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The Horror Of What Might Have Been: Tim Burton’s Superman Costume Tests

burton-supes burton superman lives test shots


I had seen some drawings over the years but this is beyond any level of bad and horrific then I’ve ever imagined.

In 1998 Tim Burton was signed to direct the next Superman film back before people used the term “Reboot” as much as they do now but that’s what it was going to be. It was to be called “SUPERMAN LIVES” and was going to be something along the lines of the major comic book event of the day where Superman dies but not really but sort of dies but still comes back to sell more comics and it’s all like nothing ever happened.

Burton signed a hefty “pay or play” contract (a deal that pays off whether the film gets made or not) and in a strange move signed Nicholas Cage to star. Most people scratched their heads at the time but this being pre-Planet Of The Apes Burton we trusted he knew what he was doing and it would be great.

A few sketches and leaks about what they were going to do with the costume came out but not a lot so we weren’t too worried.

Burton got things rolling and it even got to the point of picking Pittsburgh as the shooting location to double for Metropolis.. and it all fell apart.

The story I heard was something like some studio exec saw pictures of Cage in costume and freaked out pulling the plug on the film.  In hind-sight and looking at the rest of this post I’m starting to think that might be true.

Fast foward and even in all this time all the details of the film that never was didn’t come out, till now.

Steve Johnson, special effects and make-up artists on many films including Spiderman 2,  Blade 2, Lord of Illusions and going as far back to having worked on The Fog, just let loose with the motherload of photos. Costume test shots from the aborted Superman Lives.

I love the expression on the face of the dude in the picture at the top of this post, he knows how history is going to look back at this, doesn’t he? LOL!!!

Please don’t blame me for any loss of sanity or sleep from viewing these pictures but you can see them all over at Steve’s Facebook page: