3. Darren Aronofsky’s Batman: Year One (2002)
Warner weren’t going to let Year One slip out of their grasp without a fight, and with a director of Darren Aronofsky’s caliber chomping at the bit to direct, who wouldn’t want a piece of this action? In much the same way that the director collaborated with author Hubert Selby Jr. on Requiem for a Dream, he would work closely with Frank Miller on Year One.
The goal was to weave an almost Taxi Driver-like narrative, in which Bruce Wayne doesn’t have the benefit of his wealth upon losing his parents, instead growing up in the middle of all this desperate crime and desolation.
Adhering to Miller’s well-known right-wing views, Bruce would slowly become a blood-thirsty street-walking superhero, performing excessively violent instant judgements on criminals he comes across (sounds a bit more like Judge Dredd, does it not?)
As with the source material, Selina Kyle aka Catwoman would be a black hooker, driven to pursue justice after witnessing Batman’s acts. Gordon, meanwhile, would be modeled on Dirty Harry, a no-nonsense, straight-faced cop who is essentially on the other side of the crime-fighting coin to Bats.
So, what happened? Amusingly, Aronofsky had approached Christian Bale for the Batman role, so it’s easy to see how this probably wound up putting the idea in their heads. By June 2002, Warner again rejected a promising idea, binning Year One and instead deciding to take on one of their more ridiculous and outlandish projects instead…