ByMarlon McDonald, writer at
Umm... are you going to drink that Skooma?
Marlon McDonald

With a highly anticipated slate of movies and TV series already winning plaudits and set to come out in the next few years, things are certainly looking up for Warner Bros. and DC. But it wasn't always rosy for the two giants of entertainment.

Not too long ago, DC had a crazy amount of trouble trying to get some of their most beloved comic book IPs onto the screens and TVs, after a certain Bruckheimer helmed super-movie nearly ruined the fun for nearly everyone.

Join me as I look back at a few examples of when DC supermovies were not exactly monarchs of the box office:

1. Darren Aronofsky's Batman: Year One

Smelt his own feet.
Smelt his own feet.

To be honest, it's a damn shame that Aronofsky's take on the Bat didn't come to pass, because it sounded like the hard hitting, R-rated, Bat-noir escapade that was deserving after the neon madness that was Batman Forever and Batman & Robin.

With a script written by none other than Frank Miller, who also penned the source material, Batman would have been a penniless, street-level vigilante without the mansion/cave, the expensive gadgets and privilege.

Bruce Wayne would have been a homeless youth, taken in by Big Al - a black, car mechanic that would have been this tale's Alfred. Al teaches him to fix up cars, which he would later use to create the Batmobile out of an old Lincoln Continental.

Wayne would learn his incredible martial arts and detective skills from reading books, rather than swanning around the globe and learning from veritable masters. Interesting proposition, right?

2. David E. Kelley's Wonder Woman

Imagine that face chasing after you...
Imagine that face chasing after you...

Diana Prince has had a tough time in trying to reestablish herself as a televisual behemoth, what with two shows failing miserably, to take off like the Invisible Plane in a wind storm. But Kelley's Wonder Woman was especially special.

This was an attempt at a modern telling of the goddess, where during the day she was the corporate executive of a company that sold... Wonder Woman merchandise (so meta). And at night, she'd be hopping about town, beating the living crap out of goons.

The pilot received unanimously poor reviews - and "poor" is an understatement - which caused the show to be dropped from a lofty height into the bin designated "nope" for all "nopes."

One of the main arguments being that the show was completely tone deaf when regarding superheroes, which is a slayer seeing as it was a show about a superhero.

3. Justice League of America

Running away from fame.
Running away from fame.

What was it with 1997 and its hatred of superhero IPs? That fateful year saw the release of the infamous Batman & Robin, and witnessed the birth and subsequent death of CBS' Justice League TV show.

The super-show interpretation of the crime fighting BFFs had to make do without two of its greatest draws - Batman and Superman, and was supposedly based on the comic series of the same name. But that's where the main problems kicked in.

Reviewers weren't particularly withholding of their scorn, mainly lambasting the characters' huge deviations from the source material. The costumes were pretty bad (notice how Green Lantern looks blue...), its comedic tone was laughable for the wrong reasons and what was up with those weird character interviews?

CBS eventually decided to pass on the show after the negative reviews, of which there were many.

4. J.J. Abrams' Superman: Flyby

Henry Cavill's Super-Test
Henry Cavill's Super-Test

A bit before Abrams swept in and saved both the Treks and Wars of the Stars (arguable, I know), he was in line to make the Man of Steel valid again. Flyby was in the early stages of development from 2002 to 2004, and even saw Henry Cavill and Amy Adams come in to test!

The movie would have seen Superman take on evil members of his Kryptonian family, after they follow him to Earth to finish off the Kryptonian Civil War and end him once and for all. Which they were successful with! Superman dies, visits his dad in Alien Heaven and gets pep talked into resurrection. What?

Unfortunately, casting problems, disagreements on shooting location and Bryan Singer's Superman Returns pitch got in the way of the this coming to fruition. Shame really, this sounds like it would've been crazy enough to maybe work...

5. Tim Burton's Superman Lives

Nic Cage looking as perplexed at the costume as us
Nic Cage looking as perplexed at the costume as us

The story of this ill-fated comic book tale is already well known, but how interesting would it have been? Superman V, later Superman Reborn then Superman Lives, was originally going to work off a script penned by Kevin Smith, and based on the "Death of Superman" arc.

Tim Burton jumped on board, after Robert Rodriguez and said no, and brought long time Superman fan Nicholas Cage along to play the titular hero, and after numerous rewrites, polar bears, giant robot spiders and loads of villains amongst the other crazy reasons, Lives never found its footing and slipped into the abyss of "nopes."

(Sources: Nerdist, Newsarama, Wiki, i09)


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