It’s safe to say that Joel Schumacher forever ruined his legacy with the Batman franchise because of Batman & Robin. However, despite the Bat-nipples and Arnie’s campy Mr. Freeze, it turns out that a third Batman film that Scumacher had planned actually sounded rather incredible.
Joel Schumacher originally took to the Batman franchise with 1995’s Batman Forever, which had Val Kilmer as the titular caped crusader and was an enjoyable, family-friendly take on the character. It was forgettable fun. That all changed with Batman & Robin, which is widely regarded as one of the worst superhero films ever made, and proved to be such a colossal failure that it took Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins to rejuvenate the hero.
Joel Schumacher would have gone some way toward salvaging his reputation if he’d been given the chance to create his third Batman film, though. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Schumacher ambitiously wanted to cast Nicolas Cage as the Scarecrow, the villain who would later be portrayed throughout the Dark Knight saga by Cillian Murphy, in a sequel titled Batman Unchained.
Straight off the bat, that’s a pretty appealing casting choice. A maniacal Nicholas Cage, who in the late 90s would be at the peak of his powers (having recently been presented with the Best Actor Academy Award for his performance in Leaving Las Vegas, before then appearing in The Rock, Face/Off and Bringing Out The Dead), given free reign as a Batman villain would certainly have been intriguing to see. Especially if George Clooney, minus his diabolical cheesy approach, was still Batman.
But that’s not all, because Schumacher also wanted to include a cameo from every single Batman villain from the movie franchise, as well. Yes, that would have included Jack Nicholson’s Joker, while Jim Carrey’s The Riddler, Tommy Lee Jones’ Two-Face, Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman, and Danny DeVito’s Penguin would have also been featured.
Why would this gaggle of villainy have been needed? The report says Schumacher wanted to end the blockbuster with an all-star sequence, which would have featured Batman hallucinating and then facing the demons from his past. Each of these villains would then put Batman on trial. This news also comes just a few days after it was teased that Batman Unchained’s Harley Quinn was almost played by Courtney Love. All of which suggests that Batman Unchained could have possessed a terrific coagulation of iconic villains from the comic’s illustrious past.
Now, of course, it’s all good that Joel Schumacher envisioned this conclusion, but actually getting each of these actors to sign up for the scene would have been a huge stretch.
Anyway, in the end, it was all a pipe dream – because Schumacher’s diabolical Batman & Robin immediately brought an end to these ambitious plans. We’ll get to see the latest incarnation of Harley Quinn and The Joker in Suicide Squad on August 5, 2016, where they’ll be played by Margot Robbie and Jared Leto, respectively. Meanwhile Catwoman, Penguin, Two-Face and The Riddler are each on Gotham too. If you want to see them all in one scene, you’re just going to have to wait for a nifty YouTube editor to slice a clip together.