At one point and time, there was once a Superman Lives film expected to debut in 1998. The project was to be directed by Tim Burton and see the Man of Steel go up against Brainiac, Doomsday, Lex Luthor, and even a giant spider.
Best of all, the legendary Nicolas Cage would have played the titular hero. Up until The Flash, all fans had to picture what he would have looked like in the role was a leaked costume test.
Now, audiences can fawn over high-quality images of Cage's big Superman cameo from DC Studios' latest blockbuster in which he appears in a brief cameo where he fought a giant spider.
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."
The Superman Lives universe only appears for around 30 seconds in The Flash, with Cage's actual face only even visible for a few seconds of that time.
For those looking to see more of the direction Cage planned to take Superman, the actor shared how that can be found in 1998's City of Angels where he was already "developing this alien otherness" which he would have utilized as Clark Kent:
"If you really wanted to know what I was going do with that character, look at my performance in 'City of Angels.' I was supposed (to play) Clark Kent after that (in 'Superman Lives'), and I was already developing this alien otherness playing this angel.
In the 1998 romantic fantasy City of Angels, Cage played Seth, an angel who guides humans to their next life but falls in love with a heart surgeon (Meg Ryan's Maggie) after seeing her trying to save somebody's life.
The Hollywood icon continued to explain how his Clark "would’ve been a little more amusing" while his Kal-El would have had "the sensitivity and the goodness and the vulnerability" of his angelic romantic:
"That is a perfect example of the tonality you would’ve gotten for Kal-El and for Clark Kent: Clark would’ve been a little more amusing but Kal-El (had) the sensitivity and the goodness and the vulnerability and all those feelings that were kind of angelic and also terrifying."
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. To those unaware of the behind-the-scenes details, it would be easy to assume that the actor never actually shot anything for the movie. However, he was, in fact, on set for the project.
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.