How Nicolas Cage almost played The Scarecrow in a Batman flick

The Joel Schumacher era of the Batman franchise is one we'd all rather pretend didn't happen, but there was a time when Warner Bros. was so confident in the director that they wanted him to come back for a third installment. His villain choice: Nicolas Cage as the Scarecrow.

Though Schumacher's Batman and Robin is almost universally despised now, before it was released Warner Bros. was actually pretty happy with it, so happy that they were already working on a sequel—Batman Triumphant—to be directed by Schumacher. The flick would have featured Batman and Robin returning to battle The Scarecrow, who would have apparently used his fear toxins to induce hallucinations of Batman's nemesis, The Joker (a clever of way of slipping in a Jack Nicholson cameo, since Nicholson was still under contract with the studio at the time).

In an interview to promote his new film Trespass (which stars Cage), Schumacher explains (in part) why it never happened:

"I was supposed to do a fifth one, I was talking to Nic Cage about playing the Scarecrow. I had begged the studio for [the Frank Miller comic] 'The Dark Knight [Returns],' but they wanted a family friendly, toyetic thing.

"And I gave up a lot of money, but, no regrets. I have awards for selling more Batman toys than anyone in the world." In regards to 'Batman and Robin,' he was convinced he made 'the wrong choice' but says, "I did my job. It was more family friendly and it sold a lot of toys, and it supported the Warner Bros. stores. But I did disappoint a lot of fans."

We all know what happened next. Schumacher was added to the enemies list of every fanboy in the Western hemisphere, and the Batman franchise sank into development hell until Batman Begins revived it in 2005. As for Cage, after losing chances to play both The Scarecrow and Superman (in Tim Burton's aborted Superman Lives), he wound up settling for the comic book move spotlight in Ghost Rider.

We're probably all glad Schumacher didn't return to the Batman franchise, but we can still ponder the alternate universe implications of Nic Cage as a Batman villain.

(via Comic Book Movie)

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