Tim Burton’s abandoned “Superman Lives” movie is one of the great what-if stories in Hollywood history. After successfully turning Batman into a blockbuster film franchise, Burton was recruited to apply his touch to DC Comics’ other most iconic superhero with Nicolas Cage in the titular role. The film was scrapped after a highly publicized development process, and remains the most well-known unmade project of both Burton and Cage’s careers.
In a new interview with BFI, Burton revealed that he still thinks about the abandoned film and wonders what could have been.
“No, I don’t have regrets,” Burton said when asked about the scrapped project. “I will say this: when you work that long on a project and it doesn’t happen, it affects you for the rest of your life. Because you get passionate about things, and each thing is an unknown journey, and it wasn’t there yet. But it’s one of those experiences that never leaves you, a little bit.”
The fate of “Superman Lives” has been a popular topic in recent years, with many speculating that renewed interest in Cage’s career and the prevalence of superhero multiverses could lead to some version of the movie eventually being made. Cage eventually paid tribute to the scrapped project by suiting up as Superman for a cameo in “The Flash,” though he joked about the brevity of his blink-and-you’d-miss-it appearance.
When asked if he was interested in playing Superman in a full movie, Cage didn’t entirely rule it out — though he made it clear that he’s perfectly content to simply let fans wonder what his take on the character would have looked like.
“That’s always been both a positive and a negative to me,” Cage said in 2022. “It’s a positive in that it left the character, and what Tim (Burton) and I might have gotten up to, in the realm of imagination — which is always more powerful than that is concrete. And a negative in that I think it would have been special. Is there a chance? Who knows.”