Original Batman V Superman Movie That Was Cancelled:
The idea of doing a live action Batman V Superman had been played with multiple times before Zack Snyder finally got to implement it. You’d be surprised to know that WB was planning to make BvS happen way back in 2001. Director Akiva Goldsman once worked upon a Batman vs. Superman story but the plan was scrapped. He recently spoke to Collider and told them about his plans for a film involving the 2 DC giants.
Apparently, the two leads of this film would’ve been Colin Farrell & Jude Law playing Batman & Superman respectively. That would’ve been interesting since both these actors were not as established back then. A fun fact to add here, how is it that every great actor who was in contention to play a superhero in their younger days ends up playing a villain later on? Colin Farrell was being considered for Batman, and he is now playing Penguin in The Batman. Jude Law was in contention for Superman, he ended up playing the villain in Captain Marvel.
More examples like this – Jake Gyllenhaal almost ended up replacing Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 2. And we saw him play Mysterio more than a decade later in another Spider-Man 2. Michael Keaton played Batman in 1989 & 1992. We saw him play the villain in Spider-Man: Homecoming. It’s like every hero lives long enough to see themselves play the villain. Anyway, now moving back to the topic.
The initial draft of Batman V Superman (2001) was written by screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker (Se7en), and then Akiva Goldsman stepped in to complete the script of the film. Here are the dark story details of the film he was writing:
“I wrote on […] this version of Batman v Superman [around 2001or 2002]— when Colin Farrell was cast as Batman and Jude Law was cast as Superman and Wolfgang Petersen was directing —we were in prep and it was the darkest thing you’ve ever seen. It started with Alfred’s funeral and Bruce has fallen in love and renounced being Batman, the Joker kills his wife, and then you discover it was all a lie. Just that the love itself was constructed by the Joker to break [Bruce]. It was a time where you would be able to get these sort of stories together in script form but they couldn’t quite land in the world. Somehow, the expectations of the object — whether they be audience or corporate or directorial — it wasn’t landing quite in the way I think we imagined when we put them on the page.”
This version would’ve been quite dark indeed. It would’ve certainly shown us a Batman who had been turned into a killer. It is actually quite similar to how things were in Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Instead of being broken because a lover being taken away from him, Bruce was broken because Joker & Harley Quinn took Robin (Dick Grayson) away from him. He didn’t care if criminals lived or died anymore. In fact he was seen branding them.
While the story would’ve been quite dark in 2001, we’re still against making Batman a killer. He should never be broken enough to become a cold blooded murderer since he isn’t the Punisher. Instead, a story about Batman being conflicted by the urge to kill for vengeance & then stopping himself from doing it by fighting his inner demons is what would feel much stronger. If Snyder wouldn’t have made Batman a murderer and kept everything else as it was in his film, his story could’ve also been much better & even more mature.
But still, not a day goes by when I’m not thinking about how Snyder’s 3 Justice League films could’ve been so awesome. He wanted to do what WB recently did with Justice League Dark: Apokolips War. That movie is so similar to Snyder’s original plans for Justice League 1, 2 & 3. Obviously there are certain differences, but knowing how Snyder was planning for the Justice League to take the fight to Darkseid in Justice League 2 similar to how they did in Justice League Dark, and how in Justice League 3, Earth would’ve been mostly destroyed as Darkseid would’ve taken control over Superman & Cyborg, we can’t just get past the feeling that we’ve been robbed by WB.