For fans of the “Batman” film franchise, there are two films that get a lot of shit from the fandom. You see, after Tim Burton released his two “Batman” films, beginning in 1989, Warner Bros. brought in Joel Schumacher to take the franchise in a new direction. And that’s exactly what happened, as the filmmaker infused the dark and gritty Burton-verse with neon lighting and heavy doses of humor with his two films, “Batman Forever” and “Batman & Robin.” Ultimately, the release of the second film, “Batman & Robin,” was the end of that run of films and seemed like the nail in the coffin for superhero films for several years.
However, recently there have been stories about a special cut of “Batman Forever,” one that was darker and more in line with Burton’s version of the character and not nearly as campy as the finished product. According to ‘Forever’ writer Akiva Goldsman, those reports are definitely true, but that doesn’t mean the world will see Joel Schumacher’s director’s cut of “Batman Forever” anytime soon.
In an upcoming episode of The Playlist’s Bingeworthy podcast, Akiva Goldsman spoke about his recently released series, “The Crowded Room,” but he also took the time to talk about Joel Schumacher’s mythical cut of “Batman Forever.” And the writer is here to say that the cut exists, and it’s great. Unfortunately, Schumacher’s original vision didn’t get past the test audiences.
“I saw [The ‘Schumacher Cut’] recently, and it’s funny because there’s been a swell on the internet for it, and I stay out of it, mostly,” said Goldsman. “Although, it’s got about 35% more psychological realism in it. You know, it’s really more about guilt and shame. But the preview audience didn’t want it — the world wasn’t ready. Joel’s first cut had all of it in, and the audience was like, ‘Yeah, we just like the part where the guy’s funny and he’s scary and the big thing…’ And so, it got cut down into what it is. And it was cool.”
So, if the cut exists and Goldsman has seen it, does that mean a new version of “Batman Forever” is being prepped for release down the line? The writer denies that’s the case, but he would like to see it happen, at some point. In fact, he’s not even sure how Kevin Smith got to see it.
“No, no – this was two administrations ago or one-and-a-half,” Goldsman explained. “And I don’t know how Kevin [Smith] saw it or why, but yeah, he’s been talking a lot. But it exists, you know. And I’m certainly an advocate for it being in the world — just for Joel, you know? Because he died and he died quietly…You know, there wasn’t a lot of honoring him and it would be a nice way to honor him, I think. And I think he’d get a kick out of it.”
Is there a demand for a new cut of a decades-old ‘Batman’ film that isn’t particularly loved by fans? Sure, there are probably quite a few people out there who would like to see it. It’s just a matter of convincing WB to give it a shot and throw it up on Max or whatever. Who knows? Maybe it could still happen. If the Snyder Cut can be a thing, surely Joel Schumacher can get his moment in the spotlight.
–Additional reporting by Mike DeAngelo