Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda: The DC Films That Almost Come To Be

Alright, for my first post I'm going to be talking about DC Comics movies that were almost made but didn't work out. Let’s start things off with Batman movies that almost came to be. I think its part of the general consensus that the Joel Schumacher Batman films flat out sucked. Personally it's beyond me how he got Warner Brothers to let him make a sequel to Batman Forever (probably because it made over 300 million dollars), but that' s besides the point. During the filming of Batman & Robin WB was impressed with the dailies and they decided to hire Schumacher to return for a third film. So here we go...
Batman Triumphant: This was the name of Schumacher's proposed third film. For some reason Schumacher believed that he owed the fans another "great" Batman film. Problems began right off the bat (no pun intended) during production when writer of the last two films, Akiva Goldsman, turned down the chance to pen the script. So they went on to hire Mark Protosevich, who as far as I know hadn't even written a single script in (I could be wrong though). BAM! BOOM! POW! and a release date was announced for mid-1999, a good three years after Batman & Robin was finished. The movie planned to have Scarecrow as the main villain, who somehow resurrects the Joker through his fear toxin... now I can suspend my belief to believe a lot of stuff in comics, but this just sounds asinine. Harley Quinn was even set to have a role as Joker's Daughters (and hopefully not lover). Anyways, Batman & Robin received poor reviews and earned less than any other Batman film that had been released, so we were spared another 2 hours of Bat-Nipples and Warner Brothers decided to go with a live action Batman Beyond film and an adaption of Frank Miller's Year One story.
Batman: DarKnight: Damn, what a horrible title for a Bat-film. Writers and comic book fans Lee Shapiro and Stephen Wise pitched this film to the studio in mid-1998. The plan was for Bruce Wayne to have given up crime fighting and Dick Grayson was now going to college at the . Again, Scarecrow was planned as the main villain. Dr. Jonathan Crane was to be a professor at as well as the head psychiatrist everyone's favorite nut-house Arkham Asylum, where he tested his fear toxin on the patients (just like Batman Begins). After an argument with his colleague, Dr. Kirk Langstrom, Crane somehow turns him into Man-Bat. Soon everyone in thinks that the attacks of Man-Bat are the return of Batman and for some reason he is SUPER pissed off. Obviously, Bruce decides to get back into the world of crime fighting, considering this is a BATMAN movie after all, so that he can clear his name and find out just what the hell this Man-Bat dude is. Man-Bat wants to get back at Crane for what he did to him, but at the same time he loves his family and wants to be reunited with them so he struggles to find a place between monster and man. At the same time Crane wants to get back at those who forced him out of his positions at both and Arkham Asylum, presumably because of this whole Man-Bat and fear toxin incident. All that is well and good but Warner Brothers passed on the script because they had already been planning on the aforementioned Year One adaption and Batman Beyond films. Personally, I think this was an interesting concept for a comic but it would have never translated well to film.
Batman Beyond: There's really not that much to be said about this film... Paul Dini, who as we all know went on to write Detective Comics, Streets of Gotham, and Gotham City Sirens, and a few other writers were hired to do the script but this film was almost instantly scrapped in favor of the Year One film.
Year One: In 2000 pre-production began on the adaption of Frank Miller's Year One story arc. Warner Brothers wanted to get Scott Rosenberg, writer of the film Con Air, to pen the script but he turned them down. It seemed like any bat-film that tried to follow Batman & Robin was plagued with production problems. Despite serious interest from Joel Schumacher Warner Brothers decided to hire Darren Afronofsky to write AND direct this new film, which probably could have been good. His film Requiem for a Dream was great, but I digress. In a very smart move Afronofsky brought in Frank Miller to collaborate with him on the script. Obviously, the film was a planned reboot of the Batman franchise that was "somewhat based on the comic book" according to Afronofsky. Ironically, Christian Bale was approached to play the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. This probably would have been a great film and it seems like a shame that it wasn’t made, but at the same time I am glad. If this film was made then we would never have had the awesomeness that is Batman Begins and The Dark Knight! At the same time that Year One was being written and worked on J.J. Abrams was working on a script for a Superman film called Superman: Flyby which was already green-lit with McG to direct, I’ll get to that after though. Both Year One and Flyby were scrapped in favor of a Batman vs. Superman movie.

Batman vs. Superman: Out of Superman: Flyby came director Wolfgang Peterson (McG’s replacement), who was now attached to direct Batman vs. Superman. Again, Akiva Goldsmith was hired to write the script. On June 21, 2002 he handed in his first draft of the script. This film also had Bruce Wayne retired from crime fighting, this time for five whole years. Somehow Alfred Pennyworth, Dick Grayson, and Commissioner Gordon were all dead and Bruce is now engaged to someone named Elizabeth Miller. In the meantime, Clark is struggling with his divorce from (she probably caught him banging Lana Lang). It seems that Superman is weak not only against kryptonite and magic, but also women with the initials L.L., but anyways in this film Bruce and Clark are very close friends and Clark was even the best man at Bruce’s upcoming wedding. During their honeymoon the Joker shows up and kills Bruce’s new wife (he can’t catch a break). Bruce wants to get revenge against the Joker and I assume he means kill him, but Superman stops him from doing it. Because of this Batman then blames Superman for the death of his wife and they go at it. I bet the battle would have been epic as all hell with Batman wearing kryptonite rings and all that jazz. Eventually, we find out that Lex Luthor is actually the one behind the whole plot and so Batman and Superman decide to team up and kick his ass. Again, Christian Bale was approached to play Batman which he promptly turned down. Josh Hartnett was approached to play the Man of Steel, but he turned down the role as well.   I can't really see Josh Harnett as Supes but oh well, guess it doesn't really matter. Principle photography was planned to take place in early 2003, I’m not really sure how that was supposed to work, I don’t know if they found replacements for the main roles or what. The plan was to shoot for about six months and set a release date for mid-2004, but then Wolfgang Peterson left the film in order to make the movie . DAMN! This is one film that I would have loved to see, I’m really interested in how Dick, Alfred, and Gordon all died and I always wanted to see a big screen version of Bats vs. Supes. Now, supposedly Peterson and Brian Singer are both interested in making this film in the future with Bale returning as Batman, so anything is possible but I don’t think it will ever happen. At this point Warner Brothers decided to move on with a Batman reboot and so pre-production on Batman Begins began.


I'll continure with Superman tomorrow!

Posted by Nighthunter

Interesting, mostly of the ideas are crappy LMFAO but I like the year one idea

Posted by Theodore

Yeah, they are all pretty bad. It's a shame that the Year One movie didn't work out. I kind of like the plan for Batman Vs. Superman but it probably wouldn't have translated well.

Posted by Zejeck

Im glad none of these made it to the Big Screen. Hollywood needs better writers ASAP, scarecrows toxin revives the really?

Posted by WanderMan

What about the Starman TV show?
I have always thought Starman would have made a great movie series, and I know it came very close to happening.

Posted by bingbangboom

Interesting, the thing is that they have really tried for a long time but WB just can't pull the trigger on some of these movies. Wonder Woman was in development hell, Superman is back there now. People are hoping for a "Justice League" movie but I don't see it happening for a very very long time (10 years +). I could see them doing a 3D animated JL movie and release it in theaters ala the Clone Wars movie they did a few years ago and follow it with a TV show.

Posted by danielddavis

Let's face it, all of those films to be were batman films, and seems to be the only thing Warner Bros/ DC cares about.

Posted by ClayfaceTheTerror

I think the scarecrow's fear toxin was just supposed to make Batman think Joker's still alive, but if they got Jack to play him in the movie it couldn't be all bad :P  I actually kinda like the DarKnight idea. It could make for a good scarecrow and manbat origin. But I agree with you, it probably wouldn't work as a movie, more of a comic idea.

Triumphant sounds alright, but the thing you gotta think about with the Schumacher films is the studio wanted more lighter films cause they thought Batman Returns was too dark. So he tried to do a more campy batman like the 60s series was in a time when fans wanted a darker batman like Batman and Batman Returns.

Posted by DeadlyWolverine

Please, let Singer stay away from superhero movies. Please!

Posted by DeathpooltheT1000

I mean Batman vs Superman sounds bad, i know Bale say no, but to be honest, i mean Batman should be the star of his own films.
I only like the Batman Beyond movie idea.

Edited by batmanboy11

All things considered, its much better that Batman and Robin failed and in the end Batman Begins was made, and then The Dark Knight. And while a closer adaptation of Year One would have been cool, the script (by Miller) was posted online and.... it would have sucked. One example: Batman lived in a garage and instead of Alfred he had little Al and Big Al who were black mechanics who helped him. It was just plain bad.