There are legendary unfinished films, and there's Superman Lives. When it comes to insane, overblown, ridiculously fun-looking projects that failed to ever see the light of day, it's pretty much the champ.
Which is why filmmaker Jon Schnepp is so determined to make a documentary about it - and with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice just around the corner, he couldn't have picked a much better time to do so.
Especially when the early footage and material is this cool:
I mean, just look at that concept art...
The thing is, though, that trailer barely scratches the surface of the strange and unique slice of cinema history lying behind Superman Lives - one filled with some of the most peculiar casting and creative choices known to mankind.
Nicolas Cage going full Nicolas Cage
As in, straight up, terrifying, made $20 million on a pay-or-play deal despite never shooting a scene kind of full Nic Cage:
Of course, because producer Jon Peters was kind of a strange dude, the casting didn't exactly take a turn for the conventional from there:
This Wasn't Your Grandpa's Jimmy Olsen
Superman's pal Jimmy Olsen? Pretty much the squarest, most cub-scout-y character in comics?
Yeah, he was going to be played by - the distinctly edgy comedian - Chris Rock.
Although, in fairness, Lois Lane was a little less out there:
Lois Lane, Or As She Was Known To Her F.R.I.E.N.D.S...
Yup, Monica Gellar (also known as Courteney Cox) was reportedly lined up to play Lois Lane...which actually would have kind of worked. She had the hair for it.
Come to think of it, Chris Rock would've been kind of cool too.
So maybe the casting wasn't actually that bad...
Was going to play Brainiac.
One of Superman's deadliest enemies.
Though in fairness, the addition of a certain supporting cast member may have made up for it:
Superman Lives...And So Does Batman?
That's right, Michael Keaton has confirmed that he was set to be involved in the project - though when asked whether he would have been returning as Batman, he responded "not exactly."
So, Bruce Wayne, then.
Which at least made a lot more sense than the plans for the movie's villains:
Of course Lex Luthor was set to appear - with Kevin Spacey so obvious a choice that he went on to play the villain in Superman Returns.
The only problem being that in one draft of the movie's script, he was set to merge with Tim Allen's Brainiac, into a combined villain called...Lexiac.
Which is much less like a laxative than it sounds.
And honestly, don't get me started on the Giant Robot Spider:
Also, The Giant Robot Spider
OK, fine. Remember Wild Wild West, the 90's finest comedy-action-western-sci-fi-steam-punk movie starring Will Smith? Y'know, the one with unnecessary Giant Robot Spider (Pictured)?
Well, as it turns out, producer Jon Peters just recycled that whole idea from Superman Lives - into which he had insisted original screenwriter Kevin Smith add one.
Peters is actually a pretty central part of all the weirdness here. he may have hired Tim Burton to direct, but Burton wasn't the one who insisted on Superman not flying and wearing a black suit, or on Lex Luthor having a space dog.
As Peters put it:
"Chewie's cuddly, man. You could make a toy out of him, so you've got to give me a dog."
He was also responsible, while we're on the subject, for:
"A Gay R2-D2 With Attitude."
Yup, Peters wanted Brainiac's robot sidekick L-Ron to be "a gay R2-D2 with attitude."
None of which explains the least plausible plan in villainy since...
The Simpsons Already Did It
Yep, Brainiac's evil plan was to launch a giant metal disc into space, in order to block out the sun.
Which Mr Burns already totally tried, and it didn't even work for him.
No wonder Burton eventually walked (along with the money from a $5 million pay-or-play deal), after which:
Every Director in Hollywood Turned It Down
Including Michael Bay, who you'd have thought would be down for exactly that sort of thing.
Oliver Stone, Ralph Zondag, Shekhar Kapur, Martin Campbell and Robert Rodriguez all turned down the chance to direct at one point or another.
Heck, Brett Ratner turned it down to direct The Family Man.
All because one man just really wanted to watch Superman fight a space dog, Tim Allen and a "a gay R2-D2 with attitude."
Your move, [Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice](movie:711870). Your move...
What do you guys think? Wish Superman Lives had happened?