The Batman, directed by Matt Reeves, gives audiences a new, live-action take on the character. While the next film starring Robert Pattinson is the 13th live-action Batman, many potential Batman movies have been considered and scrapped over the years.

Related: 10 Mind-Bending Differences Between The Batman ’89 Script And The Movie

Among that list are a series of intriguing possibilities that have Batman fans wondering what could have happened if Warner Bros. had advanced on one of these ideas. From more of Tim Burton on the character to a potential movie based on Justice League, these Batman projects could have been interesting, if they had ever existed.

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by Tim Burton batman 3


Batman threatening the abuser - Tim Burton's Batman '89

Tim Burton had critical success with his 1992 film Return of Batman, but because the film did not make as much money at the box office as its predecessor, the studio blamed the failure on the film’s darkness. This dark nature had also caused companies, particularly McDonald’s, to withdraw from merchandising related to the film. The resulting follow-up was that of Joel Schumacher batman forever.

Reportedly, Burton’s third film would have seen the return of Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman, the introduction of Robin – who will be played by actor Marlon Wayans – and the transformation of Harvey Dent into Two-Face (ScreenRant). Although it never was, Michael Keaton’s return to the shine film will probably act as a sort of batman 3 character tracking.


catwoman With Michelle Pfeiffer


Michelle Pfieffer in Batman Returns

Once Warner Bros. decided to go in a more family-oriented direction with the Batman franchise, this meant Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman wouldn’t have a movie to star in, leading to the development of a spin-off starring the character (Variety).

Pfeiffer’s version of Catwoman had some great quotes and was a big-screen icon. A successful iteration of her solo film would not only have marked the second female superhero film of all time (after super girl) but also could have helped keep the Burton franchise alive in some form after Schumacher got away from it so far. Instead, what ultimately resulted was the critical 2004 catwoman.


unleashed batman


Batman & Robin: The Bat Family

Anticipating wide success with Joel Schumacher batman and robin, Warner Bros. has begun discussions for a fifth film, unleashed batman (Variety). It would have introduced the Scarecrow and Harley Quinn from the villains, the latter would have been the Joker’s daughter, apparently bringing Schumacher’s films closer to Burton’s (IGN).

Although a Schumacher sequel to one of the worst superhero movies of all time might not seem like the most promising proposition, Schumacher later claimed he wanted to go darker in this film. (Hollywood Journalist), a sentiment supported by the plot shots.


Batman: Dark Knight


George Clooney smiles as Bruce Wayne in Batman and Robin

Another proposed sequel to batman and robin it would have acted as a soft reboot of the franchise while building on what Schumacher had established, Batman: Dark Knight would have seen Batman retire and Dick Grayson go off to college until the dual threat of Scarecrow and Man-Bat forced them back into the world of crime-fighting (batman-on-film.com).

The film was also intended to have a darker tone, as the studio and writers acknowledged that the campy tone of Schumacher’s previous films was ultimately responsible for turning audiences away from the franchise in the first place. However, Warner Bros. would eventually pass it on in favor of a true franchise reboot.


robin Spin off


Chris O'Donnell as Robin in Batman Begins.

Since his comic book debut, Robin has been the most iconic superhero sidekick of all time. He eventually made it past Batman, leading the Teen Titans and, for Dick Grayson and Jason Todd, adopting entirely new superhero identities: Nightwing and Red Hood, respectively.

Related: 10 Biggest Differences Between Robin In The Movies & Comics

So it’s no surprise that, according to Chris O’Donnell, a spin-off film starring his character from the Schumacher films has been considered by Warner Bros. (accessonline.com). In the end, however, the disappointment of batman and robin would lead to the studio canceling the franchise, including all spin-off ideas.

batman beyond live action


Terry in his Batsuit rushes forward in Batman Beyond promo art

batman beyond is an animated sequel to the critically acclaimed television series Batman: The Animated Series, itself a product of the Burton-era Batman films. Beyond follows a young man taking on the mantle of Batman from a retired Bruce Wayne after he stumbles upon his secret identity.

Related: 9 Quotes That Prove Batman Beyond Is The Best DCAU Hero

On the writing team for the live-action adaptation was Paul Dini, producer of the two batman beyond and its previous series. Clint Eastwood was even considered for Batman (Comic Resources). Warner Bros. eventually dropped out due to their pre-Black Knight discomfort with dark Batman films.

Batman: Year One By Darren Aranofsky


Batman Leaps Forward Year One Cover Art

One of many proposed Batman franchise reboots after batman and robin critical and financial flop, Batman: Year One reportedly adapted the comic book script of the same name written by Frank Miller (Variety), which would also influence the Black Knight trilogy.

Darren Aranofsky was best known at the time for his mind-bending thrillers, mostly from the 2000s. Requiem for a dream. A Batman movie in the style of a psychological thriller would not only have been innovative, but seems to be exactly where Matt Reeves’ version is going to take the character in his next film.

batman versus superman (Not this one)


batman v superman

Another of several pre-batman begins reboot proposals, this script featured an older Batman about to marry the woman of his dreams, while Superman divorced Lois Lane. The dark forces push the two heroes to fight but ultimately to reunite. The script was submitted in 2002, with plans to feature Joker as the villain (Comic Resources).

Although unrelated to Zack Snyder’s 2016 film, that film’s co-writer David S. Goyer reportedly said in 2002 that a Batman vs. Superman movie was “an admission that [the Batman] the franchise is at its wit’s end.”BleedingCool) Maybe time really changes minds?

Justice League: Deadly


Justice-League-Mortal-Documentary
Photo credit: Bosslogic/Ryan Unicomb

In the middle of Nolan’s trilogy, Warner Bros. was developing a completely separate proposal for a Justice League film to be directed by madmax designer George Miller. It would have played Armie Hammer as a young Bruce Wayne and had Maxwell Lord as the villain.

Warner Bros. dropped the project after the massive success of Nolan’s The black Knight, emphasizing the finishing of this trilogy. Not only is Justice League: Deadly an intriguing premise for a new Batman, but it’s also intriguing as a future DC Extended Universe that could have started in 2009 when this movie was supposed to be released (Comic Resources).

The black Knight Sequel with the Riddler


The Dark Knight Christain Bale slips with his cape.

Looking at the success of The black Knight and how much attention has been paid to Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning portrayal of the Joker, combined with Nolan’s very recent success with Creation, the studio suggested having the Black Knight sequel features a Riddler played by Leonardo DiCaprio (ScreenRant), a villain that fans would have loved to see on the show.

Nolan avoided that suggestion and, of course, chose Bane and Talia al Ghul as the film’s antagonists instead, but given both DiCaprio’s acting prowess and talent behind the camera, this is a case where the fans will wonder “what if the studio’s suggestion had been followed?

by Ben Affleck The Batman


Affleck’s initial casting as Batman drew criticism from fans early on, but his Caped Crusader ended up being one of the most praised aspects of a critically-divided film (ScreenRant). What made Affleck’s anticipated film unique was that he was going to have his hand in everything: directing, writing, and starring. Affleck’s version would have come closest to a truly singular take on the character in cinematic form.

In the years following his batman versus superman debut, Affleck slowly withdrew more and more from the project until he became Matt Reeves’ version, unrelated to the DCEU. One can only hope that the final appearance of Affleck’s version in the flash will tie the story of his character well.


NEXT: 10 Things You Still Don’t Know About The Dark Knight Rises

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