Ever since the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut successfully led to the release of Zack Snyder’s version of the Justice League, many such hashtags have trended on Twitter like #ReleaseTheAyerCut of 2016’s critically panned Suicide Squad. While that failed to generate any results and we will instead be getting James Gunn’s reenvisioned The Suicide Squad soon, another hashtag is trending on Twitter- #ReleaseTheSchumacherCut of 1995’s Batman Forever.
On the 26th anniversary of the film, fans of Schumacher took to Twitter to demand Warner Bros to release the original cut of the film which is reportedly much better than the critically panned theatrical release. Not only was Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever tonally different from other directors’ take on the DC character because of its more campy adaptation of the caped crusader’s story, but it was also very different from how the director had originally envisioned it. In fact, this is not the first time that fans of Batman Forever have campaigned for the release of its original cut.
After Joel Schumacher died in June last, the news of the possible existence of a Schumacher Cut of Batman Forever started doing the rounds. Evidently, the light-hearted, goofy film that was released in 1995 and attracted a cult following was not how Schumacher wanted the story to unfold. Apparently, he shot many other plot points that never made it to the final cut of the film, like a different opening scene where Tommy Lee Jones’ Two-Face escapes from Arkham Asylum along with a much longer sequence of Jim Carrey’s Riddler invading the Batcave and using his signature cane as a weapon.
This version of the Batman film had a darker tone, had less of Dick Grayson, and delved deeper into Bruce Wayne’s mental health. In fact, the original cut also had Bruce forgetting that he is Batman after he gets amnesia. He would have regained his memories, including his self-made promise of being Gotham’s protector after he encountered a vision of a human-sized bat in the Batcave. The soul of the film was him embracing his destiny to be the Dark Knight all over again, something which inspired the title of the film in the first place.
While Warner Bros. confirmed last year to Variety that a Schumacher Cut of Batman Forever did exist with about 50 minutes of additional footage that was shot by the director. They also established that there are no plans of ever releasing this original cut especially since much of the original footage is no longer available. But in April this year, Batman Forever screenwriter Akiva Goldsman shared that he had seen the original cut, which is “really dark” and “a pretty psychological exploration of guilt and shame.” He revealed that all the footage needed to make and release the Schumacher cut is still available.
So, now all that remains to be seen is whether #ReleaseTheSchumacherCut manages to have the same effect for Batman Forever as #ReleaseTheSnyderCut had for Justice League. While the hashtag started trending on the 26th anniversary of the release of Batman Forever and has already amassed close to 30k tweets, which speaks volumes about the films loyal fans, it might not be enough to push Warner Bros. to release the original cut. The hashtag trended last year as well, aided by the unfortunate demise of Schumacher, and sadly, it couldn’t achieve its desired result. But still, the trend is currently in its prime and maybe this time, it will succeed in allowing fans to see Schumacher’s real vision for his first Batman film.