Concept Art From Tim Burton’s Unfilmed Superman Film

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That chap Superman sure keeps making the news but doesn’t seem to be making many movies lately, does he? The latest appearance from Jor-El Kal-El on the /Film radar is with two previously unreleased paintings Tim Burton made when planning a rather unorthodox Superman picture back in the 90s.

This was the film that was going to see Nicolas Cage as Superman and the reworking of which upset Kevin Smith’s sensibilities so much. I still quietly mourn it to this day, when reminded of it. It certainly wasn’t going to give us a Superman as we’ve seen him before, but well… obviously, we’ve already seen him like that before. Let’s see a new one, why not.

Coming up after the break, two Superman Lives pre-production paintings from Burton’s current MoMA retrospective and, random chance willing, the lavish and eminently gift-listable accompanying book.

This first picture is of Braniac, a character that Burton was supposedly looking to entrust to Pearce Brosnan.

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The second picture is of… er… anybody? A big green face. Zod? Definitely not the Jude Law type Zod that fans were wanting from the proposed Superman Man of Steel. Maybe this is also Brainiac…?

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MTV have a gallery that contains both these and a number of other Burton penworks from the current show.

The below image is a supposed Nicolas Cage/Superman Lives costume test and started doing the rounds a little while ago, originating at a Japanese Burton fansite. Again, the visual style is not any Superman we’ve ever seen before. Purist fans have been outraged by every single choice Burton made, while I’m actually quite sad he didn’t get to see his vision to the screen.

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Oh, if only films were produced as prolifically (ie. cheaply) as comic books and Elseworlds and Bizarro versions of characters could be created all over the place. Without the urgent need to land squarely in the most popular conception of a character’s style because the film is a once in a three-years chance to tick the boxes, we could be treated to all sorts of curious, beautiful oddities.

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