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Darren Aronofsky Batman Year One design


Before Chris Nolan was offered the chance to reinvent Batman with a darker, more realistic edge, another rising star director was approached to see whether there was still some life in theproperty. Step forward Darren Aronofsky, who teamed up with Frank Miller to develop an adaptation of Batman: Year One, arguably the most loved single Batman comic ever released.

At this stage it all sounds good – as does the decision to possibly cast Christian Bale – but the problem with Aronofsky’s vision was that he didn’t actually want to make a Batman film. At least not one that would advance the mythology or brand of the character, and that was clearly an important thing for a studio looking to make money, and fans looking for some service to their favourite character.

In Miller’s script, Bruce Wayne wasn’t a billionaire heir, he was a street urchin, with borderline psychosis, who tackles crime by taking violent revenge on thugs and criminals. He would be a recession superhero, ignoring Batman’s usual gadgets and using whatever he could get his hands on, and disguising himself without the aid of the iconic suit.

Every recognisable element was stripped away – no suit, no Batmobile, and even Alfred was re-imagined as a paternal mechanic called Big Al who dies before the film opens, and his gigantic son Little Al. The Batcave was going to be a subway station (like in the Turtles II movie) and Aronofsky’s agenda to move away from the comics was confirmed finally in the hero’s name-change from Batman to The Bat-Man (like The Final Destination.)

With Aronofsky we wouldn’t have got Batman, we would have had something entirely different, and something that would have split the fans massively. Thankfully, the director realised he wasn’t actually making a Batman film, and walked away, citing too many similarities to Rocky – as if he somehow wasn’t entirely responsible.


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