Why the Nicolas Cage cameo in The Flash is an AMAZING call back to a film that was never made

17 June 2023
Superhero movies have increasingly embraced the concept of the multiverse, leading to numerous cameos from different versions of beloved characters. 

One of the most surprising and intriguing cameos in The Flash is the appearance of Nicolas Cage as Superman. Cage's portrayal of Superman in The Flash draws from the abandoned Tim Burton project, Superman Lives. This essay delves into the context behind Cage's Superman and the significance of his cameo in The Flash.

The Rise of Multiverse-Centric Superhero Movies:

Superhero movies in recent years have embraced the concept of the multiverse, allowing for the inclusion of various versions of characters from different realities and timelines. The Flash takes full advantage of this trend by featuring cameos from iconic actors reprising their superhero roles, such as Michael Keaton as Batman. These appearances provide a nostalgic experience for fans while adding depth to the movie's narrative. Less friendly reviewers call it derogatorily as 'fan service'.

We are here for that!

Exploring Alternate Realities in The Flash:

In the climax of The Flash, the protagonist Barry Allen, played by Ezra Miller, manipulates time and witnesses the collapse of multiple alternate realities. Through these glimpses, audiences are treated to alternate versions of well-known characters, including Superman. Christopher Reeve's Superman and Helen Slater's Supergirl make appearances, as do Adam West's Batman and George Reeves's Superman. Among these recognizable cameos is Nicolas Cage's Superman from the unmade film, Superman Lives.

The Legacy of Superman Lives and Nicolas Cage's Involvement:

Superman Lives was a Tim Burton project that never came to fruition. It was abandoned in 1998 after extensive pre-production efforts and creative differences between Burton, the studio, and producer John Peters. Nicolas Cage was cast to play Superman in this film, and various concept art, costume test photos, and footage of Cage in the Superman suit still circulate online. The failed production of Superman Lives became the subject of the documentary "The Death of 'Superman Lives': What Happened?"

nicolas cage suoerman costume test
Nicolas Cage's screen test as Superman

The Giant Spider Controversy and Superman Lives' Influence:

One notable aspect of the failed Superman Lives project was the insistence of producer John Peters on including a giant spider for Superman to battle in the movie's finale. This concept was later used in the film Wild Wild West and the comic book series Superman: Birthright. The images of Nicolas Cage's Superman and the giant spider have captivated Superman and DC fandoms for years, despite the project's cancellation.

Director and film fanatic Kevin Smith tells the story with great humour and insight in this presentation.

Nicolas Cage's Longstanding Fascination with Superman:

Nicolas Cage has been a longtime fan of Superman and comic books in general. He sold a rare copy of Superman's first comics appearance for a significant sum and named his son Kal-El after Superman's Kryptonian name. 

Cage's fascination with the Man of Steel aligns with his desire to play the character and explore the depths of Superman's mythology and symbolism.

The Flash and the Resurrection of Nicolas Cage's Superman:

The Flash provides a unique opportunity for Nicolas Cage to fulfill his wish of donning the Superman cape and tights. His cameo allows audiences to envision what the climax of Superman Lives might have looked like, had the film been completed. While Michael Keaton's return as Batman is the most significant homage in The Flash, Cage's appearance as Superman pays tribute to another unmade Tim Burton comic book project, Superman Lives.

The inclusion of Nicolas Cage as Superman in The Flash demonstrates the film's commitment to embracing the multiverse concept and paying tribute to past adaptations. Cage's portrayal draws from the abandoned Superman Lives project, providing a glimpse into what might have been. This cameo allows audiences to explore the legacy of Superman Lives and Nicolas Cage's longstanding fascination with the Man of Steel. The Flash continues the trend of multiverse-centric.


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

At The Astromech, you can expect to find a variety of articles, reviews, and analysis related to science fiction, including books, movies, TV, and games.
From exploring the latest news and theories to discussing the classics, I aim to provide entertaining and informative content for all fans of the genre.

Whether you are a die-hard Star Trek fan or simply curious about the world of science fiction, The Astromech has something for everyone. So, sit back, relax, and join me on this journey through the stars!
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