Remember When Chicago Was This Fictional City?


No matter how you put it, Chicago is beautiful inside and out. Tourists of the world come to relish on top-class landmarks and attractions — they go to the SkyDeck to stand some 1,350 feet over the Windy City, they visit the Art Institute of Chicago to awe at some of pop culture’s most famous art pieces.

Movie buffs visit Chicago to experience the filming locations of some of the greatest blockbusters ever made. From Cooley High to Transformers, there are more than 40 movies that were set in or featured Chicago.

But did you know that Chicago occasionally became other epic cities? From Superman’s Metropolis to a dystopian version of itself, check out the times Chicago was somewhere else.

The Chicago Bean
Photo credit: rlobes via Pixabay

1. Metropolis

In the graphic novel community, there’s an on-going debate to figure out if Metropolis is the fictional analog of New York City or Chicago. Joe Shuster, one of the original creators of the Man of Steel, hinted that the Metropolis skyline is inspired by his hometown: Toronto.

However, on the big screens, Metropolis is definitely Chicago. The 90s ‘Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman’ featured many Chicago landmarks. In 2013, the ‘Man of Steel’ started shooting in West Chicago — which will make you wonder why Hollywood seems fixated on destroying Chicago.

Next time you step into Chi-town, go to Chicago’s Union Station and remember how Superman came crashing through. Also, visit the John Hancock Center, the Tribune Tower and the Wrigley Building, and hope to see him fly by.

Chicago Skyline from the Michigan Lake
Photo credit: rlobes via Pixabay

2. Gotham City

Batman and Chicago are forever linked thanks to the publicly acclaimed “Dark Knight” trilogy and the upcoming “Batman Vs. Superman” flick. Chicago served as Gotham in the two first installments of the series, and featured in the last.

The fact that Chicago was Gotham City on the big screens is a big deal for all fans of the Caped Crusader, in that Batman’s city is more than just a location — it’s a character in itself. The city comes alive through its history and its tragedies; the gruesome murder of the Waynes being just one of these.

Interestingly, the ‘Gotham’ television series is being filmed in New York City, which makes sense, considering that ‘Gotham’ is a nickname for the Big Apple and that NYC has been an inspiration for the design of Gotham.

Chicago by Night
Photo credit: rlobes via Pixabay

3. Post-Apocalyptic Chicago

Does it count as ‘somewhere else’ if Chicago is cast as a dystopian post-apocalyptic version of itself? Well, in the 2014 version of Divergent, the novel by Veronica Roth, Chicago is home to a divided, fiction-based society striving for survival.

To relive the scenes for this first installment of the Divergent series, movie buffs should wander downtown Chicago. Be sure to stop at the 17th Church of Christ, the Pioneer Court, before heading off to the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel.

Chicago Navy Pier
Photo credit: uroburos via Pixabay

4. Somewhere on future Earth

Sci-Fi fans are keeping an eye on Jupiter Rising. This upcoming Wachowskis’ film is set in a universe described as a cross between Star Wars and the Matrix. It is unclear whether the plot is set in a futuristic Chicago, or if the Windy City is cast as some random Earth location. If you know more, please share with us in the comment box below.

However, it is said that downtown Chicago was the filming location for an eight-minute long chase sequence, to be one of the highlights of the movie. It involves difficult stunts that took forever to film — enough to deserve a code name: ‘Fifty-Two Part’.

Be on the lookout for its release sometime in 2015 to see which of Chicago’s landmarks you will be able to recognize.

Chicago Downtown
Photo credit: uroburos via Pixabay

Can you think of another time where Chicago posed as a fictional city or as a paralell universe? Let us know in the comments below.