Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice flew into theaters in 2016 but there was almost a different version of the film which would have arrived much earlier. While moviegoers and Deadpool often joke about how dark movies based on DC Comics are, there was almost a much darker take on some of the biggest characters the brand has to offer. As it turns out, Akiva Goldsman once wrote a version of Batman v. Superman which involved a very different cast and was a whole lot darker than anybody could have imagined, with death and serious emotional weight being a part of its story from the jump.
“I wrote on […] this version of Batman v Superman [around 2001or 2002]— when Colin Farrell was cast as Batman and Jude Law was cast as Superman and Wolfgang Petersen was directing," Goldsman told Collider, describing something which seems so far fetched is could almost be perceived as a joke. It's not joke, though.
"We were in prep and it was the darkest thing you’ve ever seen," the writer said. "It started with Alfred’s funeral and Bruce has fallen in love and renounced being Batman, the Joker kills his wife, and then you discover it was all a lie. Just that the love itself was constructed by the Joker to break [Bruce]. It was a time where you would be able to get these sort of stories together in script form but they couldn’t quite land in the world. Somehow, the expectations of the object — whether they be audience or corporate or directorial — it wasn’t landing quite in the way I think we imagined when we put them on the page.”
As the story goes, this movie was never sent into production and years later Zack Snyder took over with his vision and the cast included Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in the titular roles. Still, it is interesting to think about how different the comic book movie landscape would be if something as dark as this idea from Goldsman had been brought to life before even Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy and the Marvel Cinematic Universe were born. It seems clear that Warner Bros. was always in the market for a gritty take on the Caped Crusader, it was just a matter of how gritty.
Would you like to live in the timeline where Colin Farrell and Jude Law made a super dark version of Batman v Superman? Share your thoughts in the comment section or send them my way on Instagram and Twitter.