Back before Christopher Nolan made Batman relevant again, we almost got a very different adaptation of the Dark Knight. Now, the man who would’ve made it has opened up about what could’ve been.
It’s been well-documented that Warner Bros. was considering just about anything to get Batman back on track after the franchise was basically destroyed by the atrocity that is Batman & Robin. Along the way, they briefly flirted with a live action take on the hit Batman Beyond animated series, and tapped creators Paul Dini and Alan Burnett to write a script. The duo was joined by would-be director Boaz Yakin (Remember the Titans), who has opened up with IGN about how the film might have worked.
Though he admits he cracked under the pressure of potentially making a superhero movie (Yakin bailed, and the project fizzled, leading to Batman Begins), the would-be director says the script was fantastic — and would’ve been along the same lines of Sam Raimi’s seminal Spider-Man debut:
"It was almost like Sam Raimi's Spider-Man but a little bit darker -- a teenage, kind of futuristic, cyberpunk Batman thing. [I] very quickly got the feeling that I would be in the zone, the madness, and I didn't really have the heart for it at the time. I basically bailed after one draft. I just went, 'I can't do this.'
It might have really hurt my career. I went off and wrote the best script I ever wrote that never got made. But it was just one of those moments in time where you think you want to do something, and then you realize you don't really want to do it, and for some reason it's on your IMDb page for the rest of your life. [Laughs]
Batman seems to be popular in any iteration. I think [Batman Beyond] is apart enough from the regular Batman that people are allowed to play in that playground, without sort of f***ing with continuity and all this stuff that people are so concerned with. It's a different look at the character.”
It’s fascinating to look back at what could’ve been. In an alternate universe, are movie fans getting ready for Batman Beyond 4, and a potential crossover with Justice League Beyond? Despite the fact that the franchise has been relegated to a second-tier comic book character, Batman Beyond still (deservedly) has a decent fan base out there.
Who knows? Maybe, some day, Warner Bros. will finally dust it off.