'Batman v Superman' Means You're Out Of Ideas, Said Its Writer Years Earlier
Take a look back at news coverage of Batman from 2005, shortly before Batman Begins came out. It's illuminating. Some parts seem very familiar, like the recap of how Batman & Robin shut the franchise down. Some parts seem hilarious looking back, like the description of Christopher Nolan as a young unproven director, who put together a "45-minute, point-by-point pitch" to win the honor of helming a superhero reboot.
You'll read about the previous years' failed attempts at D.C. movies, including a J.J. Abrams Superman script and Clint Eastwood as a possible aging Bruce Wayne. There was the Nic Cage Superman movie that we've talked a lot about, and there was the Darren Aranofsky Batman pitch, which was too good for any studio to approve. And then there was the idea to release a Superman versus Batman movie in 2004.
It was a great idea, said production head Lorenzo di Bonaventura. But when he put it to a vote, every other exec disagreed. The L.A. Times talked to a cowriter of the upcoming Batman Begins, David Goyer, who explained, "Batman Vs. Superman is where you go when you admit to yourself that you’ve exhausted all possibilities. It’s like Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man or Freddy vs. Jason. It’s somewhat of an admission that this franchise is on its last gasp." Goyer would go on to be the primary screenwriter for 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Does that make him a hypocrite? No (the quote's still funny, though). By 2016, we'd all learned a lot about superhero crossovers and the sort of movies audiences pay to see. And despite all its other faults, no one says Batman v Superman was short on ideas.
Even at the time, Warner Bros. didn't think that "Batman Vs. Superman" was a bad idea, just that they should first develop the characters independently. So they greenlit separate Batman and Superman movies, while never marketing them as sharing a universe. These two incarnations of the characters would in fact never end up sharing a crossover movie, but in the meantime, Warner Bros. put out one movie that everyone could agree was a good choice: 2004's Catwoman.
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Top image: Warner Bros.