Kevin Smith Relives His “Superman Lives” Pitch

On an episode of his podcast, Kevin Smith reveals how he recently stumbled upon his original pitch to Warner Bros. for a Superman film back in mid-1996.

“I’ve been cleaning my office and I found some s#!t and I just wanted to share this with you all,” Smith said. “This is from Warner Bros. and it’s from, I don’t know if you can see the date there, the date is May 15th of 1996. What I hold in my hand is a 24-year-old Warner Bros. letter, may I read it to you?”

Smith pitched the “rebirth of a hero” by “taking the world’s most famous superhero into the 21st century” and Warner Bros. were interested, sending him a collection of comic books for him to use as research material.

Smith’s pitch was as follows:

Alienated from the world he protects, convinced his relationship with Lois Lane is doomed, Superman is suddenly defeated and left for dead by the villain Brainiac, an intergalactic genius intent upon collecting the best DNA in the universe,'” the pitch reads. “‘Superman is secretly nursed back to health by his mentor Cadmus only to discover he has lost his superpowers. As Lois mourns the loss of her love and Brainiac frantically searches for Superman’s body, the Man of Steel returns disguised using as a high-tech bodysuit to fight while he attempts to regain his superpowers. While battling Brainiac’s henchmen Parasite and Banshee, Superman rediscovers his powers and his love for Lois Lane. In a final showdown, Superman destroys Brainiac and saves the world that he has come to call home.

Smith goes on to explain how this all resulted in a chain of events that would continue to be something he’s still talking about all these years later… even though the film ultimately was canned.

The infamous “Superman Lives” project, which was supposed to star Nicolas Cage as the Man of Steel, became the focus of a documentary titled “The Death of ‘Superman Lives’: What Happened?”.

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December 31, 2020 10:47 pm

At the time when this movie was going to be made I wanted nothing to do with it, but now I kind of wish it happened. I feel like it could have been a cult classic or something that was so bad it’s good.

January 1, 2021 3:57 am

The pitch makes this sound much worse than it was. Of course scripts change during production, but his final draft before the film was cancelled (pre-Burton, at least) was actually quite good for a ’90s super-hero movie. It’s not something you’d want to see today, but at the time, people would’ve loved it.

Actually, it has been quite a while since I read that script, but there are certain things in that pitch I don’t remember reading in the screenplay; like Cadmus (I remember the Eradicator instead) or Banshee.

January 1, 2021 4:47 am

It would definitely have been a modern day cult classic and it saddens a bit that it hasn’t seen the light of day. Back in the mid 1990s plans for reviving superman on the screen was taking every form and shape possible and lots of potential veteran and new comer directors and actors were attached and offered the chance to be part of a large scale cinematic experience. Oh well….what a shame it did not happen

January 1, 2021 8:18 am

I wonder if Kevin Smith will direct any episodes of Superman and Lois? It’s a good possibility.

January 2, 2021 11:11 am

VERY glad this was canned. Dodged a bullet.

January 24, 2021 8:37 am

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