As superhero fans, we often hear of certain comic book movies that were almost made, but sadly (and sometimes, not so sadly) never came to be. Perhaps one of the strangest would have been Tim Burton’s Superman Lives. Coming off of the success of his 1989 Batman and its followup Batman Returns, Burton would have revived the Man of Steel on the big screen from a script for Superman Lives that was originally penned by Kevin Smith in the mid-1990s. The film would have starred Nicolas Cage as Clark Kent/Superman and featured Brainiac as the primary villain.
While speaking to a group of reporters at New York Comic Con, Michael Jelenic, co-writer of the newly-released DC animated film Batman vs. Two-Face, revealed that he once pitched Warner Bros. Animation on the idea of doing an animated version of Burton’s Superman Lives.
“I had a big pitch, and they took it seriously for a second, to do Tim Burton’s Superman… to do that animated.”
When a reporter suggested, “Nic Cage would do it,” Jelenic replied, “He would absolutely do it!”
In 2016, Smith also said that he would like to see an animated version of his script made, stating:
“That would be really amazing, to kind of see, like they turn it into a cartoon and get the people to do the voices. Nic Cage is still around and stuff. And I wanted Michael Rooker for my Lex Luthor so that would be amazing. Um, but, you know, I’m game.”
Smith, who has directed multiple episodes of DC TV shows The Flash and Supergirl, then added that an animated version would be “up to the good folks at Warner Bros. and stuff, but if they were ever to call and say hey we want to do a cartoon version of that Superman script we wrote, believe me I’d be like, that’d be dope, man.”
While an animated version of Superman Lives would be interesting to say the least, it too may never actually happen. However, you can learn more about what Tim Burton’s Superman Lives would have been by watching Jon Schnepp’s film The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened? This fascinating documentary chronicles the film’s entire journey and features interviews with Tim Burton, Kevin Smith and producer Jon Peters. You can find the documentary on Jon Schnepp’s website.
Batman vs. Two-Face, Adam West’s final Batman performance, is available now on Blu-ray and DVD. The film also features the voices of William Shatner as Two-Face, Burt Ward reprising his role from the ’66 Batman TV series as Robin, Julie Newmar reprising her role as Catwoman, Jeff Bergman as The Joker, William Salyers as The Penguin, Wally Wingert as The Riddler, Steven Webber as Alfred Pennyworth, Jim Ward as Commissioner Gordon and Thomas Lennon as Cheif O’Hara.