Writer and podcaster Marc Bernardin told Kevin Smith on FatMan Beyond he believes a nearly three-hour cut of the film exists in the Warner Bros. vault somewhere.
“I have it on pretty good authority that there exists in the Warner Bros. vault a 170-minute cut of Batman Forever,” Bernardin said. “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 s–t.”
When Tim Burton’s Batman came out in 1989, the director wanted to steer clear of the campiness of the 60’s TV series. He followed it up with an even darker Batman Returns. When Warner Bros. decided to make a third film, they chose Joel Schumacher to bring back the ‘60s vibe for the franchise. Schumacher’s more lighthearted Batman Forever leaned into technicolor spectacle and silliness. (Like Bernardin mentioned, they brought on prolific comedic actor Jim Carrey to play The Riddler.)
Rumors that a darker version of Batman Forever exists somewhere have circulated before. After HBO Max announced they would release the Snyder Cut of Justice League, some fans took to Twitter with the hashtag #ReleaseTheSchumacherCut.
Would You Watch The Schumacher Cut?
Smith noted that while the studio may have been unwilling to release the Schumacher Cut back in the 90s, it’s a more feasible option now. With DVDs and streaming services, it’s much easier to distinguish between different versions of the film. Fans who want campy Batman content can simply choose not to watch the darker version, and vice versa.
The darker, supersized version of Batman Forever may exist somewhere. It doesn’t seem like Warner Bros. has any plans to release it at this time.
What do you think? Do you prefer campy action Batman or dark and intense Batman? Would you watch the Schumacher Cut?
While I generally don’t think films need to be three hours long, I would be interested to see how Schumacher’s original vision was adapted by the studio into the film we all know.