Cage - who briefly appears as DC's iconic Kryptonian in the DCEU epic - was, at one point, going to play the Man of Steel in a full-length movie.
Intended for production during the 1990s Superman Lives would have starred Cage and been directed by Tim Burton. While the movie was never made, Cage's connection to the hero has become iconic, especially following images of the actor surfacing online in the red and blue super suit.
Cafe would get his moment in Kryton's red sun though, popping up in The Flash in a cameo that Tim Burton has called "cultural misappropriation" of his DC superhero work.
Nicholas Cage Talks Superman
In an interview with USA Today, Nicholas Cage broke his silence about finally making his debut as Superman through a Multiversal cameo in The Flash, while also revealing his feelings about his short screen time.
Cage stated he was "glad [he] didn't blink" because his appearance was just that "quick." Although he did admit how it was "satisfying" to finally appear as the character, 25 years after his solo Superman movie was canceled:
"Well, I was glad I didn’t blink. For me, it was the feeling of being actualized. Even that look for that particular character, finally seeing it on screen, was satisfying. But as I said, it’s quick."
Despite speculation to the contrary, Cage also confirmed (via Yahoo) that he was on set for this infamous Flash cameo, revealing he was "on set for maybe three hours" and told it would be a simple sequence of his Superman "witnessing the destruction of the universe:"
“They did put a lot of time into building the suit … and I think [Andy] is a terrific director, he is a great guy and a great director, and I loved his two 'It' movies. ... What I was supposed to do was literally just be standing in an alternate dimension, if you will, and witnessing the destruction of the universe. Kal-El was bearing witness [to] the end of a universe, and you can imagine with that short amount of time that I had, what that would mean in terms of what I can convey. I had no dialogue [so had to] convey with my eyes the emotion. So that’s what I did. I was on set for maybe three hours.”
However, when he went to the theater he was shocked to find "it was me fighting a giant spider:"
“When I went to the picture, it was me fighting a giant spider. I did not do that. That was not what I did. I don’t think it was [created by] AI. I know Tim is upset about AI, as I am. It was CGI, OK, so that they could de-age me, and I’m fighting a spider."
The actor added, "I didn’t do any of that, so I don’t know what happened there:"
"I didn’t do any of that, so I don’t know what happened there. … But I get where Tim's coming from. I know what he means. I would be very unhappy if people were taking my art … and appropriating them. I get it. I mean, I’m with him in that regard. AI is a nightmare to me. It’s inhumane. You can’t get more inhumane than artificial intelligence."
Cage doesn't think this sequence was AI-created, but he reiterated, "it [was] out of [his] control:"
“But I don't think it [was] AI [in 'The Flash']. I just think that they did something with it, and again, it’s out of my control. I literally went to shoot a scene for maybe an hour in the suit, looking at the destruction of a universe and trying to convey the feelings of loss and sadness and terror in my eyes. That’s all I did.”
The Superman That Never Lived
It's easy to see how satisfying it is for Nicholas Cage to see himself on screen as the iconic Kryptonian. His Superman that never permeated pop culture for years now, and getting to see it realized probably felt amazing.
It's a shame that Cage's Superman cameo was so short and did look like a poorly rendered CGI model.
While it does not look to be the case, it would be surprising if one assumed the actor never actually shot anything for the movie.
As for why the creative team chose to stylize him like an outdated VFX model, fans may never know.
Maybe Cage could get another shot as the Man of Steel whenever James Gunn's big DCU reboot starts touching upon the Multiverse. Until then, however, perhaps the actor could get a different notable role.
Cage previously expressed interest in bringing to life Jim Corrigan, aka the Spectre—a niche character who would be perfect for Gunn's new DCU.
The Flash is now available to purchase digitally.