Kickstart This: 'Death of Superman Lives' Doc on Burton's Failed Film

January 31, 2013

Death of Superman Lives

Welcome back to another edition of Kickstart This, FirstShowing's weekly column dedicated to spreading the word about cool indie projects that need your help to become a reality. By now, you've surely heard of Superman Lives, Tim Burton's failed attempt to reboot the Superman franchise back in the 1990s that had Nicolas Cage on board in the lead role. If you really want to hear the behind the scenes story of this movie that never was, help support The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?, a Kickstarter doc that will collect every piece of information available about this failed superhero effort and put it in one place.

It's strange to think how different our current comic book movie landscape might be if Tim Burton had directed both a Batman and a Superman movie at the height of his popularity. Burton's Batman star Michael Keaton was even rumored to make an appearance in Superman Lives, meaning that DC and Warner Bros. would have beaten Marvel to the crossover idea by a decade and we'd likely have seen a Justice League movie long before The Avengers ever assembled. And if Burton knocked it out of the park, who knows? We might never have gotten the Joel Schumacher films, which led to the beloved Nolan movies, which in turn led to Nolan himself producing yet another take on Superman. The ripple effects are endless.

Superman Lives seems like a truly "out there" superhero movie, and with The Death of Superman Lives, director Jon Schnepp hopes to interview some of the key players involved in what we know so far. Kevin Smith famously took a crack at the script (in which Superman would have battled a giant spider in the third act), and Schnepp hopes to speak with Smith, Cage, Sandra Bullock (who was in talks to play Lois Lane), costume designers - do a Google Image search to get a look at some of their amazing work - and ultimately Tim Burton himself to discuss what his take would have been for the legendary Big Blue Boy Scout.

Jon Schnepp is an experienced director, having worked on shows like Comedy Central's "Upright Citizen's Brigade," Adult Swim's "Metalocalypse" and "The Venture Bros.", as well as Marvel's "The Black Panther." He also directed the "W" segment in last year's horror anthology The ABCs of Death. He seems like a huge Superman nerd (in a good way), and projects like this can only truly be great if the people behind the scenes are clearly passionate about what they're working on, so this one looks like it's in good hands. Check out:

For more on The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?, and to help support the project, visit its Kickstarter page. Director Jon Schnepp is hoping to raise $98,000 by Sunday, March 10th, so please donate if you'd like to see more about this crazy Superman project that never made it to the big screen. If you can't spare the cash right now, maybe you could still help them out by spreading the word on Facebook and Twitter and to any other friends who dig comic book movies, Superman, or Tim Burton.

That's all for this week's Kickstart This. Be sure to keep suggestions coming to for cool projects you see that might need an extra push. My inbox is always open, and if you send in any Kickstarter or IndieGoGo film project, I can't guarantee we'll feature it here, but I will absolutely take a look at it for consideration. Thanks as always for your support of these projects, because they definitely couldn't be completed without without the help of true film lovers like you. For our full archives, visit here. Cool?

Find more posts: Comics, Indies, Kickstart This



If it got kickstarted, but they couldn't get interviews with both Burton and Cage, that would be a serious shame.

OfficialJab on Jan 31, 2013


I just literally saw a picture of Cage in the costume.

Xerxexx on Jan 31, 2013


I just saw the picture of Cage in the costume. I just literally threw up little in my mouth.

Stephen Sywak on Jan 31, 2013


..because the traditional Superman outfit is much much better..I mean who can argue with blue spandex and red briefs worn on the outside..don't get me started on the wizard cape...

meh on Feb 2, 2013


This is the greatest idea ever. Warner Bro. might want something like this on the extras for the new Man of Steel movie. This would definitely be great publicity for the new film.

Kneel before Zod!!!!!! on Jan 31, 2013


I need $98,000. I want to see this bad.

PBGray on Jan 31, 2013


Superman is such a boring super hero a bit of Tim Burton craziness could have been an improvement.Now, add Nicholas Cage and you have an epic movie...sure the narrow-minded fanboys will and would disagree but this would be movie is (could have been ) made out of stuff dreams are made of...

admirerererer on Jan 31, 2013


For those who doen't know the story about this movie, I invite you to enjoy this video in which Kevin Smith talks about the genesis of the project: WARNING: Big spiders could appear...

capitandelespacio on Feb 1, 2013


WWW got the big sipder, hehe

David Banner on Feb 2, 2013


This would be interesting to watch. He's really assembled an impressive array of artwork. Brainiac looks a little too much like the creatures in 'Mars Attacks', though. I just wish Tim Burton films weren't so predictably dark... I get a little tired of that. It's possible that the money men were a little concerned about taking the franchise down that kind of street as well. But I'd love to see the documentary...

Dennis Hastings on Feb 1, 2013


Support this! It's a great idea! Even with only $1! I vaguely remember Sandra Bullock(?) getting $10 million upfront for this, and with no return obligation? Or was that Keaton? Someone got paid $10 million for nothing! Anyone remember this story? Cba to dig up 15, 20 year old EMPIRE's to check. I guess it will show up in the doc.

David Banner on Feb 2, 2013

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