Batman v Superman Almost Happened More Than A Decade Earlier


Just  in case you’re getting impatient waiting for next spring to get here so you can watch DC’s two biggest icons collide in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, here’s some food for thought: we almost got to see Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent face off a decade ago.

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Over on The Hollywood Reporter, Aaron Couch has an outstanding examination of Batman movies that were planned but never made. These include another Joel Schumacher flick called Batman Unchained, a movie take on Batman: Year One with a screenplay by Frank Miller and even a live action Batman Beyond. All of these possibilities are intriguing (yes, even the Schumacher continuation), but the earlier version of Batman Vs. Superman really stands out.

Written by Andrew Kevin Walker, who also did the script for Se7en, Warner Bros. was considering having Oscar-nominated director Wolfgang Petersen at the helm after bringing in Akiva Goldsman for a rewrite. It’s hard not to imagine it would have done well, especially with the tidbits we get from the script. Batman has retired only and has finally found love, only to see his new bride killed on their honeymoon with The Joker as the prime suspect.

Superman, meanwhile, has split with Lois Lane and has returned to Smallville to see if Lana Lang wants to reconnect. The problem is, Lex Luthor and The Joker are working together to pull the strings on both heroes, leading to an inevitable clash.

"During the course of the film, a grief-stricken Batman and his friend Superman have a massive battle, with Luthor having helped pit them against each other. Batman (suited up in kryptonite-laced armor) and Superman duke it out and they fight to a massive, bloody stalemate.The friends reconcile in time to take on The Joker and Luthor. When Bruce wants to murder The Joker, Clark gives Bruce his consent to kill the villain, with the stipulation that he must take off his mask off.“Don’t hide behind it. Don’t pretend there’s some other part of you doing this,” Clark says. “This is your right, as a human being. Your retribution. So do this as the man who’s going to live with it for the rest of his life. Take off the mask.”"

You can read Couch’s whole article if you want to know how the proposed film would have ended. Suffice it to say that while Batman Vs. Superman would have ventured off on its own, it certainly sounds like a work that would have been faithful to the core tenets of two very different but equally beloved super heroes. And as fans, it’s hard for us to ask for more than that.

Could that movie have catapulted Warner Bros. past Marvel for the lead in the super hero movie race? It’s impossible to say, of course, but it’s fairly safe to speculate that the company would have struck gold, especially if it had a good cast attached. It would have been risky, since nothing like it had ever been attempted — there were no shared super hero movie universes back in 2002 — but if it had worked, DC would have been in an incredible position to build from there.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice looks like it will have an excellent chance to accomplish the same thing, but when you watch it, just keep in mind that it almost happened much earlier, and how different the super hero movie landscape might look now if it had.

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