The 1995 feature Batman Forever, directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Val Kilmer as the Caped Crusader, is generally considered to be one of the less significant entries in the Batman mythos. Recently, a rumor has been making the rounds on the internet that an extended director’s cut of the movie exists, dubbed the “Schumacher Cut”, which is much more serious and complex than what we got to see onscreen. The writer of the movie, Akiva Goldsman, recently confirmed that the “Schumacher Cut” does exist, and will be seeing something of a renaissance in the coming years.
“By the way, Batman Forever still has a renaissance coming. I really am interested to see whether the original cut of Batman Forever comes out because I got to see it, recently, the very very first one, which was Preview Cut: One. It was really dark, it was a pretty psychological exploration of guilt and shame.”
Batman Forever was made after Tim Burton and consequently Michael Keaton walked away from the franchise over creative differences with the studio. Joel Schumacher was hired in Burton’s stead, and set out to make a gothic, psychological drama that included the Riddler and Two-Face.
From what we know since last year, Schumacher’s original vision for the film was deemed too “adult” by Warner Bros., who saw the Batman franchise as a lucrative source of income through sale of ancillary merchandise like toys and product tie-ins. Previously, writer Marc Bernardin had confirmed that the “Schumacher Cut” would have seen Batman deal with his childhood trauma in a hard-hitting manner.
“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 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.”
Among the scenes that are said to be in the Schumacher Cut which were removed from the theatrical version is a sequence showing how Two-Face escapes Arkham Asylum, how the Riddler invades the Batcave, and a particularly dark moment showing Bruce Wayne facing off against a giant, human-sized bat.
Ever since the release of the “Snyder Cut” of Justice League, fans have been demanding that Warner #ReleaseTheSchumacherCut as well. The fact that Goldsman saw the cut recently and seems optimistic about seeing it released means the movie might show up on HBO Max soon. In the meantime, Matt Reeves is working on his own movie The Batman, which is also said to be a deep dive into the psychology of the Dark Knight, and how he channels his grief over the murder of his parents into becoming a crime fighter.