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The 7 best unproduced Batman screenplays (and what happened)

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5. “Batman Beyond” by Paul Dini and Alan Burnett; consulted by Neil Stephenson

What Was It: Warner Bros. briefly considered a live-action version of the successful animated series, “Batman Beyond,” as a way to reboot the franchise. Taking place several years in the future, a high schooler named Terry McGinness revives the long-dormant Batman mantle, mentored by an elderly Bruce Wayne as he fights crime in a dystopian Gotham City. The studio announced in August 2000 that it was developing the project with Boaz Yakin (“Remember the Titans”) attached to direct.

What Happened: WB displayed a remarkable sense of respect by hiring series creator Paul Dini to write the “Batman Beyond” screenplay, but the studio soon lost interest as alternate “Batman” scripts began to pile up. Warners started to think that maybe the key to bringing the Dark Knight back to life wasn’t in the future, but the past…


6. “Batman: Year One” by Frank Miller and Darren Aronofsky

What Was It: Warner Bros. was finally on to something when it started considering an adaptation of Frank Miller’s celebrated graphic novel, “Batman: Year One,” to be directed by Darren Aronofsky, the Boy Wonder behind “Pi” and “Requiem For a Dream.” Joel Schumacher had pitched a “Year One” film but the studio had its eye on Aronofsky for the project, who had previously expressed an interest in casting Clint Eastwood in an adaptation of Miller’s “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.” “Year One,” which chronicles the early days of the Dark Knight and his relationship with a certain Gotham cop by the name of Jim Gordon, was to be inspired by 1970s crime dramas such as “Taxi Driver,” “The French Connection,” “Serpico” and “Death Wish.” Aronofsky, not surprisingly, wanted to bring “an independent guerrilla flavor to it.”

What Happened: “Year One” ended up being too violent for WB (both Aronofsky and Miller were apparently leaning towards an R rating — which, let’s face it, would and will never happen for a “Batman” movie in a million years). The studio had the Wachowski Brothers write a proposal for a new script and approached Aronofsky to direct that instead; the Boy Wonder turned down the offer and WB subsequently enlisted more pitches. Finally, in January 2003, Christopher Nolan was hired to take over and the result was “Batman Begins” in 2005.


7. “Batman vs. Superman,” directed by Wolfgang Petersen

What It Is: A project that thankfully never made it past a handful of jumping-the-gun Ain’t It Cool News posts, “Batman vs. Superman” would’ve had the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel joining forces as the ultimate crimefighting duo until their differences in personality, method and philosophy lead to them beating the crap out of each other. Or something. The film was set to be directed by Wolfgang Petersen, who had previously done wonders for WB with “The NeverEnding Story” and “In the Line of Fire.”

What Happened: Absolutely nothing, thank the Maker. This writer remembers an Ain’tItCoolNews post that said something like “JUDE LAW is SUPERMAN and COLIN FARRELL is BATMAN,” and then it all just kind of died the silent death it deserved. WB itself would later make a joke about this ill-advised nonsense by displaying a “Batman vs. Superman” billboard in a scene from “I Am Legend” — now we know what really wiped out the human race (except for Will Smith).

Which one of these unproduced Batman screenplays do you wish had made it to the silver screen? Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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