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Rumors about the project known as BATMAN 5 began even before the fourth fiilm in the BATMAN series was released. The first rumors that broke had the next movie being a sequel to the previous four films. The Scarecrow was to be the main villian and the franchise was to return to its "dark" roots. Mark Protosovich was tapped to write the script that was said to be titled BATMAN TRIUMPHANT. Then "IT" happened. BATMAN & ROBIN premiered in June of '97. Flat out, the movie SUCKED. The resulting poor reaction was felt by WB where it hurt the most: in the pocketbook. The reaction by the Bat-fans was felt where it hurt the most: in the heart. By late summer-early fall, the demise of the Bat-franchise was making its way around the internet.

The next rumors had the movie taking on many different versions. One had Clint Eastwood taking up the cape and cowl in a movie version of The Dark Knight Returns. Then the likes of John Travolta, Kurt Russell, Alec Baldwin, and even Tom Cruise as the Bat churned on the rumor-mill. All proved to be false. Then in the summer of '98, things began to take shape.

Joel Schumacher, director of the previous two Bat-films (and the Antichrist to many fans!) made it well known that he was not through with the franchise. He had approached WB with an idea for the next Bat-film. He wanted to make a film version of a Batman comic written in the 80's by Frank Miller. It was not TDKR as many had expected, but BATMAN: YEAR ONE. It was Schumacher's intent to restart the frachise and, according to him, give the Bat-fans the movie that they deserved. Several names have been attached to star as the Bat in this project. Brenden Frazier was one of the first. Ben Affleck, however, seems to be the favorite as the young Bruce Wayne. Affleck, in fact, has gone public denying he is involved with the project. Nevertheless, Ben is a top choice for the role if WB goes with Y1.

Other rumors? Within the past year, two possible versions of B5 made their way around the net; both were said to be sequels. One was called BATMAN: DARKNIGHT. This script was said to feature the Scarecrow as the main villian and included Man-Bat as sort-of a tragic character. The other was called BATMAN: JOKER'S REVENGE. This script by Ian Mansfield, was not commissioned by WB. It featured the return, somehow, of the Joker from the original BATMAN. This script recieved a lot of run on the net and met with positive fan reaction. The exact status of this script is unknown as of now. Also in '99, word of a Batman/Superman team-up film was reported. Called WORLD'S FINEST, it would have joined the two struggling franchises in hopes of jump-starting them back to stability. Director Richard Donner was said to be behind the project. Rumor had it that Donner wanted Mel Gipson and Daniel Day-Lewis as the Bat and Supes respectively. Again, like all the other rumors, it was short lived.

So what is the current status of B5? Well it seems that there are two possible choices. One is the before mentioned YEAR ONE. This has been the strongest and candidate among all the rumors. The other choice is a live-action version of the popular animated series BATMAN BEYOND. From what I can gather from my sources, it is about a 50-50 chance that one or the other will be the next Bat-film. WB wants somthing different and both projects would indeed do that. However, a monkey-wrench has been thrown in. A proposed TV series titled BRUCE WAYNE, about the pre-bat adventures of the millionaire playboy, is in the works. Word has it that WB FILM feels that it is in direct competition with a Y1 movie. The two may not be able to co-exist. So...

We should soon know what will happen. WB intends to make a decision on what they intend to do with the movie franchise in early 2000. I look for BATMAN 5, whatever it ends up being, to be playing on the silver screen by summer, 2002.

January 2000

UPDATED 9/7/00! As I write this, two separted Bat-films are in the works. One will be a live-action BATMAN BEYOND; which is being written by Paul Dini and Alan Burnett and directed by Boaz Yakin. The other will now most likely be a sequel to the last 4 films, but with a new look, cast, etc.

UPDATED 9/24/00! YEAR ONE has been confirmed. No sequel as written above. YEAR ONE, written by Darren Aronofsky and Frank Miller, and directed by Aronofsky, will restart the entire Bat-series.

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