The Darker Knight: Unmade Batman Film Was Too Dark For Warner Bros.


If you thought Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman was dark, get ready for what Frank Miller and Darren Aronofsky had planned for a Batman film.  In a March 18, 2016 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Frank Miller revealed an unmade film about the Dark Knight that only made it to the script stage.

"It was the first time I worked on a Batman project with somebody whose vision of Batman was darker than mine. My Batman was too nice for him. We would argue about it, and I’d say, “Batman wouldn’t do that, he wouldn’t torture anybody,” and so on. We hashed out a screenplay, and we were wonderfully compensated, but then Warner Bros. read it and said, “We don’t want to make this movie.” The executive wanted to do a Batman he could take his kids to. And this wasn’t that. It didn’t have the toys in it. The Batmobile was just a tricked-out car. And Batman turned his back on his fortune to live a street life so he could know what people were going through. He built his own Batcave in an abandoned part of the subway. And he created Batman out of whole cloth to fight crime and a corrupt police force."

Aronofsky darker than Miller?  Wow!  That’s all I can say.  Though this wasn’t made, I’m still glad Miller schooled Aronofsky on who Batman really is.  Look, I’m all for dark and serious, but this is to a point where all semblance of the character you love is gone.  This is also another example of the type of arrogance that exists in Hollywood.  They’ll take a beloved character and try to modernize him or her — stripping out everything that made the character unique and present it as “new and improved.”  At least a studio head stopped this before it got out of hand.

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Batman is a dark character.  I’ll give Aronofsky that.  However, Batman’s imposing presence isn’t just physical — it’s psychological.  Nolan’s take on the Dark Knight was true to the source material in the sense that the criminals of Gotham City were a superstitious bunch.  Batman basically used fear to fight fear.  By adopting the symbol of a bat — something seen as nocturnal and evil — the once timid Bruce Wayne was able to turn the tables on crime.  He never tortured anybody … well … if you count Sal Maroni, played by Eric Roberts in The Dark Knight (2008), being thrown from a building and breaking both his ankles as torture, then sure, yeah.  However, you have to remember that it wasn’t prolonged, and Batman was really desperate in righting Rachel Dawes’s murder.

At the end of the interview, THR suggested that maybe this unmade film could be turned into a graphic novel.  Miller quickly agreed.  So we just might see this story in some form down the road.  Elseworlds, anybody?

Read the rest of THR‘s rare interview with Frank Miller here.  Fans can get their first taste of the new silver screen incarnation of the Dark Knight for the DC Extended Universe when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters this month.

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Official Synopsis: Fearing the actions of a god-like super hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has a United States release date of March 25, 2016.  It will be directed by Zack Snyder, written by Chris Terrio from a story by David Goyer and Zack Snyder, and will star Henry Cavill as Clark Kent / Superman, Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne / Batman, Gal Gadot as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, Tao Okamoto as Mercy Graves, Holly Hunter as Senator Finch, Ray Fisher as Victor Stone / Cyborg, and Callan Mulvey, Scoot McNairy, and Jena Malone in unspecified roles.