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Batman Moments That Will Never Be On The Big Screen

Say what you will about DC's attempts at moviemaking, but there's one thing you have to give the company: it goes out of its way to recreate moments from the comics. Movies like Batman Begins and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice are full of scenes lifted directly from the page. The problem, of course, is that the filmmakers tend to only pull from the same few stories, and while it's always nice to give fans something they recognize, it's a real shame when they don't dig deeper.

Eventually, they're going to realize that they have over 75 years of Batman comics to draw from, and when that happens, we're going to start seeing some really interesting stuff. That said, even when the filmmakers start digging through long boxes and scouring the archives, there are going to be plenty of moments that are just too weird to ever make it into film.

'Messiah of the Crimson Sun'

If you saw Batman Begins, then you might remember there was a little bit of controversy among fans when Batman decided to leave Ra's al-Ghul to his fate rather than saving his life. The thing is, there's actually a lot of precedent in the comics for Batman to be a little callous with the life of his seemingly immortal foe. It's just that in the comics, it didn't involve a derailed train car exploding against the streets of Gotham City—it was more of a "vaporized with a space laser" sort of situation.

In Mike W. Barr and Trevor Von Eeden's "Messiah of the Crimson Sun," from Batman Annual #8, Ra's adopted the identity of a cult leader who proved his power by using an advanced satellite that could gather up sunlight and concentrate it into a devastating laser. Naturally, Batman stopped him, borrowing a space shuttle from NASA and heading off to orbit for some zero-gravity karate.

It's the sort of thing that feels more like a James Bond adventure than a Batman story—and it's probably not a coincidence that this story hit shelves only three years after 007 faced a similar setup in Moonraker—but the real money here is the ending. Ra's attempts to escape, only to have Batman tractor beam him directly into the path of his super-laser and then open the hatch to allow his ashes to drift off into space. Ra's eventually came back, of course, but if he's going to make his return on film, odds are pretty good it won't be like that.

Harold Allnut

In the movies, the Dark Knight's seemingly endless arsenal of crimefighting equipment was either provided by Lucius Fox or made down in the Batcave by Alfred and Batman himself. It's a pretty good answer, as long as you don't think about it too hard and start wondering why nobody down in WayneTech R&D realizes they spend so much time sewing up wearable hang-glider capes and bat-shaped booomerangs. But honestly? It actually makes way more sense than what we got in the comics.

When Denny O'Neil, Alan Grant, and Norm Breyfogle decided to answer the question of who pumps the Batmobile's tires, the answer they came up with was Harold Allnut, who was both hunchbacked and mute and also turned out to be a mechanical genius. After Batman rescued him, he moved into the Batcave and spent the next few years tinkering with the Batmobile and never leaving. Again, just so we're clear here: in the '90s, the Batmobile was built and maintained by a modern-day Quasimodo who never, ever went outside.

To make matters even weirder, his presence was rarely acknowledged despite the fact that he spent roughly a decade as a pretty prominent member of Batman's supporting cast. There would just be scenes in those comics when Batman would be down in the cave talking to Alfred about the Riddler or whatever, and there'd be someone hunched over a table in the background, silently working on his next project. He was eventually killed off in the pages of Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee's Hush after being briefly cured of his kyphosis in exchange for revealing Batman's secrets, only to be immediately murdered. Then he was even more improbably brought back in the pages of Scott Snyder and John Romita Jr.'s All Star Batman #3, but this time, he didn't have to live in the basement—he was a tech expert living upstate from Gotham City who sent new gadgets to Batman via an underground river.

"Trial of the Bat-Witch"

The movies love to give Superman and Batman a reason to fight each other, and while they might've been content to just go with "because Lex Luthor said so" for now, eventually they're going to want to revisit that conflict and give it much higher stakes. But no matter what their next reason is for slugging it out in slow-motion big-screen combat, it's probably not going to involve traveling back in time and accusing each other of witchcraft.

That's exactly what happens in 1969's World's Finest #186, in which the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight head back in time to find out why real-life Revolutionary War hero "Mad" Anthony Wayne looks like Batman. The answer, of course, is that they're related, but along the way, Superman claims to be a traveling actor by announcing that the S on his chest stands for "Shakespeare" and then sets about convincing the good people of 1776 that Batman is a witch by disguising himself and flying around on a broom, using heat-vision to create fire, and using super-ventriloquism to make a black cat address Batman as its master. You know. Witch stuff.

This might seem out of character for Superman, but there's a good reason for it. He was possessed by a genie.

Nocturna

Despite the fact that Batman only has room for one true love in his life—the love of justice—the movies are always quick to try and add a little bit of romance. They've even made a point of creating entirely new characters just to give Batman someone to smooch, which seems a little weird. Why start your movies off with Vicki Vale and Catwoman, two characters drawn from the comics, and then move into movie originals without going any deeper? If they'd just done a little digging, we could've gotten a movie about Nocturna and the time Batman had a custody battle with a vampire over who got to raise Robin.

Okay, so Natalia Knight wasn't an actual blood-drinking vampire when Doug Moench and Gene Colan introduced her in Batman #363, but that's only because someone down at the Comics Code would've thrown a fit. She was, in fact, the victim of a radioactive accident that left her extremely pale and vulnerable to sunlight, who just happened to dress like Elvira, and was also an arch-criminal who adopted Jason Todd, discovered Batman's secret identity, and tried to convince the Caped Crusader that Robin could only be raised properly if they got married.

Even if it sounds like the best possible plot for a movie, a supernatural action-adventure rom-com in which Batman had to marry a sexy vampire criminal in order to get custody of his sidekick doesn't really sound like something we're going to be seeing on film. It's a shame, too. There's something for everyone!

Inventing Christmas with Adam Strange

This one seems like a no-brainer, right? Eventually, with superhero movies rapidly approaching critical mass to the point where we're getting something like five or six every year, someone's going to have to get the idea of making one where everyone's favorite superheroes save Christmas. Even if (when) that happens, though, it'll probably take the form of superheroes teaming up with Santa Claus rather than altering the fundamental nature of reality to create Christmas.

That's what happens in Batman: The Brave and the Bold #12, in which Landry Q. Walker and Eric Jones had Batman team up with spacefaring jetpack hero Adam Strange in a story that opens with the planet Earth exploding on Christmas Eve and just gets weirder from there. By the end of it, Batman and Strange—who has a red-and-white costume—end up literally rebuilding the universe from within a reality-altering antimatter stream coincidentally made up of glowing red and green balls of light that twists their bodies. Strange ends up being stretched out and aged, with his rotund, bearded appearance imprinting on the subconscious mind of the rebuilt universe.

And Batman? Batman gets the opposite. He's the elf.

Batman: Year Two

As much as Batman Begins relied on Frank Miller and Mazzucchelli's Batman: Year One for inspiration, it's kind of surprising that nobody ever bothered to look at its canonical sequel: Mike W. Barr, Alan Davis, and Todd McFarlane's Batman: Year Two, which ran in Detective Comics #575 to 578 just a year after its well-known predecessor. Or at least, that would be surprising, if Year Two wasn't the weirdest possible way to follow up the gritty, street-level reboot that would define Batman for the next 30 years.

To be fair, Year Two did have a pretty big influence on one theatrical Batman movie, the animated Mask of the Phantasm. The title vigilante of that film and her relationship to Bruce Wayne owe more than a little to the Reaper, a gun-toting, scythe-wielding antihero who shows up in Year Two as a challenge for the Dark Knight. What that movie completely avoids, however, is everything else about the story—and that's where the weirdness comes in.

For one thing, it's revealed in this story that when his parents were murdered, Batman picked up the discarded handgun that killed them and kept it in in a drawer for the next 15 years, in case he ever tracked down the mugger who shot them in Crime Alley. For another, the Reaper ends up being such a huge threat that Batman not only has to dig out his parents' murder weapon, he also has to team up with the mugger himself, Joe Chill. It's certainly the team-up you never expected, but... that may actually be for the best.

Internet 3.0

You may think that Batman and The Matrix would be the two great tastes that taste great together, but if Internet 3.0 is anything to go by, you would be wrong. Very, very wrong.

When Internet 3.0 was introduced as an upcoming plot point, readers were teased with the idea of a virtual world that would spread out and form the underpinnings of the existing internet, bringing Batman into a futuristic world where he could battle cyber-crimes just as effectively as he took on the Riddler or Bane. It promised an idea that would combine punching with Zero Cool-style cyberhacking for a whole new digital realm of adventure. Batman even promised that his allies would have cheat codes! Cheat codes! What kid who grew up reading Nintendo Power didn't want to see that? There may be no spoon, but there would sure as hell be a batarang thrown in there, right?

In practice, the one and only time Internet 3.0 was featured in a story—Grant Morrison and Scott Clark's Batman Incorporated #8—it pretty much amounted to a murder mystery dinner in SecondLife, only much more boring than that sounds. At least with that scenario, a ten-story neon purple fox might show up and demand that dogs be given the right to vote.

Professor Gorilla

Remember how weird it was to see the KGBeast showing up in Batman v Superman, just sort of standing around as a human-shaped wink at anyone who bothered to Google "Anatoli Knyazev" to see if he was someone from the comics? Honestly, with the sheer number of characters in the DC Comics library, there's really no need to include anyone who didn't spend at least three months in Arkham Asylum, even if they're just lingering in the background being vaguely menacing.

On the upside, if these movies go long enough, the filmmakers are eventually going to have to get down to the villains they never would've thrown in otherwise—and that means characters like Professor Gorilla, also known as Karmak. Originally appearing in the Batman manga by Jiro Kuwata that ran in Japan's Shonen Ace magazine in the '60s, he was... well, he was exactly what he sounds like. A gorilla who gained genius-level human intelligence and then tried to exact revenge on the entire human race.

While there are certainly people who would pay good money to see a movie where Batman had to battle against the scourge of super-intelligent gorillas—because seriously, if they're going to keep making Planet of the Apes movies, they might as well put Batman in at least one—the problem with Karmak might be that he's just too sympathetic to work as a villain. In the original story, even Robin admits "If I were a gorilla who got super-powers, I'd probably want to exact revenge on humans, too," and when you think about it like that, it might be the most solid argument for villainous behavior in the history of fiction.

The Super-Dictionary

If The LEGO Batman Movie proved anything, it's that a Batman film aimed at younger viewers can exist alongside a franchise that's trying to skew older and do just fine. Now that that's established, the logical next step is doing something that doesn't just appeal to kids, but works as an educational project too. In other words, the world is crying out for an adaptation of 1978's The Super Dictionary.

Even if you've never read it, you've almost certainly seen bits and pieces of The Super Dictionary floating around the internet, because the people behind it decided to use the weirdest possible examples to help kids learn new words. This is the book that taught us that Superman routinely delivers teaspoons to a giant who doesn't have any, and that Lex Luthor stole 40 cakes—and that's terrible.

But it also gave us a moment that won't end up in a movie no matter how much it should: Batman rolling on the floor laughing his ass off while Green Lantern does his best to be serious. And honestly, he should laugh: whatever a guy with a magic ring from space is trying to tell a highly trained science ninja who just happens to like dressing up as a scary dracula is probably going to be pretty hilarious if you really think about it.

"Robin Dies At Dawn"

If you were looking for a great story that dealt with the psychological trauma inherent in the idea of Batman, you could do a lot worse than to go back to Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff's "Robin Dies At Dawn." Originally printed in 1963's Batman #156, it's arguably the single best Batman story of the decade, showing a Batman who's struggling with, and ultimately overcoming, paralyzing fear that his life as a superhero will inevitably lead only to more death and suffering—specifically to Robin's, which would cause him to lose his only family a second time.

Of course, it's also a story that opens with Batman battling aliens in space and ends with him fighting crooks while wearing most of a gorilla costume over his bat costume because he's too afraid of bats, so, you know, there's that. As much as the themes might feel modern, the storytelling is pure Silver Age, with Batman volunteering to help an experiment on "space medicine" and ending up plagued by hallucinations of an alien world where he saw Robin die, leading him to temporarily give up on crimefighting until he gets his groove back.

That said, of all the stories on this list, this is the one that might actually make it. In 2008, Grant Morrison and Tony Daniel recontextualized it as a psychological experiment meant to break Batman down over the course of years, with the "space medicine" doctor being reintroduced as one of his deadliest enemies. That's the kind of thing the films can definitely work with, but we're guessing if they do, that gorilla suit ain't gonna make the cut.