Earlier today it was leaked (along with major plot points) that there will indeed be a solo Batman movie starring Ben Affleck. With the full Batman vs Superman trailer released, and all the controversy around every decision related to it, let’s look back at the Batman movies that could have been. From the futuristic to the slapstick of the Adam West series, each Batman film idea can come in all shapes, all sizes, all black.
Tim Burton’s Batman Forever
Burton was originally on board to direct the third installment. However Batman Returns, along with traumatizing some Warner Bros’ studio executives, made only half of the first film’s gross. So Burton was relegated to a producing credit and Joel Schumacher was brought on. Burton’s version of Batman Forever would have been drastically different, with both Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer returning, and Robin Williams playing The Riddler. Instead of the third instalment everyone wanted, we got Jim Carrey shouting joygasim.
The Dark Knight Returns
The Frank Miller adaptation that every comic book fan wants to happen nearly did in the late nineties. Strangely it was the idea of franchise killer Joel Schumacher to bring what many people consider Batman’s best comic adventure to the big screen. Typically the studio that thought Batman and Robin was a great idea, passed on the idea, with the reason that it wasn’t marketable. Stars that were rumoured for the role included Clint Eastwood, and a returning Michael Keaton.
Batman: Year One
After his failure to get The Dark Knight Returns made, Joel Schumacher looked backwards to Frank Millers other classic Batman story: Year One. With many script elements that eventually turned up in Batman Begins, Batman: Year One is the story of both Bruce Wayne’s early days as Batman, and Commissioner Gordon’s early exploits at Gotham Police department. This was Schumacher’s last gasp attempt to get another Batman film made. Thank God he failed.
Before Batman and Robin killed the franchise, until Christopher Nolan that is, Warner Brothers were planning a fifth film titled Batman Triumphant. Ironic name aside, the film would see the cast of Batman and Robin return to fight Nicholas Cage’s Scarecrow, and even a return of Jack Nicholson’s Joker (in a dream sequence of course).
The critical and commercial failure of Batman and Robin caused these plans to be abandoned.
Batman Year One (Darren Aronofsky )
“My pitch was Death Wish or The French Connection meets Batman. In Year One, Gordon was kind of like Serpico, and Batman was kind of like Travis Bickle,” These are the words of Darren Aronofsky, as he talked about his version for Batman: Year One. Since Schumacher gave up on his version of the project, Warner Brothers handed over the reins to Aronofsky, who had just made Requiem for a Dream. Working closely with Frank Miller, Aronofsky’s script has some of the most bizarre ideas for the character, one of which is that Bruce Wayne is not left rich by his parents deaths and lives in an auto-repair shop in the middle of Gotham’s worst streets. The studio ultimately passed on the project when they realised that Aronofsky was far crazier that Schumacher.