There’s one story that ruins Batman Triumphant – or Batman Unchained as it was apparently to be called – forever, and it’s all down to stupidity. Somehow, representatives of Warner Bros studios saw the dailies for techno-coloured travesty Batman & Robin and decided on the spot that a follow-up should be green-lit as a matter of urgency. With the benefit of hindsight, that looks like the decision of someone who probably inhaled too many solvents as a child. After all, how could anyone look at Bat Nipples and hideous ice puns and consider it an indication of brand longevity?
Ultimately of course, those studio execs were proved entirely too optimistic and the film was comically torn apart by critics, leaving the plans for a sequel in tatters and Joel Schumacher’s reputation irrevocably stained. And Batman Triumphant became an anecdotal punch-line.
But what if it was going to be great? What if Schumacher had learned from his mistakes, and was planning a curve-ball that would have meant there would be no need to revamp and reboot the franchise under Chris Nolan? That particular What If isn’t as far-fetched as you might think.
As if it were any indication of quality, Triumphant was planned to be exceptionally expensive, suggesting grander scale, and greater effects (not exactly hard with its predecessors as the bench-mark). Perhaps that’s a little too optimistic, given that Batman & Robin felt like a gallery of pay-check cameos, but everything that is revealed about the scrapped film suggests that Schumacher genuinely had recognised the failings of what came before it.
And with interest in the also scrapped Superman Lives at boiling point, and comic book movie fandom similarly hot, it’s about time someone fundamentally challenged Batman Triumphant’s status as a dodged bullet…
11. They’d Dropped Batgirl
Yes, Clueless is wonderful and Alicia Silverstone should never have ended up with a career that basically amounts to having every pilot she makes rejected, but her Batgirl was a travesty. The writing was awful, her performance was awkward and cheap and there was literally no merit in her being involved at all.
Thankfully, Schumacher apparently realised as much and planned to cut her after Batman & Robin entirely, removing the slurring, superfluous side-kick and her horribly misguided new backstory and streamlining the cast.