Visual FX Legend Steve Johnson Talks Tim Burton's SUPERMAN Suit

There has been a lot of criticism of Tim Burton for his version of Superman's suit that has been shown, according to Steve Johnson, who was heading up design of the suit, the photos and videos we have seen aren't even close to what the suit was going to be.

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By Jake "WaylonJones" Lester - 3/13/2012

Steve Johnson sat down with Fearnet to talk about his wonderful 30 year career in the VFX industries. While talking with them he was asked about Tim Burton's Superman Lives project, and more specifically about the suit he was designing for the film. "Don't start with me on that! I've had it with these things on-line saying 'this suit is probably why the movie didn't get made' and blah blah blah. What people don't understand is pretty straight forward," said Johnson. He went on to explain that the suit that people have seen photos and video of was not the actual suit for the film but was a suit they designed to regenerate Superman with the help of an alien. Said Johnson, "It was never meant to be the actual Superman suit. Superman dies, in Tim Burton's version. He's wrapped around by this alien presence which I would assume someone in the comics came up with. It's a living life form on top of him that brings him back to life. So everybody looked at the suit and said "Jesus, Tim's lost his mind! Steve's doing too much blow!" That wasn't what happened! It was never meant to be the Superman suit. It was an alien wrapped around him. Let's put that on the record for once. Colleen Atwood designed all the Superman suits. We had the real one; we had the black one from the ending. But the one people have seen wasn't meant to be the Superman suit, it was an alien that was regenerating him and it was really that simple. I don't know why all the fans were getting so angry about that. If they were real fans, they would know!" Check out the video below to see for your self what all the fuss was about the suit.



Superman Lives was set to star Nicolas Cage as Clark Kent/Superman. The plot would have been centered around The Death of Superman story arc, with Superman dying and being brought back to live. It appears they had three suits designed for the film the red, blue, and yellow one, this regeneration one, and the black one that Supes wears when he comes back to life. Sound off you thoughts in the comment boxes below on how you think the Tim Burton's regeneration story would have translated to the big screen.
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31 Comments
nailbiter111 - 3/13/2012, 1:18 PM
"If they were real fans, they would know!"

Ummm someone tell Steve Johnson he is fooking off his rocker if he wants to sell us on that bull hockey.
OdinsBeard - 3/13/2012, 1:33 PM
"I don't know why all the fans were getting so angry about that. If they were real fans, they would know!"

maybe because that reasoning is more stupid than the actual suit.
angus666 - 3/13/2012, 1:34 PM
@nailbiter111

Yeah I'm a real fan and I would've never guessed that it's some sort of alien. I think this is B.S. The suit they show is the only one they've ever shown. Show us the real one and we'll be convinced.
AlexdoxA - 3/13/2012, 1:36 PM
WELL WHERE IS THE REAL ONE THEN !!?? Pictures?
fedup - 3/13/2012, 1:36 PM
I think what he meant is that people who have followed what went on with that movie would know about it. The suit isn't why the movie didn't get made, Jon Peters and his obsession with giant spiders is.
P862010 - 3/13/2012, 1:40 PM
so wtf is superman venom now lol
blvdnoise - 3/13/2012, 1:41 PM
Hmmm.. Yeah, Warner probably dodged a bullet. BUT.. I can't say I wouldn't have watched this. I mean, I'm just a sucker for super hero flicks!
Toasty - 3/13/2012, 1:42 PM
That suit would be awesome at a party.
cmax - 3/13/2012, 1:45 PM
lol the nick cage mannequin face... so ridic
Sosa4693 - 3/13/2012, 1:48 PM
thank GOD this didnt happen!!!!!
QuietStorm - 3/13/2012, 1:52 PM
@Alexdoxa Exactly, if he's so pissed off about it. Show the real suit!
SUPERSP00NS - 3/13/2012, 1:57 PM
Trash-talk the suit all you want... but if you found that shit in a dumpster, you CAN'T tell me you wouldn't take it home and whip it out every Halloween!! :P
Fogs - 3/13/2012, 2:09 PM
That's really bad.
plasticman - 3/13/2012, 2:12 PM
Well...Steve...I didn't know! And now that I know the concept sounds goofy, so in reality the suit is the reason the movie didn't get made. I now understand the purpose of this odd looking suit and I will no longer think you were snorting coke as you designed it but the concept for the story sounds like a bunch of coke snort in itself.
breakUbatman - 3/13/2012, 2:32 PM
Why do clowns always play the "real fans card". The number of times i've seen that phrase on this site...
MatioShack - 3/13/2012, 2:33 PM
Who cares? Tim Burton isn't doing it anymore (thank God). It's a moot point now, guys. Although I don't think it was cool of Steve to call the fans out. Yeah, nevermind, I'm with you guys. Screw Steve.
RipperSavage - 3/13/2012, 3:04 PM
It was going to be just a big toy promo. Who cares?
AlexDeLarge87 - 3/13/2012, 3:10 PM
I dont know?... I think it would have been cool to see Doomsday on the big screen. Thats probably the only good thing what would have come from this movie.
If they ever were going to put Doomsday in it?... Probably not!
Hell i think Cage would have turn me off anyway as Supes!
Brad Pitt would have been cool pick!
MoodyMonkey - 3/13/2012, 3:20 PM
Love Nic Cage...sometime love Tim Burton...but we really dodged a bullet with this piece of shit. Thank god for Bryan Singer eh? anyone? I'll get my coat...
Rustyham - 3/13/2012, 4:50 PM
I have read the Death of Superman, and he does die and get brought back to life by Kryptonian AI, and reappears in a cybernetic Kryptonian suit, so his design makes sense. that's what he means by "Real Fans," if you are a real fan of the Superman, you'd know the story line that the movie is based on and why there is that costume.
DCnerd46 - 3/13/2012, 5:40 PM
Tim's style fits Batman brilliantly, but Superman... not so much :/
thetrojan - 3/13/2012, 6:18 PM
i dont think the design is the problem,its the actor
i could not have watched nic cage in this role
but i think some of the designs for this would have been cool.
thisguy81 - 3/13/2012, 6:21 PM
Yeah, it's not bullshit at all. Read the script. Eradicator forms himself around Superman to help him regenerate and recover. If you do just a tiny bit of research (see: google it) you can find designs for the real suit, the black suit and the Eradicator/recovery suit. Not that difficult.
xXkryptoniteXx - 3/13/2012, 10:14 PM
Im glad this wasn't made, it had fail written all over it. I have Tim Burton's movies and I like his style but this is not the superman we wanted that is for sure. Also about the villian for the new version, relax man. Synder has some stuff under his sleeve and we can't judge till the movie is out and it's also a nice set up for future villains. Mongul or darkside after but for sure well have lex but he isnt a big deal and I don't mind if his in it, just as long as we have a good movie or even have metallo as his right hand man.
theblackmamba - 3/14/2012, 12:03 AM
Thank god he stuck to Batman and this crap movie never saw the light of day.
113 - 3/14/2012, 2:35 AM
I don't care what suit it was meant to be in the film so glad this movie didn't get made. Would of been a disaster and we'd still be trying to recover from it. Hell if this movie had come out they wouldn't of attempted another Superman movie for 30 years.
HavocPrime - 3/14/2012, 3:24 AM
Whoa, my butt hurt radar just eploded because of this guy.
ComicsNoughSaid - 3/14/2012, 6:42 AM
I gotta say he does have a point. Most of us fanboys are on top specifics and we jumped to conclusions before rationalizing everything. I think he has a point, and if it bothers people, we're human and we all get irritated. Can't blame blame the man for defending his work and speaking his mind.
CPBuff22 - 3/14/2012, 8:37 AM
Is it just me or is that a lot like the Green Lantern suit?
TinyBirdcage - 3/15/2012, 1:01 AM
Nic Cage?! Are you kidding?! No way in hell! I wanna throw up just thinking about. If Cage was a true fan of comics he would refuse the project, and make sure that by all means they should cast someone who would do justice to Superman. Why would he want to see and be the cause for a terrible Superman film. He's crazy. He thinks he can just play any role. Come on! A 50 year old looking Ghost Rider. BORRRING! Tim Burton please stay away from superhero films! Your ideas are terrible! That suit disgusts me!
SpiderFan35 - 3/19/2012, 10:43 AM
Suuure, easy to say now lol.

Regardless of the suit, this movie would have been in the top three of shit CBM's with Nic Cage as Superman anyway.

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