In the 1990s, Burton – who had directed 1989’s Batman and 1992’s Batman Returns starring Michael Keaton – was tapped to direct a Superman film led by Nicolas Cage titled Superman Lives. However, that film was scrapped just three weeks before it began filming, with the only public memories of the film being footage of Cage testing out costumed for the titular role.
However, Cage’s take on Superman received a long-awaited revival earlier this year in the form of a computer graphic-generated cameo for The Flash. Now, Tim Burton has spoken out about the cameo.
Speaking to the British Film Institute, Burton was asked if he had any regrets about not being able to push through with Superman Lives. Burton replied: “No, I don’t have regrets. 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.”
He went on to explain how he felt about Cage’s The Flash cameo: “It goes into another AI thing, and this is why I think I’m over it with the studio. They can take what you did, Batman or whatever, and culturally misappropriate it, or whatever you want to call it. Even though you’re a slave of Disney or Warner Brothers, they can do whatever they want. So in my latter years of life, I’m in quiet revolt against all this.”
Upon its release, The Flash scored a four-star review from NME‘s Alex Flood. Flood wrote: “The Flash being so brilliant actually gives DC a bit of a headache. The studio’s new head honcho, James Gunn, is currently planning a much-publicised reboot of its comic book movie universe that may not include the Scarlet Speedster. Throw in Miller’s even more publicised personal problems and a poorly received film could have provided the perfect opportunity to have him (and the bad press) jog off into the sunset. Given the critical buzz and potential box office bump, that looks unlikely now. The Flash’s future is starting to look a lot sparkier than his past.”