Schumacher’s Batman 5 Would’ve Beat Marvel To No Way Home’s Villain Trick

Joel Schumacher nearly directed a third
Batman movie,
Batman Triumphant, which would have beaten Marvel to its encore of supervillains in
Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Batman Triumphant was set to follow
Batman & Robin in Warner Bros’ 
Batman anthology film series, and one particular sequence would have brought the villains of all previous films back, regardless of whether or not they were dead, incapacitated, or redeemed.
Batman & Robin’s poor reception, however, led WB to end the film series, eventually rebooting it with Christopher Nolan’s
Batman Begins in 2005.,Joel Schumacher became the director of WB’s
Batman series after
Batman Returns was met with backlash over its disturbingly dark story, graphic violence, and frequent sexual innuendo. Schumacher, who was far more familiar with
Batman comics than Tim Burton, was tasked with taking the films in a more family-friendly direction, leading to the successful
Batman Forever, which introduced Robin, two classic supervillains, and Batman’s most in-depth characterization in the four anthology films.
Batman & Robin, however, was met with fan backlash for being too lighthearted and merchandise-driven, leading the anthology to end and prompting apologies from Schumacher and several cast members.,Related: The Most Comic-Accurate Batman Versions Are Ben Affleck & Adam West,Batman Triumphant would have introduced two new supervillains, Scarecrow and Harley Quinn, with the latter reimagined as the vengeful daughter of The Joker. In an ambitiously planned sequence, George Clooney’s Batman would be poisoned by Scarecrow’s Fear Toxin and hallucinate Danny DeVito’s Penguin, Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman, Tommy Lee Jones’ Two-Face, and Jim Carrey’s Riddler before having a final (albeit imagined) showdown with Jack Nicholson’s Joker. The scene would have pulled a similar trick to 2021’s
Spider-Man: No Way Home, where it ties the franchise together through its supervillains—only in Batman’s case, there wouldn’t be alternate versions of Spider-Man.,Joel Schumacher had hoped to take
Batman Triumphant in a darker direction than his previous two films, and the movie would have perhaps struck the right balance between Tim Burton’s macabre sensibilities, WB’s desire for a family-friendly
Batman franchise, and Schumacher’s appreciation for the
Batman comic source material. Schumacher’s planned character arc for Batman would have perhaps rivaled his development in
Batman Forever, with the planned film having Batman “
learning to conquer fear and to confront the demons of his past.” This was the motivation behind Scarecrow’s inclusion and Harley Quinn’s reimagining as The Joker’s daughter.,Due to the drastically different style and direction of Burton and Schumacher’s
Batman films, it’s easy to forget that
Batman Forever and
Batman & Robin were initially part of the same continuity as the two Burton films, but the hallucination sequence in
Triumphant would have been an exciting way to acknowledge their shared continuity. The ongoing
Batman ’89 comic and the upcoming DCEU film,
The Flash, have established that Burton’s films take place in Earth-89 while Schumacher’s are set in Earth-97. Had Schumacher’s
Batman Triumphant been made, the connection between his and Burton’s movies would be much clearer.,Batman Triumphant would have ended on a hopeful note, with Batman conquering his fears in a cave surrounded by bats (a sequence that ended up being used in
Batman Begins) and Harley Quinn redeeming herself rather than dying or being incarcerated, making the unproduced film seem even more similar to
No Way Home.
Triumphant, unfortunately, never had its chance to tie together the Burton and Schumacher
Batman films, thanks to the poor reception of
Batman & Robin. If it hadn’t been canceled,
Batman Triumphant could have been a crowd-pleasing installment with the right balance of irreverence and darkness, tying together the
Batman anthology films in a similar manner to
Spider-Man: No Way Home.,Next: Batman Forever: Every Deleted Scene & Why They Were Cut