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BILL MURRAY AS BATMAN

1985 Bill Murray Batman

BATMAN 90'S FRANCHISE

WHAT WE KNOW:[]

Before Tim Burton got his Gothic mits on the Batman property, producer Michael Uslan had hired James Bond and Superman writer Tom Mankiewicz to write a Batman screenplay, which materialised as “The Batman” in 1983. Mankiewicz’s brief was simple; create an origin story for Batman just as he had for Superman, but include some thrilling, James Bond-esque action sequences that would suit the more realistic Batman character.

Batman Strange Apparitions

Batman: Strange Apparitions

Mankiewicz adapted villain Rupert Thorn and romantic interest Silver St. Cloud from Steve Englehart’s Batman: Strange Apparitions comic, while introducing The Joker – who would replace the less-commercial Hugo Strange – in a scheme to reveal Batman’s identity.

Ivan Reitman was drafted in to direct, fresh off his Ghostbusters success, and wanted to cast Bill Murray in the role, which to a modern audience seems totally at odds with the serious tone Mankiewicz intended – which was to follow Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns – yet perhaps such a move would changed Murray’s career trajectory outright?

DAVID BOWIE AS JOKER

David Bowie as Joker

Reitman would have also cast David Niven as Alfred, William Holden as Jim Gordon, and David Bowie as The Joker. Given that the film was also set to include Robin, several names were bandied about, most ludicrously Eddie Murphy, and perhaps most interestingly, Michael J. Fox, who just might have had the boyish charm to pull it off.

So, what happened? Holden and Niven died, and the script went through 9 re-writes in just a few short years, causing Gremlins director Joe Dante to eventually replace a departing Reitman, though nothing ever came of it in the end.

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