As unthinkable as it is now, for a long time, Batman almost wasn't a big screen character. In the wake of the super-camp 1960s show and a weird change of tone in the comics that almost saw the Dark Knight cancelled entirely, it never looked like a viable option.
It was only when Michael Uslan took it upon himself to champion Batman as a potential movie star and a nice little earner for Warner Bros that anything started to happen. In those early days of the 1980s, after two decades in the wilderness, the ideas weren't always great.
The first Batman movie we almost got was Batman In Space and the projects Adam West pitched feel more like cries for help than genuine movie ideas. But when Uslan came on board, he knew what Batman should and could be and he championed what would ultimately become Batman, kicking off a love affair with the character that has survived multiple dark days and slumps.
And as much as those early, sillier projects might have worked against the Batman era, there have been some pitches over the years for similarly unrealised projects that could have been genuinely great. Look a little deeper at the ideas, pitches and greenlit-but-cancelled Dark Knight movies and there's a picture of brilliance that could have been.
Some of the greatest working actors could have taken on Batman over the years, and the story of these near misses and missed opportunities goes right back to before Tim Burton's 1989 project got off the ground...