Joel Schumacher wanted to make The Dark Knight long before Christopher Nolan

Unflattering reviews aside, “Batman Forever” was the shiniest, silliest, and most importantly for the studio, most lucrative Batman movie that Warner Bros. had wanted. So after its success, the studio moved quickly to bring Schumacher back to direct its sequel: 1997’s now infamous “Batman & Robin.” But before Schumacher served the world his banquet of puns on ice and of Bat credit cards, he intended to make a Batman movie that tied in with Christopher Nolan’s crime thriller about property with 2008’s “The Dark Knight.”

As Schumacher reminded THR in 2015 :

“After the success of ‘Forever’, I wanted to do ‘The Dark Knight’. It was going to be very dark. I remember going to the set of ‘Face/Off’ and asking Nic Cage to play the scarecrow. The studio, and I’m not sure the public, was in a frame of mind to go that dark with Batman at that time. It’s interesting how our culture has changed. How the culture socio-economic and political makes it absolutely enjoyable to see Chris [Nolan]’s Batman – for example, “The Dark Knight Rises”, which is such a commentary on what exactly is happening. You may be able to track this on all movies. Maybe Batman is one of those things like pi. It’s the center of the universe.”

Schumacher could and absolutely did make gripping thrillers as a director (see “Telephone Booth”), and it certainly would have been interesting to see what he had in mind for a darker, more gruesome spin on Batman films. And yet, I can’t help but be glad he didn’t go. Maybe it’s because we’re moving away from Zack Snyder’s grim approach to the character in ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ and ‘Justice League’, but part of me is grateful to have been able to see the ridiculous side of the Caped Crusader on the big screen for a few years.

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