Following the humiliating failure of Batman & Robin in 1997, Warner Bros. was unsure of how to continue the franchise. Originally, a direct sequel was in development, but the studio dropped it in favor of a complete reboot. One of the movies being considered was Batman Beyond, a live action adaptation of the hit animated series.
For those who do not know, Batman Beyond is set in a future where Bruce Wayne, now an old man, retiring as the Batman. A teenager named Terry McGinnis is trained as his replacement. The show was a fan-favorite, and it has since been adopted into the DC Comics continuity.
Boaz Yakin was attached to direct the movie, with the show’s creators, Paul Dini and Alan Burnett, writing the screenplay. However, Batman Beyond was shelved when WB turned its attention to an origin film based on Batman: Year One, which, of course, morphed into Batman Begins. But what would have a Beyond adaptation looked like?
Speaking with IGN, Yakin reflected on his time developing Batman Beyond. “I had just made Remember the Titans, and my inclination is to always go off a trend: make an independent film after I make a studio film. I spoke to my agent, and he said, ‘I think you need to do another studio movie before you do that.’ I was just basically like, ‘Well, if I’m going to do a studio movie, like, I want it to be Batman‘ — which at the time I just meant, if I’m going to do a studio movie, I want it to be a big ol’ thing.”
He goes on to explain how his meeting with WB to pitch the film came about. This was when Darren Aronofsky was developing his Year One adaptation, which never saw the light of day. “He came back to me and said, ‘I have a meeting set up for you at Warner Bros. about Batman.’ I was like, ‘What!? [Laughs] Okay.’ I guess at the time I think Darren Aronofsky was developing a Batman: Year One type of thing. So I said, ‘Okay, let me see what I can do,’ and I came up with this pitch on Batman Beyond.”
Yakin then comments on his vision of Batman Beyond, comparing it to Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man film. “It was almost like Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man but a little bit darker — a teenage, kind of futuristic, cyberpunk Batman thing.” After months of working on a draft with Dini and Burnett, Yakin lost interest in the project, due to the pressure that only a superhero movie can bring. “[I] very quickly got the feeling that I would be in the zone, the madness, and I didn’t really have the heart for it at the time, and I basically bailed after one draft. I just went, ‘I can’t do this.'”
Yakin acknowledges that, even though he lost the heart for Batman Beyond, ditching it may have affected his career in a negative way. However, he realizes just how big a phenomena the Batman franchise is, regardless of what version of the character is being used. “Batman seems to be popular in any iteration. I think [Batman Beyond] is apart enough from the regular Batman that people are allowed to play in that playground, without sort of f***ing with continuity and all this stuff that people are so concerned with. It’s a different look at the character.”
Do you wish to see a Batman Beyond movie someday?