Superman Lives is one of those great projects that might have been, like Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Dune or Richard Stanley’s The Island of Dr. Moreau — like both of those films, Superman Lives now has its very own documentary examining the film that never was and the speculation surrounding it. A new clip from The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? features never before seen footage of Nicolas Cage’s costume test in which the actor wears a version of the Superman suit.

Tim Burton was going to direct Superman Lives based on a script by Kevin Smith, which leaned heavily on some of the weirder comic book mythology. One of the stranger elements was the now famous “rainbow suit,” which, as the clip below (via the LA Times) explains, was a biometric suit that Superman was only meant to wear briefly in the film. Many of the derogatory comments from fans over the years centered around that suit in particular, but the interview below with Burton’s costume designer, acclaimed Oscar-winner Colleen Atwood, clears the air in that respect.

The combo of Tim Burton, Kevin Smith and Nicolas Cage is certainly one of the more bizarre unions in cinematic history. Even if the film had been made and had turned out poorly, it would have been fascinating, to say the least.

And Cage and Burton both appear to be having a great time in the costume test footage above. I particularly love Cage’s floppy goth hair — this is so very much a Tim Burton Superman, and judging by what we have seen from the film, it looks like it would have married some of Burton’s earlier sensibilities with his later ones, for better or worse.

The Death of Superman Lives is available for pre-order at tdoslwh.com. You’ll also have a chance to catch the film at Comic-Con next week, and if you can’t make it out to San Diego, the doc will be playing a number of roadshow screenings.

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