Warning: Spoilers for “The Flash” will comply with.
It is a hen! It is a Cage! “The Flash” is packed to the brim with shock DC cameos, as Helen Slater’s Supergirl, Christopher Reeve’s and George Reeves’ Superman, and Adam West’s and George Clooney’s Batman all present up. The standout look, although, could also be a model of Superman performed by Nicolas Cage, who’s reprising the position from a movie that does not exist. But it surely virtually did.
This cameo is a deep-cut reference to “Superman Lives,” an unmade Superman film that will have starred Cage.
Improvement on the movie, initially titled “Superman Reborn,” started within the Nineties, and a few screenwriters took a crack at drafts earlier than Kevin Smith was employed to write down his personal. The “Clerks” director labored with producer Jon Peters, although as Smith recounted in “An Night with Kevin Smith,” Peters had a number of uncommon requests. In response to Smith, the producer demanded Superman not put on his swimsuit or fly and was additionally weirdly insistent that he “combat a large spider within the third act.” (Peters denied the primary two mandates within the documentary “The Dying of ‘Superman Lives’: What Occurred?” however confirmed he needed Superman to combat a large spider, which Smith dubbed a “Thanagarian snare beast” in his script.)
Regardless of the title, the film was to attract on “The Dying of Superman,” a narrative from the comics wherein Superman is killed preventing Doomsday earlier than being resurrected. The villains, Brainiac and Lex Luthor, have been additionally set to be featured within the movie. Cage was signed on to play Superman, and Chris Rock would have performed Superman’s pal Jimmy Olsen. Different actors who have been eyed embody Christopher Walken for Brainiac, Kevin Spacey for Lex Luthor, and Sandra Bullock for Lois Lane.
Coming off his “Batman” motion pictures starring Michael Keaton, Tim Burton was tapped to direct, although he rejected Smith’s draft and introduced in a brand new author, Wesley Strick, whom he labored with on “Batman Returns.” Strick was ultimately changed with yet one more author, Dan Gilroy, who later instructed IndieWire the movie would have explored the “psychological trauma” of Superman realizing he is an alien. “Our Superman was in remedy in the beginning of the movie,” Gilroy famous.
The movie bought far sufficient into growth that Cage filmed a dressing up check in 1997. His swimsuit was imagined as being like a “chemical child blanket” with a “lifetime of its personal,” Burton could be heard describing within the footage. “It was extra of a Nineteen Eighties Superman with like, the samurai black lengthy hair,” Cage instructed Selection. “I believed it was gonna be a extremely totally different, kind of emo Superman, however we by no means bought there.”
The loss of life and return of Superman
So why did not they? It sounds just like the price range was a giant a part of it. The movie “bought caught in an unlucky second in time” at Warner Bros. after the studio had “a number of movies fail proper round it,” so “all of a sudden, the financial stress” over the massive price ticket elevated, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura recalled in “The Dying of ‘Superman Lives.'” In 1997, “Batman & Robin” and Kevin Costner’s “The Postman” have been among the many studio’s field workplace disappointments. Burton’s take was additionally thought of dangerous. His “Batman Returns” grossed lower than the unique in 1992, probably due to how darkish it was. “I believe they did not completely imagine that Tim may make a Superman that will be industrial,” Peters defined within the documentary.
“Superman Lives” was shut down in 1998 weeks earlier than manufacturing was set to start. “We’ve got determined to postpone the beginning of ‘Superman’ until such a time because the price range is acceptable and the script realizes its potential,” Di Bonaventura mentioned on the time. Burton moved on to direct “Sleepy Hole,” and it took till 2006 for an additional Superman film to lastly hit theaters with Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns.” This was extra according to the Christopher Reeve movies and never a lot the “emo Superman” take that Burton and Cage had deliberate. The casting of Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor, although, carried over. “The Dying of Superman” storyline ultimately impressed Zack Snyder’s “Batman v Superman: Daybreak of Justice” in 2016. Smith additionally directed an episode of “Supergirl” in 2017 known as “Supergirl Lives,” which referenced his notorious “Thanagarian snare beast.”
Within the years for the reason that studio pulled the plug, Nicolas Cage taking part in Superman has been among the many most fascinating what-if eventualities for film followers. By 2018, Warner Bros. lastly did let Cage painting Superman, at the very least in a voiceover position, as he had a component because the character within the irreverent animated movie “Teen Titans Go! To the Films.” “It wasn’t actually the model that Tim Burton and I had in thoughts, however it was simply enjoyable,” Cage instructed USA Immediately.
However “The Flash” lastly brings Cage’s Superman to live-action for the primary time, permitting a film about alternate realities to supply viewers a glimpse into an alternate historical past of Hollywood. “Though the position was a cameo, he dove into it,” director Andy Muschietti instructed Esquire Center East. In an inside joke concerning the manufacturing of “Superman Lives,” Cage’s Superman can be preventing a large spider within the scene. It took over 20 years, however that spider-obsessed producer’s dream lastly got here true.