It's quite tempting to forget that before Batman Begins, Joel Schumacher made two Batman films. Otherwise known as the frenzied fever dreams you half-remember having in 1995 and 1997.
Before Christopher Nolan saved the Caped Crusader in 2005, the franchise had been labelled dead in the water. While Batman Forever was a depressing success, making $336 million worldwide, Batman & Robin was ridiculed by critics and made only $238 million internationally.
In-between the two films, Schumacher had plans to shake things up himself. Before Batman & Robin was eviscerated, he'd pitched a darker sequel, with Nicolas Cage on board as the bad guy...
“I was supposed to do a fifth one,” Schumacher told The Playlist. “I was talking to Nic Cage about playing the Scarecrow. I had begged the studio for [the Frank Miller comic] ‘The Dark Knight [Returns],’ but they wanted a family friendly, toyetic thing.”
He had wanted to make Batman: Triumphant which would have seen Cage's Scarecrow using "fear toxins" to force Batman into seeing his former enemies. This would have resulted in the still-under-contract Jack Nicholson returning as the Joker. Ultimately though, the true villain would have been Harley Quinn, who would have been revealed as the Joker's daughter out for revenge.
However, with Warners all sour over the reaction to Batman & Robin, they killed the project and the franchise lay dormant until years later when Nolan would cast Cillian Murphy as the Scarecrow and Heath Ledger as the Joker.
This remains Nicolas Cage's second failed superhero film, with his proposed Superman project also stalling. Don't cry for him though as he has a second Ghost Rider film out soon. Cry for humanity instead.
(Image: All Star)
[via The Playlist]