Following the critical mauling that Batman & Robin (1997) received upon its cinematic release a number of potential Bat-films were in the pipeline to get the Bat-franchise back on its feet, with Batman: DarKnight being one of them.
OH.SO WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED?
Batman: DarKnight was scripted by Stephen Wise and Lee Shapiro, and the story would have seen Bruce Wayne hang up the cape and cowl (temporarily of course) whilst Dick Grayson attended Gotham University where two doctors, Dr Jonathan Crane and Dr Kirk Langstrom, worked.Of course this being Gotham and Batman & Robin being out of action, the doctors were up to no good, with Crane dabbling with fear toxins and Langstrom experimenting with bat DNA.This would have led to the introduction of the Batman villains, Scarecrow and Man-Bat into the series, with Man-Bat causing Batman no end of trouble as all of Gotham’s citizens would have mistook the creature for the Caped Crusader.Bruce would have had to return to his crime fighting ways to clear his name...and he would have had to stop the Scarecrow too!
Yep, it was a very good thing that Batman: DarKnight never saw the light of day, otherwise Batman Begins (2005) would never have happened, which would have meant no Christopher Nolan directed Bat-films.Batman Begins was clearly the way forward for the Bat-franchise and the Scarecrow at least made it into that film anyway, so it all worked out in the end.
BUT WHAT IF?
If Batman: DarKnight had made it past the ‘pitching’ stage and into cinemas then as a franchise Batman would have gone even further down the path of ‘bad decision making where the Caped Crusader is concerned’, that not even Batman’s utility belt could have fixed.Imagine Man-Bat on screen!The character is not one of Batman’s greatest adversaries at the best of times and following the pantomime that was Batman & Robin seeing a movie featuring a giant bat for the best part of two hours would have probably been enough to push a paying audience over the edge.With all their faith in the Dark Knight gone, these former Bat-fans would have then turned against DC Comics and Warner Bros, which would have resulted in both companies losing lots of earnings from merchandising alone.This would have reduced the yearly turnover for Warner Bros and would have stopped production on many of the studio’s films, including Looney Tunes: Back In Action (2003).
Oh wait... maybe it wouldn’t have been a bad thing after all.