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World's Finest

Hey, speaking of Batman, "reboot" wasn't the only path Warner Bros. was considering for salvaging their onetime superhero cash cow. Along with having Schumacher return for Batman Triumphant (with Jeff Goldblum as Scarecrow) and a live-action Batman Beyond, there was also interest in what would've then been the first live-action superhero team-up movie: Batman vs. Superman.

This project got fairly far along. Wolfgang Petersen was signed to direct, Josh Hartnett and Jude Law were in the running for Superman while Christian Bale and Colin Farrell were the top choices for Batman, and they had a script from Andrew Kevin Walker - which was then rewritten by Batman & Robin scribe Akiva Goldsman. The project fell apart, however, when Warners decided to re-introduce the characters as individuals first, leading to the development of Batman Begins and Superman Returns, respectively.

What would they have been fighting over? Goldsman's script is said to have found the two heroes in the midlife crisis of their respective careers. Clark Kent and Lois Lane are divorced, Bruce Wayne is getting married and planning to retire as Batman. Alfred and Robin are both dead, and this takes place in the same continuity as the Schumacher/Burton Batman movies - although, as near as I can tell, Bruce Wayne's fiancée from this film is not Elle MacPherson's character from Batman & Robin. (Admit it: You totally forgot Bruce Wayne had an utterly superfluous girlfriend subplot in that movie.)

Our inciting incident(s)? Superman foils a terrorist attack, but accidentally allows the mystery perpetrator to escape when he prevents a mob of citizens from lynching him. Not long after that, Bruce Wayne's new wife is murdered on their honeymoon by someone using The Joker's (still dead in this continuity, remember) Smilex Toxin. Bruce takes Batman out of mothballs to beat some answers out of the underworld, and soon discovers that the killer he's seeking is The Joker, somehow back from the dead, and - but you've already guessed it, right? - he (Joker) was the terrorist Superman allowed to escape. Concluding that this means his wife's death is therefore Superman's fault, Batman steals a secret cache of Kryptonite the army had been sitting on and uses it to build a Kryptonite-infused suit of Bat-armor that will let him go toe-to-toe with his onetime ally. Lex Luthor, The Toyman and Lana Lang also appear, and no prizes for guessing that the whole thing turns out to be a scheme by the bad guys (Joker is a clone, incidentally) to get the good guys to kill each other.

Dino-Wars

It's kind of incredible that there have only been three Jurassic Park movies. You'd think Hollywood would be more eager to exploit a well-known name brand whose premise allows you to just drop rampaging dinosaurs into any scenario you can think of. We're supposed to be getting a 4th film in the near future, and the only thing that can be said for certain about it is that it won't be as strange as the one we almost got seven years ago.

Back in 2007, screenwriting legends John Sayles and William Monahan (go look up their respective filmographies - impressive!) handled in a script for Jurassic Park 4 at the behest of Steven Spielberg that would've taken the entire franchise in a radical new direction. Oddball spec scripts for well-known franchises are nothing new to Hollywood (Predator allegedly began life as Rambo vs. An Alien pitch) but few of them have ever gotten so close to production while being such a dramatic tonal shift as JP4 would've been.

The premise? In an alleged attempt to counteract a growing wild dinosaur epidemic, a mercenary is hired to retrieve that Burma Shave can full of stolen dino embryos Dennis Nedry died trying to spirit out of the original Jurassic Park. But instead of merely making domesticated population-thinning predators, a shadowy corporate agency breeds a team of super-intelligent, partially-human dinosauroid creatures genetically modified and trained to use weapons and tactical gear as part of a Dinosaur Commando Team ... who are then dispatched on a big, James Bond-esque "save the world" adventure.

... I honestly have nothing to add to that.

Bob Chipman is a film critic and independent filmmaker. If you've heard of him before, you have officially been spending way too much time on the internet.

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