have Zach Snyder (300, Watchmen) directing a new movie, written by David S. Goyer and starring Henry Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois, Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as Ma and Pa Kent, and Russell Crowe as Jor-El.  Hopefully, this can be the Superman film we have been waiting for since the first Superman movie.  It already looks a lot better than the crap Burton would have put out.

Man of Steel

Sources: ComicBookMovie, TimBurton.jp

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