original batman vs. superman movie

There are dozens of Hollywood projects that never happened, but few are spoken of so wistfully as the superhero movies that were scrapped. From the Nicolas Cage-starring Superman Lives to Guillermo del Toro’s Justice League Dark, there have been articles and even documentaries covering them.

Longtime screenwriter, producer, and director Akiva Goldsman is shedding some light on one of those scrapped superhero projects — the original Batman vs. Superman movie from the early 2000s that was set to be directed by Wolfgang Petersen and star Colin Farrell as Batman and Jude Law as Superman. But alas, it was not meant to be, and the project was canceled. However, Goldsman recently revealed what could have been with the scrapped superhero movie, calling it “the darkest thing you’ve ever seen.”

In an interview with Collider, Goldsman revealed details about Warner Bros.’ scrapped Batman vs. Superman movie, for which he worked on the script after screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker (Se7en) wrote the initial draft for the first live-action feature film that would have pitted the World’s Finest against each other:

“I wrote on […] this version of Batman v Superman [around 2001or 2002]— when Colin Farrell was cast as Batman and Jude Law was cast as Superman and Wolfgang Petersen was directing —we were in prep and it was the darkest thing you’ve ever seen. It started with Alfred’s funeral and Bruce has fallen in love and renounced being Batman, the Joker kills his wife, and then you discover it was all a lie. Just that the love itself was constructed by the Joker to break [Bruce]. It was a time where you would be able to get these sort of stories together in script form but they couldn’t quite land in the world. Somehow, the expectations of the object — whether they be audience or corporate or directorial — it wasn’t landing quite in the way I think we imagined when we put them on the page.”

Speaking of the World’s Finest, Goldsman compared his take on Batman vs. Superman to the Golden Age comics run of that name, adding, “It was really The World’s Finest, in a kind of dark and interesting way. I think it could have been lovely. On the other hand, none of me is sad that Nic Cage’s Superman didn’t get made. So, I guess in that whole period of time, there were wins to be had and losses to be avoided.”

While Goldsman has been hit or miss through the years (he’s written some truly horrendous scripts in recent years, including The Dark Tower and Transformers: The Last Knight), it does make you wonder what his Batman vs. Superman would have looked like. But to imagine a Batman laid low by so many deaths (Alfred and a wife?) just seems like overkill, pun intended. To come off of Batman & Robin to that would have given us whiplash as violent as his script appears to be.

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