When Christopher Nolan opted to prominently feature The Scarecrow in his Caped Crusader reboot, Batman Begins, fans were scratching their heads wondering why the storyteller didn’t go with a more recognizable foe from the hero’s canon, be it The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler or Catwoman. We now know that Nolan would use some of those antagonists in subsequent films, but it’s possible that the idea to showcase Scarecrow already was in Warner Brothers’ collective mind, and Nolan simply figured out how best to do it.

That’s because director Joel Schumacher, coming off of his second Batman film in 1997, was circling around the character as a potential villain for Batman Triumphant, based off of a script by Mark Protosevich (Poseidon, I Am Legend). And The Playlist quotes the director as saying he wanted none other than Nic Cage for the role.

“I was supposed to do a fifth one,” Schumacher tells the site. “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.”

And that’s what Schumacher delivered for them in Batman & Robin, which featured ice-skating thugs, neon motorcycles, and a cliché-spouting Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze. It was a cinematic abortion, and it quickly stopped the Batman franchise in its tracks. Cage and Schumacher eventually collaborated on 8MM, which the director admits to Playlist was “the furthest thing from a summer movie," and Cage was finally able to scratch his superhero itch by starring in Ghost Rider and its upcoming sequel. But the world was robbed of Cage hamming it up in a Schumacher-directed Batman movie, and if you go back and see how “BIG” such actors as Schwarzenegger, Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones were encouraged to go, you can only imagine how much scenery would have been devoured in Triumphant.

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