At this point, there’s no doubt that Joss Whedon has done really, really, really well for himself with The Avengers. As of today, opening day, the film has a domestic opening weekend estimate of $172.5 million and an impressive 93% Rotten Tomatoes score, making it a smash hit both critically and commercially. But before he was Team Marvel, Whedon was very nearly a DC man. I’m not just talking about that failed Wonder Woman film — once upon a time, before Christopher Nolan ever got his hands on the franchise, Whedon also pitched a Batman movie that never got off the ground.

Like Nolan’s Batman Begins, Whedon’s version would have focused heavily on the origins of the Caped Crusader. However, Whedon was more interested in following Bruce Wayne’s time as “a morbid, death-obsessed kid.” After the jump, read Whedon’s description of one key scene from his would-be Batman movie, as well as an accounting of just how badly that pitch meeting went.

Whedon spilled the details of his Batman idea in an interview with GQ (via Blastr), and revealed a certain scene that was particularly near and dear to his heart. In it, a pre-teen Bruce intervenes to save a girl who’s being threatened in an alley not unlike the one Bruce’s own parents were killed in, and subsequently has an epiphany:

And he’s like this tiny 12-year-old who’s about to get the shit kicked out of him. And then it cuts to Wayne Manor, and Alfred is running like something terrible has happened, and he finds Bruce, and he’s back from the fight, and he’s completely fine. And Bruce is like, ‘I stopped them. I can stop them.’ That was the moment for me. When he goes ‘Oh, wait a minute; I can actually do something about this.’ The moment he gets that purpose, instead of just sort of being overwhelmed by the grief of his parents’ death.

Unfortunately, Warner Bros. was less than impressed. Actually, that entire day turned out to be a pretty bad one for Whedon:

And the executive was looking at me like I was Agent Smith made of numbers. He wasn’t seeing me at all. And I was driving back to work, and I was like, ‘Why did I do that? Why did I get so invested in that Batman story? How much more evidence do I need that the machine doesn’t care about my vision? And I got back to work and got a phone call that Firefly was cancelled. And I was like, ‘It was a rhetorical question! It was not actually a request! Come on!’

Given how well Whedon’s Avengers and Nolan’s first two Batman films have turned out, I can’t say I exactly regret that Whedon didn’t get the Batman job. On the other hand, who’s better at angsty heroes than Whedon? I would’ve totally seen Whedon’s version of the Batman origin story.

Discuss: Do you wish Whedon had gotten the job, or are you glad Nolan was the one to land it?

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