Superman Lives seems too bad to be true, a bogeyman created to silence fans who complain about Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns. Alas, the nightmarish vision of Tim Burton, Jon Peters and a string of writers (most notably Kevin Smith) was nearly unleashed upon an unsuspecting world: Nicolas Cage was cast as the Man of Steel, costumes were created and Pittsburgh selected to double as Metropolis.
Kevin Spacey was approached for the role of Lex Luthor, a part he went on to play in Superman Returns. Courtney Cox was considered for Lois Lane while Chris Rock was set to portray Jimmy Olsen — hey, it was the mid-’90s. Even more terrifying is that Tim Allen was reportedly in talks to play Brainiac who, in at least one version of the script, fought polar bears at the Fortress of Solitude.
But in 1998 Warner Bros. pulled the brakes over financial concerns, Burton moved on to direct Sleepy Hollow, and disaster was averted. How’s that for a Halloween tale? Sure beats the one about the escaped killer with a hook for a hand!
Official images from the movie’s pre-production are rare — wonder why? — but just in time for All Hallow’s Eve, visual effects artist Steve Johnson has dusted off nearly two dozen test photos for what would’ve been Superman’s costume. You can check out some of them below, or visit Johnson’s Facebook page for the full gallery. Suddenly all the dickering about the belt and trunks in Superman Returns seems even sillier, doesn’t it?