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What if Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy was never made? We thankfully don't have to live in that reality, but there were certainly other filmmakers who might have helmed 2005's reintroduction to Batman. Star Trek: Discovery showrunner Alex Kurtzman was in the running back in the day, with his former partner Roberto Orci. And you guessed it, it did not end well for them. Here's what he said:
We went in for Batman before Christopher Nolan, not realizing that they wanted to shift to that [darker] tone. Halfway through the meeting, after three or four weeks of planning, the executive stopped us: 'Did nobody tell you that we're not going in that direction at all?' We just said, 'Thank you for your time. We should probably stop here.'
Yikes, sounds like it was quite the awkward meeting. In a recent THR interview with Alex Kurtzman, the writer/producer shared the story when he was asked about his worst experience pitching, so it's nice to know it doesn't get more cringe-y then this.
When Warner Bros. was looking to bring Batman to the big screen at the time, it was following the flick starring the masked hero everyone loves to hate, 1997's Batman & Robin. You know the super campy one starring George Clooney, Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze and Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy?
Batman & Robin was certainly the most kid-friendly flick about the superhero, but it was also the least successful critically and money-wise. So when Warner Bros. was looking to give the hero another shot at a hit, it makes sense that Christopher Nolan's dark, gritty take on the Caped Crusader was just what they were looking for.
So when Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci pitched something else, probably more along the lines of a fun-filled action movie starring Batman, it wasn't going to cut it. The pair went on to work on the scripts for The Island, Mission: Impossible III, Transformers and 2009's Star Trek, so I'd say they got their share of working on a successful series or two.
While Batman wasn't in the cards for them, they did work on a superhero movie after all -- The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Considering the film starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone ended up cutting the Sony franchise short, it's unclear if a Batman movie written by them would have fared better.
Who knows? They might have had a really good pitch for Batman. All we know is Warner Bros. wanted the hero to be darker and that's not what Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci were thinking up at the time.