Friday, March 9, 2018

Miscellaneous content: Two Batman Forever Scripts

Here's an interesting bit of reading - an early (possibly first) draft by Lee Batchler and Janet Scott Batchler and a production draft incorporating the revisions by Akiva Goldsman.

I'll likely do a more in-depth analysis comparing the two versions at some point but for now here's my "Cliff's Notes" version.

Some interesting things to note about the Batchler's draft:-
  • The story beats in the finished film are pretty much all there. A couple are out of sequence such as Bruce meeting Edward before putting on the batsuit and foiling Two-Face's robbery.
  • The Batchler's script has the Riddler's real identity be Lyle Heckendorf rather than Edward Nygma.
  • His company is called HeckTech (get it, as in hectic).
  • Dr Chase MeridiAn is Dr Chase MeridiEn (pedantic I know).
  • There are flashbacks to Bruce and his father at the beginning but nothing about the red book (diary) that were in the deleted scenes.
  • Batman has sex (off-screen) with Chase but keeps his mask on!
  • The Bruce dialogue still feels Michael Keaton-ish. There's a bit where he turns up at WayneTech and mischievously demands that everyone stop working for 5 seconds. Not sure, but that feels like a Keaton moment.
  • Lyle is present at the Circus scene - disguised as a fortune teller dressed as a leprechaun. He sees Two-Face fleeing the scene and follows him. The leprechaun costume ends up becoming The Riddler costume.
  • Sugar and Spice are called Leather and Lace.
  • There are a few sections set on a talk-show hosted by Vondelle Millions who comments on what is happening in the story. These felt somewhat reminiscent of the TV commentators in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns.
  • Rather than giving Dick a telling off back at the cave Batman berates him immediately after getting rescued. Commissioner Gordon and a host of reporters turn up not long after and Batman is forced to explain that the costumed boy is his new partner Robin.
  • There's a long series of scenes with Bruce and Dick training while Bruce explains the rules of being his crime fighting partner.
  • The scene of Bruce remembering who he is by going into the Batcave and confronting a giant bat is present here.
  • The Riddler's Lair is creepier and more maze-like. I can picture what Burton would have done had he directed the film.
  • At the Riddler's Lair, Batman encounters a holographic room that makes him witness his parents being shot.
  • When Two Face has Robin, Batman and Chase cornered Batman doesn't throw extra coins to confuse Two Face. He just tells Two Face to use his coin and he ends up slipping off the steel beam.
Some interesting things to note about the Akiva Goldsman draft:-
  • Dialogue is mostly changed and closer to the finished film. The Riddler's lines in particular seem to have been tailored to Jim Carrey.
  • Vondelle Millions talk-show remains in this script.
  • Goldsman added the red book (diary) subplot that can be seen in the deleted scenes.
  • There's a nod early on that Bruce is working on a Sonar Suit so that's it's a not a surprise when it turns up at the end.
  • Edward Nygma tests his prototype box on his landlady Mrs Lucertola.
  • Goldsman introduces the minor plot point about the dream doll.
  • There's a scene where Two Face and the Riddler use the hypnotic Box to steal the jewels and money from the audience at an opera.
  • The part where Batman confronts Two-Face in the tunnel is more elaborate. He ends up having to fight a group of snowboarders (!) before Two-Face sets off the gas explosion.
  • Jack Napier is name checked as is Selina Kyle and Oswald Cobblepot firmly setting this as a sequel to the two Burton films.
  • There's no sequence with Nygma trying to come up with a costume and title.
  • There are only placeholders for the riddles, they were obviously figured out just before production.
  • Oh, and lastly there's no Batmobile driving up a wall scene. According to a magazine interview Joel Schumacher came up with that whole sequence.

Here are the links to view the PDFs and download.

Batman Forever - Early Draft by Lee and Janet Scott Batchler

Batman Forever - Production Draft by Akiva Goldsman


  1. The Batchlers wrote lines of Batman, Two-Face, Chase Meridian, and Riddler with Michael Keaton, Tommy Lee Jones, Nicole Kidman, and Robin Williams in mind.

  2. When 'Batman: The Animated Series' was released, Kenner produced a new line of toys that was based on this movie. With this line of figures, Kenner introduced some new villains like Clay face, Scarecrow and Poison Ivy. afdah 1

    1. Right. They also release The Joker, Two-Face, and The Penguin. For starters, Hasbo and Mattel later produced those toylines.

  3. Costs can without much of a stretch go up to more than $60,000 for adaptations redid with precious stones.