Why Nicolas Cage's Superman Would Have Been 'Angelic And Terrifying'

Fans were treated to a dizzying reveal in the DC multiverse film "The Flash" when director Andy Muschietti gave a "what might have been" look at Nicolas Cage in the guise of the Man of Steel from the actor's and director Tim Burton's canceled movie, "Superman Lives."

Now, following the release of "The Flash" in mid-June 2023, Cage is discussing a notable role that likely would have mirrored his portrayal as Superman. In an interview with USA Today, Cage said in retrospect, his turn in "City of Angels" is a good representation of how he would have approached playing Clark Kent in "Superman Lives." In "City of Angels," Cage starred as an angel opposite a human, played by Meg Ryan.

"If you really wanted to know what I was going do with that character, look at my performance in 'City of Angels,'" Cage told USA Today. "I was supposed [to play] Clark Kent after that [in 'Superman Lives'], and I was already developing this alien otherness playing this angel. 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."

Cage says it was 'satisfying' seeing his Superman in The Flash

"City of Angels" was released while "Superman Lives" was still in the works at Warner Bros., but sadly the production skidded to a halt before Nicolas Cage's Man of Steel could ever take flight. Cage thinks Tim Burton's "Mars Attacks" might have killed "Superman Lives" because of the film's tepid box office gross, but he's not completely certain.

"They were scared at the studio because of 'Mars Attacks.' Warner Bros. had lost a lot of money on the movie," Cage told Variety in March 2023. "These movies that are really weird, that challenge and break ground, they piss a lot of people off. I think they got cold feet. They'd spent a lot of money already building the sets and the costume and what have you."

At least Cage was able to see his Superman materialize on the big screen in the Chronobowl sequence in "The Flash," which included the character's big throwdown against a giant spider that was supposed to be in "Superman Lives."

"Well, I was glad I didn't blink," Cage told USA Today, alluding to his Superman's approximate 30-second appearance in "The Flash." "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."

While it's doubtful fans will see more of the actor's version of Superman after "The Flash," there's at least one last nod of note. Cage's Superman is getting his own DC Comics cover where he's standing alongside the Man of Steel and Batman. The issue Cage is featured on the cover — "Batman/Superman: World's Finest" #19 – will be released in September 2023.