‘The Death of Superman Lives’ is a documentary directed by John Schnepp that looks back on the aborted attempt to reboot the ‘Superman’ cinematic franchise in the 90s, which was slated to be directed by Tim Burton and would have starred Nicholas Cage as the Man of Steel. The movie famously made it quite far into development but at the last minute, the entire production was scrapped despite Warner Brothers already spending millions on it. In 2007, another high profile super hero movie was also in development at Warner Brothers, ‘Justice League: Mortal’, which would have been helmed by ‘Mad Max’ mastermind George Miller. Like ‘Superman Lives’ the movie made it pretty far into production, with a cast assembled and ready to start shooting in Australia when the entire to-do was completely scrapped.
Following in the footsteps of ‘The Death of Superman Lives,’ a new documentary, tentatively titled ‘Miller’s Justice League: Mortal’ seeks to examine the planned movie and its ultimate demise, largely attributed to the writers strike that hit Hollywood at the time.Director Ryan Unicomb and producers Aaron Cater and Steven Caldwell, working with film writer/author Maria Lewis, are planning to interview cast and crew members that were attached to the project to learn about the development and ultimate scrapping of this project. One unique area that the filmmakers hope to showcase is the financial impact the abandonment had on the planned Australian shooting location. In addition, comic book fans can look forward to some never-before-seen artwork and costumes.
The intention to make the documentary was just made, as Unicomb explains, “We wanted to get the story out there to help us to gauge interest… I have always been fascinated with project, which would be in the same vein as 2013’s Jodorowsky’s Dune and this year’s The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?, about a Superman movie that Tim Burton was to direct in the 1990s.” Unicomb has private investors lined up for his planned doc, but may also turn to fans to help with funding.
‘Justice League: Mortal’ featured a cast of mostly (at the time) unknowns: Armie Hammer as Batman, Adam Brody as Flash (Barry Allen), D.J. Cotrona as Superman, Megan Gale as Wonder Woman, Common as Green Lantern, Santiago Cabrera as Aquaman, Hugh Keays-Byrne as the Martian Manhunter, Anton Yelchin as Wally West, Zoe Kazan as Iris West, Teresa Palmer as Talia Al Ghul, Jay Baruchel as Maxwell Lord and Stephen Tobolowsky as Alfred Pennyworth. Only Brody, Common and arguably Baruchel were “names” at the time and even today, only Hammer has gained any real notoriety. Gale and Keays-Byrne appear in Miller’s current hit ‘Mad Max: Fury Road.’
‘Justice League: Mortal’ would have borrowed heavily from the comic book miniseries ‘Infinite Crisis,’ but would have also taken a note from ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ with Barry Allen dying and Wally West taking on his mentor’s identity. (Although Brody and Yelchin are much closer in age than most would think Barry and Wally would be.)It would certainly be interesting to see more of what might have been, expecially now that WB is moving forward with a new DC cinematic universe which will ultimately include an updated Justice League.
Are you intrigued to see this documentary?