American actor Val Kilmer on the set of Batman Forever, directed by Joel Schumacher. (Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
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A Batman Forever Deleted Scene Was Perfected By Christopher Nolan In Batman Begins
After Warner Bros. replaced Tim Burton for veering too deeply into a darker version of the hero in “Batman Returns,” Joel Schumacher was brought in as the franchise’s new director. Schumacher reintroduced the hero in “Batman Forever,” a more light-hearted adventure compared to Burton’s vision; however, there’s a much darker 170-minute cut of the film that was never released.
While this Schumacher Cut is well-known among fans, many might not know that Christopher Nolan perfected a scene initially intended for “Batman Forever.” The theatrical release of “Forever” shows Bruce Wayne having brief flashbacks of running from his parents’ wake and falling into the cave, but the longer cut would have seen him returning as an adult to confront his fears.
Michael Keaton, the Batman of Burton’s films, shared that he spoke with Warner Bros. about a “Returns” follow-up being an origin story, but the studio passed on the idea. This origin story approach wouldn’t be utilized until Nolan took the reins in the early 2000s with “Batman Begins,” seeing Bruce Wayne falling into the caves and being attacked by bats as a child, and later returning as an adult.
Nolan found inspiration for “Batman Begins” from other films within and outside the superhero genre, but there’s no indication that Schumacher directly inspired any scenes in “Begins.” With “Begins,” Nolan made fear the central theme, while Schumacher’s alternate cut of “Forever” seemed to focus more on the hero’s guilt and repeating trauma.