Batman Unchained[1] is the name of a cancelled sequel to the 1997 film Batman & Robin which was planned for a release in mid-1999. The script for the film was written by Mark Protosevich (who wrote the script for the 2000 film The Cell), and was never known to have any other title. Joel Schumacher would return as director. However, the film was cancelled after Warner Brothers realized that the finale of the film would be far too costly to shoot, with many of the previous villains returning with the same actors/actresses. The studio also decided to stop production on the film since Batman & Robin was a colossal failure at the box office and with critics, failing to outgross the preceding Batman films (Batman, Batman Returns and Batman Forever), and as a response to the backlash and criticism the film received when it was theatrically released. The cancellation led to a second sequel pitch entitled Batman: DarKnight.


Sometime after the events of Batman & Robin, Batman and Robin would end up parting ways due to disagreements. Batman would soon discover a crazy scientist named Jonathan Crane, also known as "The Scarecrow". Flashbacks from the first three Batman films were to be shown in a dream sequence. Batman would also have hallucinations after being exposed to Scarecrow's fear toxins, in which he would see the Joker, The Penguin, Catwoman, Two-Face and The Riddler re-unite to judge him on trial. Harley Quinn was intended to appear in the movie as a character, rewritten as a toymaker and daughter of the Joker determined to get revenge on Batman for the death of her father.


  • George Clooney as Bruce Wayne/Batman (refused to return)
    • Kurt Russell as Bruce Wayne/Batman (possible replacement for Clooney)
  • Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson/Robin
  • Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl/Barbara Wilson (was going to return, but went back to college)
  • Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth (expected to return)
  • Various actors were chosen for the role of Dr. Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow including:
    • Nicolas Cage (main choice)
    • Jeff Goldblum
    • Christopher Lloyd
    • Steve Buscemi
  • Courtney Love of Madonna as Harley Quinn (not hired for the role)
  • Pat Hingle as Commissioner Gordon (expected to return)
  • Various villains appearing in Batman’s mine due to Scarecrow‘s fear toxins:
  • Jack Nicholson as the Joker
  • Danny DeVito as The Penguin
  • Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman
  • Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face
  • Jim Carrey as The Riddler

Why It Was Cancelled

  1. Batman & Robin was a box office failure and was poorly received by critics, audiences and fans of the previous Batman films.
  2. George Clooney admitted that he hated playing Batman and refused to reprise his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman.
  3. Warner Brothers didn't like the final script, especially when the executives decided that the finale was too costly due to all the stars involved.
  4. Warner Brothers decided to put all future live-action Batman films on hold until further notice and focus on making more animated direct-to-video and DVD Batman films as well as the 2001 series Justice League, which featured Batman as one of the major characters in the series.


  • Batman Unchained was permanently cancelled.
  • In 2005, Batman came back to the big screen with Batman Begins and featured some elements that were to be shown in the cancelled sequel.
  • Similar elements from the cancelled film were also featured in the 2015 game Batman: Arkham Knight.
  • Batman & Robin would be the conclusion of the Burton-Schumacher Batman Cinematic Universe.


  • Some websites incorrectly refer to this film as Batman Triumphant
  • After Clooney disowned playing Batman, rumor has it that Joel Schumacher handed the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman to Kurt Russell[2]
  • In response to how comedic and child-friendly Batman & Robin was, Joel Schumacher wanted to make the film darker similar to the Tim Burton films and decided to make the film's storyline ignore the events of Batman & Robin after he disappointed many fans of the earlier Batman films.
  • The film was supposed to be released to celebrate Batman's 60th anniversary.
  • In the script, Robin was supposed to ditch Batman for disagreements, but then return to save his friend from the Scarecrow near the end.
  • This was supposed to be the final Batman film of the 1990s.
  • Akiva Goldsman, who wrote Batman Forever and Batman & Robin was hired to write the script for Batman Unchained, but turned down the offer to write the script.
  • Batgirl was supposedly written out of the first draft of the original story.


  1. THR Heat Vision - Before 'Batman Begins': Secret History of the Movies That Almost Got Made
  2. "Batman Triumphant" - What could have been if Schumacher had continued...

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