Joel Schumacher Made a ‘Darker’ Three-Hour Cut of ‘Batman Forever’
While the late Joel Schumacher’s tenure as director of the Batman franchise tends to get boiled down these days to the camp madness of Batman & Robin, his legacy is a bit more complicated than that. Schumacher’s first Bat-film, 1995’s Batman Forever, is a lot closer to the Tim Burton movies than some remember. It’s got its outsized comic moments — mostly thanks to Jim Carrey’s bombastic interpretation of the Riddler — but it rarely gets credit for all the ways it’s weird and dark.
Apparently, it could have been even weirder and darker, too. Variety has confirmed a rumor that began circulating since Schumacher’s death that the director had initially made a “170-minute cut” of Batman Forever that was “much darker in nature” than the theatrical release. Clearly, Schumacher took the movie’s title very literally.
Here’s how they describe the differences in this longer cut:
This version opens with a sequence involving the villain Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones) escaping from Arkham Asylum, and features extended scenes with the Riddler (Jim Carrey) when he invades the Batcave and uses his signature cane as a weapon. The bulk of this version’s runtime focuses on the emotional and psychological issues that led Bruce Wayne (Val Kilmer) to decide to become Batman, including a sequence of Wayne facing down a giant, human-sized bat.
Schumacher did talk about some of these cut scenes in interviews and on DVD supplements. And there are deleted scenes featuring this material — including the giant bat:
Still, no one has ever seen a longer cut of the movie that would have maintained Schumacher’s original vision. So will we get to see it now? Variety contacted Warner Bros, who says there are “no discussions about distributing a director’s cut of Batman Forever,” if the extended version even survives somewhere in a vault. (Forever is now 25 years old.) Of course, fan outcry has led to studios ponying up to finish coveted director’s cuts before— Warner Bros. is currently finishing Zack Snyder’s vision of Justice League. So why not a #ReleaseTheSchumacherCut movement?
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