Back in 1996, writer/director/actor Kevin Smith submitted his screenplay for a Superman movie to producer Jon Peters, who agreed to move forward with the script, under the condition that Superman wore a black suit, didn’t fly, and the Man of Steel had to battle a giant mechanical spider at the end of the movie.
In Smith’s script, the main antagonist Brainiac sends Doomsday to defeat Superman, while Brainiac teams up with Lex Luthor and tries to block out the sun. Smith wanted his long time friend Ben Affleck, who is ironically playing Batman in the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, to play Superman, Jason Lee (My Name is Earl) to play Brainiac, and Jason Mewes (Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back) to play Jimmy Olsen.
Later, it would be announced that Tim Burton would direct, while Nicolas Cage (Kick-Ass) had been cast as Clark Kent/Superman. Joining Cage were Kevin Spacey (The Usual Suspects) as Lex Luthor, Jim Carrey (Dumb & Dumber) as Brainiac, Courtney Cox (Friends) as Lois Lane and Chris Rock (Grown Ups) as Jimmy Olsen. Michael Keaton would have also had a cameo as Bruce Wayne/Batman.
Although Nicolas Cage was cast as Superman, I think the film Superman Lives would have been interesting to see, especially in Tim Burton’s hands. One of my all time favorite Batman movies has always been Batman Returns, so seeing what Burton would’ve done with the Man of Steel would have been awesome! But the movie never finished production and was later scrapped, being replaced nearly ten years later by the unpopular “sequel” to Superman II, Superman Returns. Now, after rebooting the franchise, filmmaker Jon Schnepp has decided to revisit the failed Superman Lives and find out what lead to its downfall with the documentary The Death of Superman Lives which features never-before-seen footage of the film that never came to be.