A three-hour cut of Batman Forever allegedly exists and delves into Bruce Wayne's psychology, but it has not been released.
1995 delivered one of the most underrated superhero films ever made: Batman Forever. Directed by the late Joel Schumacher, this film fused the darkness of Tim Burton’s Batman with the campiness of Adam West’s, but as reported by Startefacts, a three-hour director’s cut of the movie exists that delves deeper into the psychology of Bruce Wayne. Fans of the film have united on Twitter with #ReleaseTheSchumacherCut as a rallying cry to get this alleged version of the movie out of the vault and to the masses.
Batman Forever stars Val Kilmer as the caped crusader facing off with Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face and Jim Carrey as the Riddler. The film also served as the first live-action appearance of Batman’s sidekick, Robin, on the big screen since Burt Ward donned his yellow tights in 1966.
The film saw Bruce Wayne struggle not only against the villainous duo, but against inner demons. He confronted his dark past with the help of Dr. Chase Meridian, Wayne’s Batman-obsessed psychologist and love interest played by Nicole Kidman.
Rumors of a longer, darker Batman Forever started on Marc Bernardin and Kevin Smith’s Fatman Beyond podcast. Bernardin said a reliable source revealed to him that a 170-minute cut of the movie was presented to Warner Bros. This version explored Bruce Wayne’s traumatic past in greater detail, more thoroughly examining the psychological obstacles he failed to overcome.
According to Bernardin, Warner Bros. rejected the film wholeheartedly. The studio sought to make a Batman film suitable for children; their concern was with selling toys. They signed Jim Carrey as the Riddler in Batman Forever as a means of distancing the franchise from the darkness of Batman Returns, and they had no intention of deviating from the new direction.
Kevin Smith noted that he would love to see Warner Bros. release the director’s cut of Batman Forever, saying that the studio’s decision to release Zack Snyder’s Justice League on HBO Max made anything possible. Fans of the film seem to agree and have taken Twitter by storm with #ReleaseTheSchumacherCut, hoping to repeat the outcome of Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
Smith is right; the release of Zack Snyder’s director’s cut of Justice League set a new precedent. Given the popularity of Batman, the world’s rekindled love of Val Kilmer, and the impending return of Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader, the stars could align to bring Batman Forever back in a whole new light.
Joel Schumacher has become a controversial name among Batman fans. While many love Batman Forever, Schumacher followed the film with the universally maligned Batman & Robin. The director later apologized for the film, saying he never meant to upset anyone and only wished to make a fun movie.
Joel Schumacher died of cancer in June 2020. As Kevin Smith noted, a release of the director’s original vision for Batman Forever is one more way fans could honor the filmmaker’s legacy. In addition to his Batman films, Schumacher directed classics like St. Elmo’s Fire, The Lost Boys, A Time to Kill, Phone Booth, and 2004’s The Phantom of the Opera.
Over time, the dark interpretation of Batman has won out over the campy. If Warner Bros. does release the Schumacher cut, there is no doubt fans will be standing by to watch. If and when this will happen is a riddle all its own.