With the recent passing of director Joel Schumacher, fans have been taking another look at his 1995’s addition to the Batman franchise Batman Forever.
Various sources have recently reported the possible existence of a “Schumacher Cut.” This version is believed to be darker and contain less camp than the theatrical cut. Some of the differences include Bruce facing off against a human-sized bat, the darker, more serious tone, less of an emphasis on Dick Grayson, and a focus on Bruce’s deep routed psychological issues.
Following these updates, fans have now begun a social media campaign calling for the studio to “#ReleaseTheSchumacherCut” onto the streaming platform, HBO Max.
In total, the cut uses about 40 minutes of additional footage. Warner Bros. have confirmed the cut exists although they have no plans to release it and were unsure about what, if any, footage remains.
The news regarding the existence of a so-called “Schumacher Cut” of Batman Forever was revealed by writer and podcaster Marc Bernardin who said,
“I have it on pretty good authority that there exists in the Warner Bros. vault a 170-minute cut of Batman Forever. 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 Schumacher 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.”
The original concept for the third film would have seen Tim Burton, the director of the first two Batman films, continue working on the third Batman film, which was going to be titled Batman Continues and was going to star Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfeiffer, Billy Dee Williams, Robin Williams, Rene Russo and Marlon Wayans, but following the release of the previous film, McDonald’s said that Batman Returns was inappropriate for children, so Warner Bros. asked Burton to step down as director in favor of another director – Schumacher.
Batman Forever follows Val Kilmer in his first and only appearance as Batman/Bruce Wayne, as he ponders strange dreams about his parents’ death and escapes his own near-demise at the hands of Two-Face, a former district attorney driven insane and turned into a master criminal when a gangster throws acid in his face. Meanwhile, Wayne Enterprises employee Edward Nygma reacts badly to getting fired, using his self-invented mind-energy device to transform into the super-intelligent Riddler. The Riddler teams up with Two-Face to bring down Batman and drain the minds of Gotham City residents with his device. Batman Forever stars Tommy Lee Jones as Harvey Dent / Two-Face, Jim Carrey as Edward Nygma / The Riddler, Nicole Kidman as Dr. Chase Meridian, Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson / Robin, Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth, and Pat Hingle as James Gordon.
Burton’s darker takes on the Caped Crusader in the dimly lit gothic outings Batman and Batman Returns, the theatrical cut of Batman Forever took things back to the campy silliness of the 1960s television series.
According to Bernardin, as well as a few bits and pieces of information released since, Schumacher did in fact craft something that was much darker in nature than what audiences got to see in theaters.
Some of the deleted scenes from Schumacher’s 170 Minute extended cut are available on YouTube, however the potential release of a ‘darker’ Schumacher Cut is something that fans would want to see, as well as being a fitting tribute to the director.
The campaign is currently gaining momentum on Twitter.
With the Snyder Cut version of Justice League set to become a reality in 2021 on HBO Max, lets hope The Schumacher Cut will be next in line for the streaming service!
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