While Nicolas Cage was on set for his cameo appearance as Superman in The Flash, the end result of what appeared on screen was very different than what he was told the cameo would be like. For example: Cage did not fight a giant spider.
“First and foremost, I was on set,” Cage told Yahoo! during an interview about his upcoming movie Dream Scenario. “What I was supposed to do was literally just be standing in an alternate dimension, if you will, and witnessing the destruction of the universe. Kal-El was bearing witness [to] the end of a universe, and you can imagine with that short amount of time that I had, what that would mean in terms of what I can convey. I had no dialogue [so had to] convey with my eyes the emotion. So that’s what I did. I was on set for maybe three hours.”
In the movie, Cage appears during the sequence he details above. The Flash (Ezra Miller) is witnessing several different versions of the DC film and TV universes crashing into each other. Cage’s Superman is from a movie that never was… A scrapped take called Superman Lives starring Cage as the Man of Steel, directed by Tim Burton. And though he was only there for three hours, Cage lauded by The Flash director Andy Muschetti, and the fact that he was able to wear a recreation of designer Colleen Atwood’s suit for the scuttled picture.
However, what ended up on screen was not what he was brought on set to perform.
“When I went to the picture, it was me fighting a giant spider,” Cage continued. “I did not do that. That was not what I did.”
The giant spider fight is another element from Superman Lives, one from producer Jon Peters, that also never saw the light of day. Cage continued to explain that while he is livid in general about the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), he does not think it was used to create the Superman/spider fight, but rather CGI and deaging. “AI is a nightmare to me,” Cage noted. “It’s inhumane. You can’t get more inhumane than artificial intelligence.”
Director Tim Burton was a bit harsher about multiple elements in The Flash, including the use of the Superman Lives ideas, as well as Warner Bros. using Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne/Batman in the film. “They can take what you did, Batman or whatever, and culturally misappropriate it, or whatever you want to call it,” Burton said during an interview with the British Film Institute. “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.”
Turns out, audiences were in revolt against The Flash, too! Zing!