MovieBob - Intermission
That (Also) Almost Happened

Bob Chipman | 7 Dec 2012 12:00
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It's been a while since we last did one of these, so ... let's do one of these.

Moviemaking is a long and complicated process, especially when you consider the whole picture from script to "That's a wrap!" For every film, good or bad, that makes it to the finish line, countless others die on the vine. Here are four films that ultimately went unfinished (or unstarted) that have nonetheless gained a certain infamy.

Darker Knight

Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy is easily the most realistic vision of Batman ever to hit movie screens, and it's often called the "darkest" version, even with the curious lack of attempted mass-baby-murder. But if you thought those were grim fare, the version Warner Bros. almost made would've put you in a coma. Back before they were even talking to Nolan, Warner Bros. had an eye on re-starting the franchise with an adaptation of Frank Miller's Batman: Year One, helmed by Darren Aronofsky. They even got Miller himself to write the screenplay! Unfortunately, by that point Miller was well into his ... "uncomfortable" modern persona, and the pitch he turned in bore almost no resemblance to his own book - or any other version of Batman ever published.

In the Miller/Aronofsky screenplay, Bruce Wayne is no wealthy playboy. In this version, Young Bruce loses his mind and becomes a feral street kid after seeing his parents killed, only to be saved from the gutter and raised by a mechanic named "Big Al" (get it?) who lets the clearly insane but quick-study-at-tools Bruce (who has no clear memory of his parents and thus no knowledge that he's the missing heir to a fortune) live in his garage.

Bruce is plagued by nightmares and a burning hatred for street crime, especially the mobbed-up brothel across the street which happens to employ a prostitute named Selina Kyle (technically she's a dominatrix, hence the cat suit, but the script unironically uses dominatrix and hooker as interchangeable terms because, well ... Frank Miller). He eventually recovers enough memory to reclaim Thomas Wayne's "TW"-logo signet ring, which he uses to punch criminals almost to death leaving "TW" bruises that look kind of like the Bat-symbol - hence the media dubbing him "The Batman" and him putting together homeless-nutcase versions of the Batman costume and Batmobile.

For some reason, Warner Bros. decided not to make this movie.


The Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot made some news when the project was shelved for script problems a few months back. That happens all the time, of course, but what made it newsworthy was seeing it happen in full public view. The film may or may not be back on, but having read the screenplay that apparently caused all the trouble, I'm hoping it stays nice and dead.

I've gone over this at length elsewhere, but in the interest of keeping things quick: Think the 80s TMNT cartoon crossed with Bay's own Transformers re-imagining. The Turtles themselves are secondary characters, while Casey Jones (here reimagined as, essentially, Sam Witwicky in the form of a lovesick high school hockey player) is the main hero who has to help the Turtles reunite with Master Splinter in New York, which just so happens to be where Casey's onetime girlfriend April has run off to chase her dreams of TV news stardom. Opposing them are The Foot, who are no longer ninjas but rather a rogue military black-ops team led by the evil - wait for it! ... Colonel Schrader.

Yes, really. Colonel Schrader. He's secretly a mutant himself, with blades that pop out of his skin like an evil Wolverine.

Despite the claims that this version would come more from the original indie comics, cartoon mainstays like Bebop and Rocksteady are on hand, as are Krang, The Technodrome and Dimension X ... which, incidentally, led to the script's most infamous twist: The TMNT aren't mutants, but rather aliens (even they didn't know, apparently) - a species indigenous to Dimension X and prophesied to save both worlds by protecting magic stones.

Supposedly they are still going to try and get this project happening, though one would assume with major changes to the widely-disseminated (and panned) script.

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