Movies Reviews

Tim Burton Has No Regrets Over Superman Lives Cancelation; but is Not Impressed With Nicolas Cage's The Flash Cameo


  • Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will incorporate plot points from the canceled spin-off movie, The Trench, similar to how The Flash used elements from the abandoned Superman Lives.
  • Tim Burton reflects on his unmade Superman movie, expressing that while he doesn’t have regrets, the experience of working on it still lingers.
  • Burton criticizes the cultural misappropriation of his work by studios and his quiet revolt against it, particularly referencing the use of his Batman and Cage’s Superman in The Flash.

This December’s Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom seems set to include plot points that were originally to be used in the canceled spin-off movie, The Trench. This is similar to the way The Flash incorporated a short reprise of the canceled Nicholas Cage movie Superman Lives, which once upon a time was being developed by director Tim Burton. It seems though Burton himself is not fond of this kind of call-back, as the director candidly shared his feelings about The Flash’s use of both his old idea and his original big screen Batman.

Tim Burton is currently dipping into his own past with the upcoming Beetlejuice 2, but that movie is one that was never really in contention to be made until now. When being asked by the British Film Institute whether he had any regrets about his unmade Superman movie, Burton expressed his thoughts on the matter in a straightforward answer.

“No, I don’t have regrets. I will say this: when you work that long on a project and it doesn’t happen, it affects you for the rest of your life. Because you get passionate about things, and each thing is an unknown journey, and it wasn’t there yet. But it’s one of those experiences that never leaves you, a little bit.”

However, he did then turn his attention to the use of Michael Keaton’s Batman and Cage’s Superman in The Flash. He said:

“But also it goes into another AI thing, and this is why I think I’m over it with the studio. They can take what you did, Batman or whatever, and culturally misappropriate it, or whatever you want to call it. Even though you’re a slave of Disney or Warner Brothers, they can do whatever they want. So in my latter years of life, I’m in quiet revolt against all this.“

Related: Tim Burton Says AI Clones of his Work “Takes Something From Your Soul.”

The Flash Could Have Been Great but Ended Up Being Run Out Of Town

Warner Bros. Pictures

When initial reactions to The Flash began to surface, everything seemed to suggest that Warner Bros. could possibly be about to land the hit DC movie they had been searching to find, after poor showings with Black Adam and Shazam! Fury of the Gods. However, a weak box office and heavy criticism of the movie’s use of CGI – particularly when resurrecting former DC stars – led to the film being the biggest flop of the year for Warner Bros. departing DCEU.

Among the biggest criticisms of The Flash centered on the moment when worlds collided in a strangely rendered envisioning of the DC multiverse, which included that appearance by Nicholas Cage as Superman battling a giant spider. This was a moment that would have potentially featured in Burton’s Superman Lives, and by including it in The Flash, it was clearly meant to be a nostalgic Easter egg for fans who were aware of its history. Instead, the moment became one of the most ridiculed moments of the movie, and did not save it as much as sink it.

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