A 170-minute darker version of Batman Forever exists and you have to see it

Photo: Batman Forever.. Image Courtesy Warner Bros. / DC Universe
Photo: Batman Forever.. Image Courtesy Warner Bros. / DC Universe /

Rumor has it that a 170-minute version of Joel Schumacher’s 1995 film Batman Forever exists, and fans deserve to see it.

Batman Forever hit theaters all the way back in 1995. The film’s release marked a change of direction for the original Batman franchise, which had shifted away from Tim Burton’s darker vision following the parental outrage from 1992’s genuinely brilliant Batman Returns.

Directed by Joel Schumacher, Forever proved to be a box-office smash but it received something of a divisive response from fans. While many praised the performances of Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Jim Carrey as Edward Nygma/The Riddler and genuinely enjoyed the movie, others were critical of its loud and boisterous appearance, taking issue with the fact that Burton’s hellscape was replaced with neon lights.

It’s long been theorized that there may have been a longer, darker, uncut edition of the film out there and now, according to a new rumor, it seems that might indeed be the case.

Writer and producer Marc Bernardin recently spoke on Fatman Beyond, revealing that a three-hour director’s cut of Batman Forever does indeed exist. He commented:

"I have it on pretty good authority that there exists in the Warner Bros. vault a 170-minute cut of Batman Forever… I think that it went much deeper into his childhood psychosis and his mental blocks and that it was a more serious, darker version of that movie that was one of the first assemblies that Joel filed with the studio and they eventually cut it down because they were like ‘it’s too dark for kids. We gotta sell these Happy Meals, so maybe let’s not invest ourselves in the trauma of childhood murder. We’ve got Jim Carrey, let him do some s–t.”"

Release the Schumacher cut of Batman Forever

The notion of a grittier iteration of Batman Forever was always an exciting idea because, in spite of its pantomime-like surface, the storylines were pretty serious and compelling – one of the many reasons why reviled sequel Batman & Robin missed the mark. Seeing the film in its original glory is something that would have made fans happy and probably even garnered the film a few new fans in the process.

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However, given the recent passing of the legendary director, it would be an incredible tribute to his amazing career if Warner Bros. finally released the Schumacher cut of Batman Forever. Schumacher received a lot of unwarranted criticism for that film when his original vision was seemingly a lot darker, so it would make sense for Warner to release it so that fans could see what the original film looked like.

Given the fact that the fan campaign to get Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League released has resulted in the unveiling of that film on HBO Max next year, it goes without saying that the Schumacher cut of Batman Forever is long overdue.

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Would you like to see Joel Schumacher’s 170-minute cut of Batman Forever get released? Let us know in the comments below!