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Joel Schumaker proposed an adaptation of Frank Miller’s 1986 comic book “The Dark Knight Returns” not once but twice but was turned down by Warner Brothers both times.
In 1986 Frank Miller wrote the hugely popular the “The Dark Knight Returns” about a long retired Batman who once again returns to fight crime. Along with Miller’s 1987 “Batman: Year One” the comic redefined Batman and began the upsurge of “grim and gritty” super hero comics.
This dark direction for Batman and other comics came to the screen in Tim Burton’s Batman films, Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992) which were followed by Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever which did well enough for a fourth film to be produced.
PROPOSED FOURTH FILM
Schumacher says he was desperate to do “The Dark Knight” as a film but Warner Brothers wasn’t interested. Instead of a future, retired Batman they were more interested in continuing from Batman Forever. leading to the production of Batman & Robin (1997).
PROPOSED FIFTH FILM
When Batman & Robin failed to do as well as Warner Brothers wanted (because the film sucked) they cancelled plans for Schumacher’s third film Batman: Triumphant. Schumacher then again proposed “The Dark Knight.” This time Warner Brothers were interested.
It was agreed to try to get Michael Keaton (who had been Batman in the Burton films) to return to the role, and if that wasn’t possible to try to get Clint Eastwood. David Bowie was suggested as The Joker.
Discussions ended, however, when Warner Brothers decided not to got with a direct adaptation of Miller’s comic, but instead with a new dark script called Batman: The DarKnight.
- Many elements of “The Dark Knight Returns” appear in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and 2016’s Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.
- In 2012, the comic book was adapted into a two part animated movie.