Long rumoured, the actual existence of a darker, more psychological director’s cut of 1995’s Batman Forever has now been confirmed.
Since the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, fans have been clamouring for other alternative versions of superhero movies that never saw the light of day. One of those films is Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever, the 1995 outing for the Caped Crusader that saw Schumacher replace Tim Burton in the director’s chair and Val Kilmer take on the cape and cowl in lieu of Michael Keaton (who left the series after two films when Burton walked away).
Often derided for abandoning the darkly psychological and gothic tone of the first two films, Batman Forever is instead seen as the beginning of the series’ slide into outlandishness, which culminated with the fourth film, Batman & Robin. However, it’s been rumoured for some time that a first cut of the film exists, which is much darker and in keeping with the tone of the original two films.
Marc Benardin, co-host of the Fatman Beyond podcast with Kevin Smith talked about this a while ago, stating “I have it on pretty good authority that there exists in the Warner Bros. vault a 170-minute cut of Batman Forever. I think that it went much deeper into his childhood psychosis and his mental blocks and that it was a more serious, darker version of that movie that was one of the first assemblies that Joel filed with the studio and they eventually cut it down because they were like ‘it’s too dark for kids. We gotta sell these Happy Meals, so maybe let’s not invest ourselves in the trauma of childhood murder. We’ve got Jim Carrey, let him do some shit.”
Whilst there’s since been movement online to try and see this cut restored, its actual existence has remained as an alluring possibility, until now at least.
The film’s writer, Akiva Goldsman, has confirmed that The Schumacher Cut does indeed exist, and believes that we’ll be seeing it sooner or later, saying “Batman Forever still has a renaissance coming. I really am interested to see whether the original cut of Batman Forever comes out because I got to see it, recently, the very very first one, which was Preview Cut: One. It was really dark, it was a pretty psychological exploration of guilt and shame.”
It’s these kind of nuggets that mobilise Twitter armies and give fans hope, so expect a furious groundswell of action to push for the cut’s release following this announcement. At this point, we’d argue that a release for The Schumacher Cut may even be an inevitability. As it stands, the film often tends to sit in the shadow of its predecessors, despite possessing some qualities of its own. When we hear more updates on this one, you can be sure we’ll let you know.
Thank you for visiting! If you’d like to support our attempts to make a non-clickbaity movie website:
Buy our Film Stories and Film Stories Junior print magazines here.
Become a Patron here.