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Batman Unchained[1] is the name of a cancelled sequel to the 1997 film Batman & Robin which was planned for a release in mid-1999. The script for the film was written by Mark Protosevich, and was never known to have any other title. Joel Schumacher would return as director. Unfortunately, the film was cancelled after Schumacher and the studio agreed that the finale of the film would be far too costly to shoot, although he liked the story. Schumacher also decided to stop production on the film since Batman & Robin failed to outgross the preceding Batman films (Batman, Batman Returns and Batman Forever) and in response to the backlash the film received when it was theatrically released. The cancellation led to a second sequel pitch entitled Batman: DarKnight.

Plot

Sometime after the events of Batman & Robin, Batman, Robin and Batgirl find out about a crazy scientist named Jonathan Crane, also known as "The Scarecrow". Flashbacks from the first three Batman films were to be shown in a dream sequence. Batman would also have hallucinations after being exposed to Scarecrow's fear toxins, in which he would see the Joker, The Penguin, Catwoman, Two-Face and The Riddler re-unite to judge him on trial. Harley Quinn was also intended to appear in the movie as a character, namely a toymaker and daughter of the Joker determined to get revenge on Batman for the death of her father.

Cast

  • George Clooney as Bruce Wayne/Batman (refused to return)
    • Kurt Russell as Bruce Wayne/Batman (possible replacement for Clooney)
  • Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson/Robin
  • Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl/Barbara Wilson (was going to return, but went back to college)
  • Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth
  • Various actors were chosen for the role of Dr. Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow including:
    • Nicolas Cage (main choice)
    • Jeff Goldblum
    • Christopher Lloyd
    • Steve Buscemi
  • Courtney Love as Harley Quinn (not hired for the role)
  • Pat Hingle as Commissioner Gordon (expected to return)
  • Jack Nicholson as the Joker, Danny DeVito as The Penguin, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face and Jim Carrey as The Riddler (all would appear in Batman's mind after exposure to The Scarecrow's fear toxins)

Why It Was Cancelled

  1. Batman & Robin failed to outgross its predecessors (previously mentioned).
  2. George Clooney admitted that he hated playing Batman and refused to reprise his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman.
  3. Despite interest in making the film, Joel Schumacher didn't want to make Batman fans mad again following the backlash of Batman & Robin.
  4. The entire story hinging on the hallucination in the finale would have been too costly due to all the starpower (mentioned earlier).
  5. Warner Brothers decided to put all future live-action Batman films on hold until further notice and focus on making more animated direct-to-video and DVD Batman films as well as the 2001 series Justice League, which featured Batman as one of the major characters in the series.
  6. The final draft of the script wasn't complete.

Results

  • Batman Unchained was permanently cancelled.
  • In 2005, Batman came back to the big screen with Batman Begins and featured some elements that were to be shown in the cancelled sequel.
  • Similar elements from the cancelled film were also featured in the 2015 game Batman: Arkham Knight.
  • Batman & Robin is a stand-alone film.

Trivia

  • Some websites incorrectly refer to this film as Batman Triumphant (mentioned in external link to Batman Wikia).
  • After Clooney disowned playing Batman, rumor has it that Joel Schumacher handed the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman to Kurt Russell[2]
  • Another rumor is that Madonna was another possible casting choice for Harley Quinn.
  • In response to how comedic and child-friendly Batman & Robin was, Joel Schumacher wanted to make the film darker like the Tim Burton films and decided to make the film's storyline ignore the events of Batman & Robin after he disappointed many fans of the earlier Batman films.
  • The film was supposed to be released to celebrate Batman's 60th anniversary.
  • In the script, Robin was supposed to ditch Batman for disagreements, but then return to save his friend from the Scarecrow near the end.
  • This was supposed to be the final Batman film of the 1990s.
  • Akiva Goldsman, who wrote Batman Forever and Batman & Robin was hired to write the script for Batman Unchained, but turned down the offer to write the script.
  • Despite Nicolas Cage being the main choice to play The Scarecrow, the other actors that were offered the role were Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Goldblum and Steve Buscemi.
  • Batgirl was supposedly written out of the first draft of the original story.

References

  1. THR Heat Vision - Before 'Batman Begins': Secret History of the Movies That Almost Got Made
  2. "Batman Triumphant" - What could have been if Schumacher had continued...

External links