Image: The Death of Superman Lives/

Superman Lives may have been doomed to movie oblivion years ago, but its one-time-star believes that even then, the movie has one thing going for it that no other Superman movie can have: the absurd power of our collective imagination.

Yup, that’s Nic Cage’s own explanation for how the ill-fated Tim Burton film—which would’ve featured his gloriously shiny, gloriously long-locked take on Superman battling Braniac—manages to trump literally every other cinematic interpretation of the Man of Steel. You’ve seen those movies, their quality thus rendered immutable, as Cage told Entertainment Weekly at the Toronto International Film Festival this weekend. Superman Lives only lives in your miiiiiind, man, and therefore is only constrained by its limits rather than, say, a ‘90s superhero movie’s budget:

I would offer that the movie that Tim and I would have made, in your imagination, is more powerful than any of the Superman movies. I didn’t even have to make the movie and we all know what that movie would have been in your imagination. That is the Superman. That is the movie. Even though you never saw it—it is the Superman.

“Even though you never saw it, it is the Superman” is how I’m going to describe all future Superman-related movie projects going forward.

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Funnily enough, it’s not the first time Cage has actually professed the benefits of just making up your own perfect version of Superman Lives in your head, but it’s the first time he’s used it to put the movie on a pedestal above the other movie men of tomorrow. I guess the power of imagination really is limitless.

[EW]