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Superman Lives Designs May Make You Grateful for Superman Returns

Between long-forgotten costume test photos and video footage, it might’ve seemed as if we’d glimpsed the last relics of Tim Burton’s Superman Lives, the mercifully abandoned franchise reboot that would have starred Nic Cage as the Man of Steel, Chris Rock as Jimmy Olsen and, just possibly, Tim Allen as Brainiac.

But now, some 13 years after Warner Bros. pulled the plug on the project, the Superman: Man of Steel Facebook group has gotten its hands on some more concept art for the film, courtesy of Hasbro designers Brian Eun and Ben Torres.

According to the image descriptions, the team at Hasbro worked closely with the studio to come up with concepts that could be used for both the movie and the related toy line. The result was some undeniably ’90s elements, like shoulder pads, knee-high boots and something akin to body armor.

Eun’s design for the Kryptonian Explorer, which borrows from Superman: The Movie, would have echoes in Superman Returns (or at least in the deleted scene in which Kal-El returns to Krypton). Two more elements I don’t recall seeing before and are definitely worth mentioning: Woody Harrelson was apparently in line to play Jor-El, and Superman was to have a son — something that will likely raise the hackles of critics of Bryan Singer’s later movie.

(via Comics Alliance)


  • Nick Spencer

    Hasbro? Oh right, the guys behind Transformers that thought making BEAST WARS was a great idea.  No wonder they are the “geniuses” behind this abortion of a reboot.

  • Kwame

    We dodged a huge bullet.

  • Jorell Rivera

    Superman Returns was good!  And so was Beast Wars.

  • AdamH12110

    Except Beast Wars was really good.  In many ways better than the original.

  • Lewis4510

    Superman Returns was a big fat kryptonite sleeping pill. When I saw it at the theater one half of the audience walked out, the other was asleep.  It launched Brandon Routh’s career and ended it at the same time. I’ve seen better acting from wallpaper and no his acting hasn’t improved since then.

  • Anonymous

    Bahahaha Nicholas Cage as Superman sketch.

  • Steven Ventress

    Thank God this never happened.  Also, for the record, Beast Wars was awesome.

  • Po

    Routh was fun in Scott Pilgrim. I haven’t seen him in any other films. He starred in Dylan Dog but I haven’t seen it.

  • Chndup1

    I totally agree, Beast Wars was a solid cartoon, especially when you look at the last Transformers’ move.

  • Michael E. Higgins

    name 1 way :P

  • Davidlevack

    Despite the technical failing I found beat wars to be entertaining. Though I don’t try to watch that stuff at 23

  • Davidlevack

    It didn’t have skids

  • Kiel Phegley

    Hire this man!

  • mdk

    Looks like New 52 Supergirl adopted that “S” logo, and of course New 52 Superman now wears armor, though his “S” shield is oddly more traditional.

  • Savonti

    Characterization, storytelling, much fewer instances of Starscream being the wrong color?

    Really I’m very much a G1 loyalist, and I totally get how east it can be to dismiss Beast Wars is you haven’t seen it.  I mean they’re animals, the early CG isn’t exactly mind blowing, there’s the whole comic relief thing. There are plenty reasons to dismiss it on principle (I mean “Optimus Primal…really?) but the fact of the matter is, you give it a real watch (This is a real chance not 10 minutes, the first few are going to be a challenge) and it’s going to shock you by just how good it is.  Beast Wars was a worthy successor to G1, hell I think it was better than the animated movie. 

    Granted the movie gets pretty hard to sit through after Prime dies, leaving Ultra Magnus and a lobotomized Grimlock to carry the new team of second stringers.

  • Tim Levins

    How did guys with very amateurish drawing skills get jobs working as Hasbro designers?

  • David Fullam

    The horror, the horror…

  • Corbin The Face

    Dinobot. Watch “Code of Hero” and come back here.

  • Docorlando

    Crappy concepts, crappy spelling (Exlplorer!) – I’m glad someone recognized this for the crapfest that it would’ve been. Is that George H. W. Bush’s head on the next-to-last Superman sketch? Because it looks more like the 41st POTUS than it does Nic Cage.

  • Bob

    But is it really any worse than Jim Lee’s nu-Superman designs?

  • DM


  • Matt

    holy crap this article just goes to show how horrible this movie would have been.

  • Thezoostation

    Better voice actors, better story coherency, story arcs that lasted for seasons, better characters in general, better animation, more articulated toys, etc, etc, etc…

  • Matthew Lane

    Theres a reason why we are all pretty much sick of comic tie in super hero movies. This, this is why.

  • Jacob

    The Kryptonian Explorer looks cool.

  • Jacob

    Who is “we”? Most of us are, in fact, not sick of them.

  • Jacob

    Lol. Yes.

  • Jacob

    He was fun in Chuck as well.

  • D.Smithee

    Thank God this never came to fruition.

  • Matthew Lane

    we: we would be the people who are sick of them.

  • Matthew Lane

    What always got me was the entire plan of Lex’s was stupid. Right, so you are going to raise a giant crystal landmass out of the ocean, flooding the earth… Yet this new land mass won’t be able to support life, will not being able to grow anything on it, won’t possess fresh water & you decided you’d just guard the entire land mass with 2 thugs, of which only 1 has a gun. This doens’t look like aj ob for Superman, this looks like a job for your local cops & a speed boat.

  • Jacob

    Phrasing it as “we are all” implies that you think you’re speaking for the majority. You are not. If you were, these movies would fail and they’d stop getting made.

  • Matthew Lane

    I am speaking for the majority. The majority of people who are sick of super hero movies. An very soon these moview will fail & stop being made, especially the DC ones.


    isnt that the new s sheild from supergirl in the dcnu?

  • 0bsessions


    Seriously, two of the top ten grossing films of 2011 were superhero movies, three of the top fifteen and four of the top twenty-five (Of 579 films released so far in 2011, that puts all four superhero movies of 2011 in the top 3% of film releases for the year). Only one of those four films was a sequel and that sequel had minimal marketing and no one expected it to be as good as it was. Of those four films, only one had a fresh rating of less than 75% at Rotten Tomatoes.

    Going forward, IMDb’s top five most anticipated films of 2012:

    5. Star Trek 2
    4. Amazing Spider-Man
    3. The Hobbit
    2. Avengers
    1. Dark Knight Rises

    That places three of the top five most anticipated films of 2012 as superhero films. Other online sources (Such as Fandango) have ASM slipping out of the top five, but I couldn’t find a single list that didn’t have those three films in the top ten for next year. Even Ghost Rider managed to crack a lot of lists. All told, odds are good that one of DKR or Avengers will be the highest grossing film of next year (I see the new Twilight and the Hobbit as the only potentially stiff competition for either of them) with ASM having a legitimate shot at top five based on the performance of the first three.

    To be frank, your argument doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Reviews AND box office performance both indicate that the public and critics are both far from sick of super hero movies.

  • Matthew Lane

    Sure… It totally has nothing to do with the obsessive nature of fanboys & there love of the internet, an there genre of choice.

    I can’t wait for 10 years from now when people look at Vampire movies & Super Hero movies the same way the people of the late 90’s looked at Ninja movies… With a mild sense of revolution. An the comic companies can go back to making comics & stop pretending they can make movies (Yes Jonah Hex & Superman Returns i’m looking at you).

  • Jacob

    A: Superman Returns wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t what people want from a Superman movie. Funny you chose those instead of, say, Steel and Supergirl.
    B: All of Marvel Studios movies have at least been okay, most of them have been great. Maybe not to you, but you’re infected with the troll virus.
    C: Are you saying we’re going to get a whole new wave of Superhero movies in ten years? Hells yea!
    D: Comic fanboys are not nearly a large enough community to influence these numbers to where they are. If it was really our obsession that was driving the success of these movies, none of them would be failures because we would all go and see them, every time. And the industry wouldn’t be failing. >.>

  • 0bsessions

    So, for a sequence of events we have:

    You: Superhero movies are no longer popular.
    Everyone else: Nuh uh.
    You: Yah huh.
    Me: Facts facts facts, you’re wrong.

    Sorry, dude, but ten years from now is irrelevant. You’re claiming you’re speaking for the majority when, in fact, the majority is still eating up super hero flicks like candy. Sure, it’s entirely feasible that super hero films will be old news in a decade, but that is not currently the case.

    “we are all pretty much sick of comic tie in super hero movies.””I am speaking for the majority. The majority of people who are sick of super hero movies.”

    Both factually wrong statements readily disproven with three or four minutes worth of Google search. Box office figures for 2011 show that the general public has clearly not hit the saturation point yet. Additionally, based on reports on anticipation for next year, saturation isn’t going to be happening soon either considering the amount of people pumped for DKR, Avengers and ASM. By the look of it, both Avengers and DKR would have to fantastically bomb with viewers in order for superheroes to face any significant downturn in popularity.

    Also, I find it hilarious that one of your citations as to why superhero movies are bad is something that, despite being based on a comic, hardly qualifies as a superhero film. Jonah Hex is no more of a “superhero” film than Sin City was and barely qualifies any more than Road to Perdition.

    In short: you’re wrong, sorry.

  • 0bsessions

    “Comic fanboys are not nearly a large enough community to influence these numbers to where they are.”

    The highest selling comic of 2011 was JLA #1, coming in at over 200,000 copies in the direct market. Green Lantern, largely considered a dud among superhero films, grossed $116.6 MILLION. Factoring out at an average of about $14 bucks a ticket (Which is on the high end) brings us to the neighborhood of 8,285,714 tickets sold for Green Lantern. Given the 200,000 copies JLA sold (Many of which were quite probably multiple copies bought by collectors), we can draw a line to assume that that’s roughly around the majority of regular comic book readers and “fanboys” meaning the “fanboys” would’ve had to have seen Green Lantern 41 times each in order to hit the ticket sales Green Lantern hit.

    Of note: I’m one of those 200,000 fanboys (Give or take) and I didn’t bother seeing Green Lantern in theaters, so my numbers may be a bit of an undercut considering one of you other fanboys had to make up my 41 viewings.

    To say the fanboy community isn’t large enough community to support these box office grosses isn’t just accurate, it’s an outright understatement.

  • Matthew Lane

    Wow Obsessions, i love how you can talk to me, and i say one thingbut you hear something else completely… You should go into politics.

    The only majority i’m speaking for is the majority who is tired of poorly made knock off super hero movies. It wouldn’t be so bad if a company released wholely new material, but its just knock off stories of all ready existing material.

  • Matthew Lane

    Oh dude, Superman Returns was totally bad. It was a failure across the board, from acting, through scripting. There was nothing redeemable in that movie.