2. Batman vs. Superman (2004)
Warner’s next stab at Batman stemmed from a summer 2001 pitch from Se7en screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker, who proposed Batman vs. Superman, which brought the two characters together in a way that instantly caught Warner’s attention (as was considerably less complicated than a Justice League movie).
Prior ideas had suggested the superheroes teaming up, whereas this bolder idea proposed pitting them against one another, yet the danger signs soon began to emerge that things might not work out for the best.
Firstly, Batman & Robin screenwriter Akiva Goldsman wrote a new script for it, and the wildly inconsistent Wolfgang Petersen was roped in to direct a story where Bruce gets married to a woman named Elizabeth Miller, with Clark Kent attending as his best man.
On Bruce’s honeymoon, however, The Joker shows up and murders Elizabeth, sending Wayne into a downward spiral of revenge, that sees him putting the cowl back on and plotting to take The Joker’s head.
Clark, who is of course firmly against killing, tries to stop him, but this just enrages Bruce more, and he ends up blaming Supes for failing to stop Elizabeth’s demise. You can see where this is leading; the two fight, but of course, they end up teaming together to take down The Joker and Lex Luthor, because how else could a film called Batman vs. Superman end? With Superman hurling Batman into the sun?
So, what happened? Not that it mattered, because though Christian Bale and Josh Hartnett had been offered the respective roles, Petersen quit the project just as shooting dates were lining up, causing Warner to get cold feet and swear the project off entirely.
They decided to opt for Plan B, the Batman reboot trilogy that netted them billions of dollars, so in actual fact, this one seems like something of a happy accident. Instead of a gimmicky comic book film in the vein of Alien vs. Predator and Freddy vs. Jason, we got something a whole lot more substantial and entertaining, I am sure.