Many Bat-fans may already know of the existence of “Batman Unchained,” but for those who haven’t heard of the project, it promised to be pretty wild.
“Batman Unchained” was to feature the return of George Clooney and Chris O’Donnell as Batman and Robin, and was to feature the Scarecrow and, only recently introduced in “Batman: The Animated Series” character Harley Quinn, then only the Joker’s moll. Schumacher evidently went to the set of John Woo’s “Face/Off” to personally ask Nicolas Cage to play the Scarecrow, and the villain’s signature nightmare gas was to, in one scene, resurrect the Joker in dream form. Schumacher intended to ask Jack Nicholson from the 1989 film to reprise the role, and the larger plan was to include the returns of the Penguin, Catwoman, the Riddler, and Two-Face from all the previous movies.
Screenwriter Mark Protosevich (“The Cell,” the “Oldboy” remake) wrote a 150-page screenplay for “Batman Unchained.” Rumors were that the film was to be called “Batman Triumphant,” but that was mere fan speculation that spread without Protosevich’s input. In his script, Batman was to go on a more personal journey, facing a lot of his own personal fears. In his vision of things, Harley Quinn was not a fallen psychiatrist, but a toymaker who goes mad when she learns the Joker is her long-lost father. She was to be played by Courtney Love. Harley and the Scarecrow intended to drive Batman to madness and get him committed to Arkham Asylum.
Robin would enter the fray to drag Batman back from the brink. The final shot of the film would have seen Batman standing in a Balinese cave, surrounded by bats, finally free of his fears.