Batman: Joel Schumacher Wanted To Make Akrham Asylum Movie

Instead we got Batman & Robin. Thanks, Joel.

The Riddler Batman Forever
Warner Bros.

In the grand history of Batman films that almost happened, there are a couple of near-misses that sound like they were best left on the development room floor. Adam West wanted to make an outer space Batman movie, for instance. And Darren Aronofsky wanted to strip everything that made Batman out of Year One... They might have been interesting in their own right, but they wouldn't have been true Batman movies.

The same probably goes for the planned movies Joel Schumacher wanted to make. At various points after Batman & Robin completed filming, the director roundly blamed for camping up Tim Burton's movie universe too much wanted to make The Dark Knight Returns, DarKnight (with Man-Bat), Unchained and a Robin spin-off.

Now we know he also wanted to make an Arkham Asylum movie.

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Having recently apologised for the travesty of Batman & Robin, Schumacher spoke to THR to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the disastrous sequel to reveal he had high hopes for an Arkham set sequel. He says he was already setting it up at the end of Batman Forever...

“I always wanted to do a whole Arkham movie, and did a scene at the end of Batman Forever when Jim [Carrey] is in a straitjacket and Nicole [Kidman] comes to see him. And it was just a nod to back to Arkham Asylum which I love, and I thought it would be fun to put the other villains up there.”

Ultimately, that didn't happen, because he chose to go with a different direction for Batman & Robin, and adding Mr Freeze, George Clooney and Alicia Silverstone's Batgirl effectively did him in. And given what we know about Warner Bros' creative control around the franchise at that time, it's probably a good thing we didn't get to see their clipped, toy-friendly version of an Arkham movie.

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It has to happen at some point soon though, surely?

On reflection - and with the benefit of hindsight - it looks like Schumacher's Batman: Triumphant (or Unchained as it is otherwise known in some parts) might actually have been great. So why not this too?

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WhatCulture's former COO, veteran writer and editor.