Due to the strikes, Tim Burton could currently be taking a break from work. But with his long-awaited Beetlejuice sequel awaiting completion despite being 99% complete, that’s not stopping him from voicing his opinion.
In his talk about “Beetlejuice,” he also touched on the use of AI to create Burton-like versions of Disney characters. He’s not a fan, as you might suspect. And he referred again to the technology an interview with the British Film Institute that touched on one of his great unmade films, “Superman Lives.”
Related article: ‘Beetlejuice 2’ was ‘99% complete’ before filming stopped, says director Tim Burton
What was the story of Superman Lives?
In 1998, Burton was preparing to film a new version of Superman called Superman Lives, starring Nicolas Cage as the Man of Steel. The director had spent two years in extensive pre-production and had gotten as far as shooting tests with Cage in his suit (images of which were not officially released until 2009) when studio Warner Bros. canceled the film due to creative differences.
Here’s what Nic Cage told Empire about the planned film (and its director) in 2013:
“Tim Burton is a genius. He’s a great artist and I’m sure he would have done something really great with the story of Superman, and I knew I was going for something completely unique and different than anything you’ve seen with Superman, but still , in a way it was a win-win for me that it didn’t work out because the power of imagination allows you to imagine what that could have been like. This could be even more powerful than the finished product, so I think it worked.”
And Burton has no regrets about the failed project, as he revealed in the BFI article:
“I’ll say this: When you work on a project for so long and it doesn’t come to fruition, it affects you for the rest of your life. Because you get excited about things, and every thing is an unknown journey, and it wasn’t there yet. But it’s one of those experiences that never leaves you one bit.”
However, he’s not happy that a version of Cage’s Superman – played by the actor himself – appeared in The Flash’s big, dramatic parallel world collision scene.
Burton on Using Cage’s Superman in ‘The Flash’
The big scene, which briefly featured a mo-cap cage, also features CG versions of classic Superman and Flash characters like Christopher Reeves’ Supes and Helen Slater as Supergirl, and is part of a moment where the boundaries between the Realities begin to unravel when Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen attempts to alter the space-time continuum.
It feels like Burton wants to turn back time and stop the decision to let Cage appear…
“That’s why I think I’m done with the studio. You can take what you did, “Batman” or whatever, and culturally abuse it, or whatever you want to call it. Even if you are a slave to Disney or Warner Brothers, they can do whatever they want. That’s why in my last years I quietly rebelled against all of this.”
Still, “Beetlejuice 2” is coming next year from (checks notes) Warner Bros. And then there’s “Wednesday” Season 2 from (checks other notes) Netflix.