The Amazing Kevin Smith-Directed Superhero Show We'll Never See

Filmmaker Kevin Smith ("Clerks," "Mallrats”) was a fan of superheroes long before the worlds of Marvel and DC Comics became the biggest things in all of pop culture. Though Smith has never made a big superhero film or TV show, he's come very close at times, perhaps most notably with his script for "Superman Lives," which would have been directed by Tim Burton, with none other than Nicolas Cage on board as the Man of Steel. More recently, Smith was set to direct an episode of the HBO Max anthology series "Strange Adventures" which, unfortunately, was scrapped by the new regime at Warner Bros. Discovery alongside projects such as "Batgirl." 

The real tragedy? It sounds like what Smith had cooked up had the potential to be a truly amazing tale in the DC universe.

Kevin Smith answers the call for Strange Adventures

During an episode of Smith's "Hollywood Babble-On" podcast, the filmmaker revealed that mega producer Greg Berlanti and his team reached out to him about "Strange Adventures" to see if he would be interested in writing and directing an episode of the show. Smith jumped at the opportunity, with the idea being that the HBO Max anthology series would provide an opportunity for lesser-used DC characters to shine. Smith ultimately chose to focus on Jimmy Olsen and Bizarro, a "mirror image" of Superman who, as the name suggests, is quite bizarre.

Berlanti had described "Strange Adventures" as "an anthology series of cautionary tales set in a world where superpowers exist, and, in what promises to be our biggest DC show ever made." To that point, Smith explained that the budget for each episode would be in the $16 to $20 million range, far more than that of shows like "The Flash" on The CW. Smith even joked about the price tag by saying, "Can I talk to you people? You're being financially irresponsible." Smith wrote the script for his episode with Eric Carrasco ("Supergirl") and the plan was for him to direct.

A Bizarro tale in the DC universe

Since the show is not going to be made, Smith shared all of the beats of the script on the podcast. He described it as "a Superman-less story" that would serve as the secret origin of Bizarro. The story would also have involved Perry White, the head of the Daily Planet played by Laurence Fishburne in movies like "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," in a fittingly strange tale. Smith laid it all out, saying the following:

"Bizarro wound up taking Jimmy Olsen and Perry White — that was my other character — to a version of Bizarro World. He didn't appear as, 'Me am Superman!' He appeared as a guy in an old Superman costume, like George Reeves or something. Essentially, he was a paranormal god in a different dimension. In that dimension one day an edition of the Daily Planet had been sent through a teleporter, an experiment in Metropolis. It wound up in this voidless dimension where this being tried to replicate the world of the Daily Planet, which includes stories about Superman. He set himself up as Superman, so everyone there is like, 'We love Superman!' But as soon as his back is turned they're like, 'Help us!'"

This would all build to an action-packed finale and one that would actually see the villain do something heroic by saving a child, thus turning him into a version of Superman that he wanted to be. Smith finished laying out his pitch by bringing things full circle, with the story ultimately bringing us to the Bizarro that fans know from the pages of DC Comics:

"The character, slowly over the course of the episode, the veneer would fall. There was a rebellion that was growing within this fake Metropolis where they would put backwards S's up on the wall to warn people about, he's not what you think he is — that's where the backwards S came from. Then slowly, over the course of the episode, he becomes Bizarro."

The casting that seals the deal

While Smith did describe it as a Superman-less story, he did reveal that the final scene — which sounds more like a post-credits moment — would have involved Bizarro sitting on the edge of nowhere when a pair of boots approach him. A voice acknowledges the good he did, and we those boots belong to none other than Kal-El, aka Clark Kent, aka Superman. A nice way to bring things full circle. Speaking of that, the casting that Smith had in mind for the role of Bizarro is what truly makes this unmade episode of television a tragedy.

"I tell you all of this and the entire story just to tell you that the person who is — we didn't lock it in, he wasn't signed to a contract — but the person we were pursuing to play our Bizarro was Nicolas Cage," Smith revealed. Yes, Cage, one of our most unpredictable actors, and one who has been enjoying a resurgence in films such as "Mandy" and "Pig," may have played Bizarro. That is what the new regime at Warner Bros. Discovery led by CEO David Zaslav took away from us!

Cage, as mentioned earlier, was at one point supposed to play Superman in "Superman Lives," the infamous unmade film that Smith wrote a draft of in the '90s. This would have been a bit of poetic Hollywood justice, bringing that journey full circle for both the actor and the director. Unfortunately, this will only ever live in the land of what-could-have-been.

A silver lining

"Don't feel bad for me, I got paid," Smith joked in an attempt to lighten up a disappointing situation. But for those of us who weren't paid by a gigantic media corporation for work that will never see the light of day (at least not as intended), there is some good news. Smith concluded his thoughts on the matter by revealing that they are going to try and turn the script into a comic book instead. "We're talking about taking it over to DC and doing it as a comic book," Smith said." Because we f****** took the time to write the script. Might as well hand it to an artist and let them draw it."

Could a comic book possibly fill the void where a $20 million episode of television starring Nic Cage as Bizarrow could have stood? No, but it will at least give us a better look into what could have been and serve as a nice consolation prize.