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Nicolas Cage’s suit would have glowed like a disco in Tim Burton’s canceled Superman

Contributed by
Apr 27, 2018

In Tim Burton’s offbeat hands, Superman might have looked like an entirely different kind of superhero than the one we’ve inherited with more conventionally mainstream movies like Superman Returns and Man of Steel.

How different? Well, even if Burton’s version of Clark Kent at his beast-mode best had remained true to the character’s good-guy instincts, Superman’s steely body still would have looked like ground zero for one giant glow-in-the-dark disco party, thanks to the recently revealed special effects work of longtime FX artist Steve Johnson.

In a look into Johnson’s work on canceled projects like Burton’s Superman Lives and Clive Barker’s would-be take on The Mummy, horror insider blog Dread Central got its hands on video footage of the 1990s-vintage Superman suit in action. And once you’ve seen it, we think you’ll be ready to rave.

Dread Central on YouTube

Johnson explained that one prototype of the bioluminescent-looking regeneration suit that star Nicolas Cage would have worn as Superman actually achieved its wavy, pulsating light effect via the magic of cyalume — the very same magic ingredient as in glow sticks. The idea was to pump the material through artfully constructed tubes to make it look as though Superman’s super-blood was positively pulsating with its own life force.

Another suit prototype, Johnson added, was based on FX work he had previously done for The Abyss, harnessing the power of fiber optics for a full-body light wave that would have had the Man of Steel looking like a walking, flying, one-man Olympic opening ceremony spectacle.

With all the other remarkable looks that Cage has gamely taken on over the years, it’s kind of a shame we never got to see his body throwing its own light party in the famously ill-fated project. But at least we can take comfort in knowing Cage’s Superman will finally light up the screen in a different way this summer, when he’ll lend his voice to the Man From Krypton when Teen Titans Go! To The Movies hits theaters on July 27.