Joe Dante and the Batman (and Joker) that Coulda Been

It is inevitable that our imaginations run wild as a story created unfolds before us. Every written word, every creative decision, every actor/tress chosen, et cetera leads to the outcome of the stories and characters we love. But our imagination is not limited by the final creative decisions of a group of people, because they certainly did not come to immediate conclusions themselves, rather, they mulled through thousands of ideas. Some artists even drop their projects if they feel like their ideas aren’t producing the desired result. When this happens, there is a whole universe of what might have been where you are left to consider all the possibilities of the art that would’ve taken place. One such scenario presents itself in an interview of Joe Dante (Director of Gremlins and potential director of the Batman movie before Tim Burton took the opportunity) with Psychotronic Cinema.

Joe Dante had this to say about his relinquished opportunity to create the next Batman Movie:

“Well, the Batman that I was going to do would have been completely different from what they ended up making. This was right after Gremlins, and Tom Mankiewicz, who had written a lot of James Bond movies, had done this take on Batman which was certainly not Chris Nolan-dark, was certainly darker than the TV version. It started with his parents being killed, and it was a revenge story. But it was very outlandish, had a lot of giant props in it. The Joker was a major character in it. I wanted to hire John Lithgow for that part because I had met him on The Twilight Zone movie.”


” And for whatever reason, I started to gravitate more towards The Joker than towards Batman. And I actually woke up one night and I said to myself, “I can’t do this movie—I’m more interested in The Joker than I am in Batman, and that’s not the way it should be.”

When I found this out my initial reaction was, Aaaaawwww maaaannnn! I wanna see John Lithgow be the Joker! As much as he is endeared to me as Dr. Dick Solomon from 3rd Rock from the Sun, John Lithgow does psycho really well, I must admit. Oh the things that could have been….

Created with Microsoft Fresh Paint
Maybe I should plead with John to do a cosplay and own that sh*t

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