Joel Schumacher may have a new chance to tell stories with the Dark Knight, according to a rumor recently posted to comics website Bleeding Cool. And its a doozy.
When director Tim Burton and star Michael Keaton left their previous roles in the Batman film franchise behind, it was up to a new director — Joel Schumacher — to pick up the slack. The studio and audiences alike had seemed to agree that 1992’s Batman Returns had gotten too dark, and wanted the next entry in their franchise to be lighter, and slightly more kid-friendly than the last one. The ultimate result was 1995’s Batman Forever, a box office smash that successfully introduced Dick Grayson/Robin into the series , featured an all-star cast including stalwarts like Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carrey, and was an all-out visual spectacle the likes of which the franchise, and perhaps even the character, had never seen before.
Similarly, though, to what went wrong on Batman Returns, Warner Bros. enlisted Schumacher for the sequel, and gave the director carte blanche to do with as he pleased. Anticipating another big blockbuster and wanting to increase merchandising revenue, Kenner Toys even got involved with the design of costumes, props and even the Batmobile. Val Kilmer left the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman very close to the start of production necessitating a recast, and Arnold Schwarzenegger would join the cast along with Uma Thurman and Alicia Silverstone to round out what would become Batman & Robin — perhaps the worst comic book movie ever made.
Before the release of Batman & Robin, Schumacher was already slated to have his third Batman film ready. Entitled Batman Triumphant, it was to feature the Scarecrow, perhaps a return of the Joker in some form, and be an overall darker outing than Batman & Robin. When the ’97 film became what it did, though, production was halted, and the franchise would lay dormant for 8 years until Christopher Nolan would pick it up, dust it off, and reboot it.
Now, though, Bleeding Cool has heard some buzz that Schumacher may have an opportunity to finish his Batman story in comic book form with renowned Batman artist Dustin Nguyen (Detective Comics, Batman: Streets of Gotham). The new series will allegedly combine the plots of three films: Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, and even his ideas for the unproduced Batman Triumphant so that the director can make his final case to Batman fans why he perhaps shouldn’t be as reviled as he is by that group.
As a Batman fan, I find this very interesting. Many fans have long thought that continuing the stories of expired film series in comic book form would be a great, low-risk way of seeing how things could’ve unfolded, and for my money, Schumacher seems genuine in his desire to do right by a fanbase that he genuinely feels he disappointed. If anything, Schumacher may have been the wrong man for the job of directing a Batman movie from the outset, but because he got the chance, why not give him one more to try and pitch us how he would’ve finished his story if he’d had the opportunity? This seems like a really interesting “Elseworlds” path to take, and I hope it pans out.
For more on this as it develops, be sure to keep your eye on GeekNation!
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