Earlier this year, fans of DC were treated to a brief but exciting glimpse into an alternate cinematic universe when a multiverse sequence in The Flash featured Nicolas Cage as Superman, a role he never got to play in the ill-fated 1998 project Superman Lives. Batman (1989) director Tim Burton was set to direct Superman Lives before its abrupt cancellation. He shared his thoughts on the experience.
In a recent interview, Burton was asked whether he had any regrets about the canceled Superman Lives project, which was in pre-production for two years before being halted just three weeks before filming was set to begin. Burton’s response was a mixture of reflection and insight.
“No, I don’t have regrets,” Burton began, “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.”
However, Burton also expressed a broader perspective on the film industry and studio control. He touched on the idea that once a director creates a film within a major studio, the studio can take control of the project’s legacy and use it in ways that may not align with the director’s vision.
“But also it goes into another AI thing,” Tim Burton remarked, “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.”