14 Batman Movies That Were in Development But Never Saw The Light of Day

In the industry of filmmaking, there are always unused scripts, cancelled projects, unproduced scenes, and half-made films. But when we talk about one of the greatest superheroes of all time and talk about the movies that were almost on the edge of being produced then, we have two conditions in front of us. Either we can get depressed by assuming that if the movies were made, they would’ve been far-far great successes and elevated the level on which Batman is currently standing or we can feel alive because some of the bad works which were also on the line of getting out got banished somehow. So, today we are going to take you on a ride where we will tell you about both great and dumb Batman movies that were almost on the edge of getting out but didn’t for some reason.


Batman Movies That Were in Development But Never Happened

The godfather of Batman films and producer Michael Uslan was once ready to make the character a dark one and came with an idea of sending Batman in the outer space and went to DC with the idea but didn’t get a favorable response in return. But he didn’t let it affect his spirits as he then approached CBS for making an outer space movie about Batman.

The idea wasn’t as impressive as it seems now because at that time it wasn’t a good thing to make characters dark as it seems like it was Uslan’s sole purpose to make a Batman movie despite not caring about the image of the character a lot. But in the end with God’s grace DC didn’t appreciate the idea of sending their character in outer space. But, we’ve seen Batman in galactic wars in recent years and maybe will see again in LEGO Batman 3.


It was Producer William Dozier who had cast West as Bruce Wayne and his alter ego Batman, in the television series Batman. In an issue of Rolling Stone Magazine in June 198, he revealed some entertaining insights about the Batman film and also that he tried his best to get the movie off the floor. The run-down which he told to the magazine is written below.

“Bruce Wayne had basically retired to his ranch from in New Mexico after having cleaned dup Gotham City. Most of the main villains were in madhouse or penitentiaries. So, I invented a new super villain called Sun Yat Mars, who was so heinous he inspired to spring them on one horrible stormy night, making them his minions –Masies. Moreover, he was kidnapping college kids from all over the world, taking them to his Zombie Satellite, which was alien looking, and there they marched like Dacua, filing in long lines into these terrible machines that sucked brains.”

So, whether it was a brilliant idea to stop it or was a bad move to stop this kind of story coming out from the floor is all up to you as we’ve given you the rundown of the movie.


It’s hard to digest but it’s true that Warner Bros. was interested in making Gotham TV Project years before this current speculation and rumors of a show like this coming in. But, it has been in the minds of Warner Bros. for some many years ago and the idea was pitched to Warner Bros. by Tim McCanlies.

The story was all about an 18-year-old Bruce obviously before he was Batman. The spirit of McCanlies was on a high as his script got released as a movie about an Iron Giant. As McCanlies came up with a script to Warner Bros. which wasn’t a story about Batman’s origin and instead of that, it was about the period when Bruce found his parents dead and decided to be Batman.

Despite a little hustle and bustle between the writer and Warner Bros., it was HBO who found the script an interesting piece of work and Warner Bros. also quickly released the potential of the script and decided to make it but it was the appearance of Year One on the slate which resulted in dropping the idea off.


Adam West’s dream of returning on the screen was turning into an obsession but it was the time of the late 80s, the film by Burton was under development and he had to make a little change in track, which results in another beautiful pitch which was also an odd one:

“At another point I went to DC Comics and tried to sell them on the idea of a big Broadway play called A Night in Wane Manor, which could’ve been a musical. But, by then no one would touch Batman. The movie was in the works.”

The music and Batman couldn’t be able to go hand in hand and it was said that the movie was stopped in the production lab. The pitch and title was the reason for not producing this one because it seems like Batman and Gotham both are going to have a limited scope in this one.


Batman Forever wasn’t as bad as some of you might have believed, but one thing is sure that it would’ve been better if Tim Burton still on the director’s seat of a third movie. But the studios made their way for Joel Schumacher who was quite obsessed with felt-tips (luminous ones) and crotch. It was Burton who was the man chosen for a trilogy with an idea of having Billy Dee Williams as a Two-faced villain. But Warner Bros. was interested in making a kid-friendly movie and was left shocked with his growing interest towards a dark storyline. But, it was Burton who selected ‘The Riddler’ as the main villain. It was Keaton who didn’t accept $15 million contracts by Warner Bros. as he didn’t like the vision of Schumacher.


When Michael Uslan was trying to create his Batman, Hollywood wasn’t that much interested, but he came to them again and again and again to cross the boundaries studios are keeping themselves in. He also explained his take on the character as:

“Batman is a pot-bellied funny guy with Powers, Zaps, and Whams. It’s silliness. They couldn’t get it even when I showed them. And those were the only ones. I showed Tim Burton…My biggest fear was that somehow Tim would get hold of the campiest Batman comics and then where would be? It was really about ten years before The Dark Knight Returns- it was that sort of approach to it. And that helped me convince a few people in Hollywood what I was trying to accomplish.”

If we take a look into his background in writing for Batman, it would’ve been amazing to see the storyboards of Uslan’s vision at least.


The person who gave green light to the project handles by Schumacher is the reason for the downfall of Batman in that time and the person was in Warner Bros. as they saw the raw footage of Batman & Robin, and lunacy of Adam West are the things which were the parts of that insane Schumacher movie starring Nic Cage as Scarecrow. But it was Warner Bros. who said Schumacher to make a family friendly movie and don’t make the Scarecrow a dark one.

Despite reports of George Clooney, Alicia Silverstone, and Madonna being attached to the project where Madonna could’ve played the role of Harley Quinn and could’ve battled her way out in order to seek revenge of her father’s death, we couldn’t have this movie because of some ridiculous minds at Warner Bros. in the past.


It would’ve been one of the most creative decisions of Warner Bros. when Batman and Robin were under the production lab and giving Robin a solo movie all of his own. But unfortunately, it ignored the truth that Chris O’Donnell stunted the actor, Marlon Wayans but later it turned out that the character doesn’t have the ability to pull a whole movie alone. But it was later revealed by the actor himself that Batman and Robin was just a bad movie and the producers didn’t find anything motivating enough to go with a Robin movie.

“They were going to do one back in the day. And then Batman & Robin was such a bomb, they were like, Scrap that! That was the end of that.”

But, the damage Schumacher did to the character of Robin was enough and since then no one has tried to reboot the life of a character on the big screen.


It was Joel Schumacher who given the idea of a serious movie about Batman’s origin with the use of Batman: Year One as a helping hand, which was a story written by Frank Miller. It seems possible that maybe after all these years Schumacher will finally get the chance to make a Batman film since that Batman Forever and the chance to wipe off the shame he has for Batman & Robin. Maybe he was not taken into consideration as the film runner, but the modern fans of Batman do owe the great Schumacher idea to concentrate on Year One until the Batman Begins will come out in 2004.


The animated series of this name as mentioned above was a pretty interesting take on television for Batman. It was the year 1999 when Warner Bros. decided to go in its direction and leading the franchise to a whole new direction. For that, they brought creators Paul Dini and Alan Burnet for the script and also hired Boaz Yakin as the director. But, the project fell apart because Yakin was keen to make Batman a Darker and not so much child-friendly guy. As Warner Bros. wanted to make a child-friendly brand of the TV show which keeps their legacy intact and they also don’t want to lose that picture of them.


In the final scene of Batman Returns, there were signs and hopes that we are going to see a lot more of Cat woman in the future but it didn’t happen because of the exclusion of Burton from the seat of Director and also Michael Pfeiffer also admitting later that her priorities have changed with the birth of her first child. Burton also got indulged in whether to make his mind for adapting ‘The Fall of The House of Usher’ and in the end, it was Ashley Judd who replaced the awful Cat woman of 2004 that doesn’t have any significance with Burton’s films.

“Turning it in the day Batman Forever opened may not have been my best logistical move, in that it’s the celebration of the fun-for-the-whole-family Batman. Cat woman is definitely not a fun-for-the-whole-family script.”


This project was somehow related to the success of Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man, as filmmaker Wolfgang Petersen was looking for upcoming actors and was thinking about Johnny Depp and Colin Farrell. But, after some reports, it was suggested that he has shortlisted Josh Hartnett and was contacting Christian Bale for the role of Batman in a Batman vs. Superman movie. But, it was Bale who confronts the fact that he likes the approach of Aronofsky instead of Petersen. Thus, Warner Bros. rejected the project and sent Year One in between the day, but it was Troy who snatched away Petersen from the movie.


The Warner Bros. decided not give Schumacher what he wanted and instead of that, they contacted two rookie writers Stephen Wise and Lee Shapiro for the idea of a new sequel with a special focus on returning the character back to its darker tone.

The basic idea of the whole plot was to show that Batman has left his station as Dark Knight of Gotham city, after knowing the fact that his biggest weapon in front of his enemies has been lost which was his ‘Fear’ among the hearts of his enemies. But, with increasing crime in the Gotham city, people started realizing that they want their Batman back in the city to save themselves from the villains and also save Robin from the hands of villains to restore their faith on Gotham’s protector. But, the idea was dropped again and a great movie didn’t go on the floor as usual.


It was the director of Mad Max movie, George Miller who planned the move to expand the universe of DC with Marvel’s efforts in joining the threads for the Avengers. Sadly, the script got leaked from somewhere and the plot was all about a creation by Batman named as Brother Eye–which was a Skynet-like program which is about keeping an eye on all the superheroes in the world and also having the ability to terminate them as Batman was losing his faith on other superheroes and trying to kill them off.

It was Iris Allen, Superman, Flash, and Wally West who tried their best to prove Batman that if there are bad superheroes in the world then there are also some good ones out there. But not having a superior caste just made them look mediocre in terms of attracting audiences to the theatres. But in January 2008, Warner Bros. announced that the movie is on a hold with an unknown time limit on it and later got developed in one of the most famous cancelled Batman movies.

So, which cancelled Batman movie was your favorite? Tell us in the comments section.

Rishabh Naudiyal

"Writing is one of my strengths and all I can say is that I observe things and try my best in order to convert them into words without the pressure of satisfying people's demands."
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