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Old August 30th, 2012, 02:50 AM
Zacoftheaxes Zacoftheaxes is offline
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The Rise of the Nerd

In 1984, Tim Burton was nearly fired from Disney for his short film Frankenweenie. In hindsight it was an incredibly risky move as it was a very dark story from the company that told the stories of princesses and talking animals. However, someone higher up saw that Burton had a lot of creativity and sat him down and discussed how he could better contribute to Disney.

What if however, he was fired in 1984? I remember hearing that Warner Brothers wanted him to direct their Batman adaptations but obviously could not, and thus they settled for Raimi. Could we see a Burton directed Batman?
-Zacoftheaxes, Alternatehistory.com, "WI: Burton fired from Disney in the 80s?"

I wonder if the big superhero craze in the 1990's still happens? Does James Cameron still make Watchmen? Does Thor still happen? What about all the other superhero movies?... Then again, part of that may be a blessing in disguise. :P
-vultan, Alternatehistory.com, "WI: Burton fired from Disney in the 80s?"

This is going to have big repercussions. The decline of quality in comic book adaptations are what made Nolan's Akira a hit in 2002. Then you had the anime adaptation boom and the video game adaptation boom that came with it. This could mean Trigun trilogy by Nolan or no Gurren Lagann by Joss Whedon, Hayter's Metal Gear films will probably stick around.
-Odysseus, Alternatehistory.com, "WI: Burton fired from Disney in the 80s?"


Without the influence of Burton on Disney, I wonder if the "gothic" trend would have the same influence as it had on pre-teens and teens as well in the 1990s
-MaskedPickle, Alternatehistory.com, "WI: Burton fired from Disney in the 80s?"


~~~

The Rise of the Nerd

~~~

A young Bruce Wayne arrives to a movie theater with his parents Thomas (played by Ted Raimi) and Martha (played by Kate Harper) to see the film Zorro. After the show Bruce and his parents walk by an alley when a thug named Joe Chill (played by Colin Friels) approaches them and demands their money. Thomas Wayne begins to hand over their money when Chill is frightened by the noise of sirens and shoots both Thomas and Martha dead before running off.

Years later, Bruce Wayne (played by Liam Neeson) being interviewed by Vicki Vale (Frances McDormand). Vale mentions that Chill is coming up for parole and Bruce says he hopes it is denied. Vale continues to talk to Wayne after the interview, asking him what he thinks about the rumors of a "Batman" which Bruce says he finds ridiculous. After Vale leaves, Bruce returns home and talking to his butler Alfred (played by Michael Gough) about the interview. Alfred says that Bruce should take Vicki Vale out on a date, which Bruce denies interest in. Bruce moves a bookcase and reveals a path to the Batcave, which he then enters. Bruce begins suiting up as Batman and leaves the cave in the Batmobile.

Meanwhile, an unnamed criminal (played by Robin Williams) robbing a chemical factory. On his way out of the factory he is confronted by Batman. The criminal, terrified runs away from Batman and tries to lose him on the second floor of the building. Batman however is already there when the criminal arrives, out of fear he falls into a vat of chemicals. After failing to rescue him, Bruce leaves. Bruce discusses giving up on being Batman with Alfred, who tells him it's not like himself to give up so easily.

The criminal escapes the vat of chemicals, his skin whited and clearly driven mad. He then robs a near by clothing store, stealing a purple suit and some make up, he tells the cashier that he's "just a joker".

Days later, Bruce Wanye sees Vicki Vale reporting outside of a bank which is being robbed. Batman shows up at the bank, taking down three criminals. Joker calls to Batman, showing that he has a hostage. Batman throws a batarang at Joker's hand, causing him to drop his gun. When it hits the floor, a "BANG!" flag comes out of the gun. Laughing, Joker opens his suit showing it to be filled with explosives. He declares "I'm the Joker, and I'm here to bring smiles back to Gotham." He throws a grenade full of laughing gas and makes his escape. Batman, laughing, runs over to a drinking fountain and then holds his breath while leading people out of the bank, telling the police to give them water. Before the police can question Batman, he disappears, but he has left a note for Commissioner Gordon (played by Harrison Ford) telling him to wait out on the roof of the Gotham Police Department Building at 11 o'clock that night. Batman and Gordon discuss how to take down the Joker, Batman says he will need the Gotham police to co-operate with him. Gordon reluctantly agrees.

Joker then attacks a circus with goons dressed as clowns. He has his lead goon, Greg (played by Bruce Campbell) watch out for Batman while he "has some fun" with his capitives. Batman arrives and quickly defeats Greg and ties him to a pole. When Batman finds the Joker his hands are covered in blood and he is laughing, and tells Batman he is too late. Batman and Joker briefly fight while Gordon and the police arrive. Batman has Joker pinned to the ground when a shot is fired into Batman's back by Greg. Joker escapes again, throwing more laughing gas at his hostages. The police come in to help an injured Batman rescue the hostages. Gordon offers to take Batman to a hospital, but Batman refuses, driving off on his own. An officer comments to Gordon that all the dead have had pies thrown at them.

Batman arrives back at the Batcave, bleeding and calling for Alfred. Alfred help Bruce remove the bullet and tends the wound and remarks the thankfully the bullet skimmed him. Bruce takes another day to recover. Alfred calls down to Bruce to tell him that the district attorney, Harvey Dent (played by James Woods) has been taken hostage by the Joker. Bruce suits up again, preparing to rescue Dent. Batman meets with Gordon who is unaware of Joker's location. Batman suggests that Joker is hiding within the abandoned chemical factory, which he states at one point produced laughing gas. The police surround the building but Joker says he will detonate a bomb if they enter the factory. Batman, looking through a window thinks he sees Joker holding a gun to Dent's head. He leaps though the body to find it was actually the bodies of two of Joker's henchmen. Joker laughs, telling Batman he "fell for the old fake Joker gag".Batman begins to fight the Joker and his henchmen. He pins the Joker to the ground and knocks him out.

Greg arrives with a gun to Dent's head. Greg beings to monolauge about how he's the real genius behind the Joker, and how he wouldn't be able to do anything if not for his backing. While he is ranting, Batman throws a Batarang at Greg, hitting him in left eye. Greg drops the gun and runs off screaming in pain. Batman unties Dent. As he does this, Joker awakens.

Joker laughs at Batman and explains that he was the criminal Batman knocked into the chemicals. He insists everything he did was Batman's fault. He admits to not having a bomb, but still having one more trick up his sleeve, pulling out a gun. Batman tackles Joker. He pulls the trigger, revealing another "BANG!" flag.

Gordon arrests Joker and his thugs, but comments that Greg isn't anywhere to be found. Batman says that if they find him he needs immediate medical attention.

Afterwards, Vicki Vale interviews Bruce Wayne and his newly adopted son, Dick Grayson (played by Christian Bale), whose parents died as a result of Joker's attack on the circus. After the interview, Wayne asks Vale if she'd be interesting in a lunch date. The film ends with the two of them discussing the identity of Batman over lunch.
-Plot summary of Batman, Batmanpedia.com

~~~

Batman (played by Liam Neeson) and Robin (played by Christian Bale) are on top of the Gotham Police Headquarters, discussing the recent downturn in crime with Commissioner Gordon (played by Harrison Ford). Their conversation is interrupted when Gordon receives a call that a robbery is taking place at a near by drugstore. Batman and Robin arrive to find Greg (played by Bruce Campbell) now with an eyepatch, tied to a chair and gagged. The store is ravaged and many drugs are stolen. A note with Bob says "Who was the one who defeated the cyclops? Tomorrow. 10 PM."

Batman, Robin, and Gordon begin discussing what the riddle could mean. Gordon mentions a nightclub named The Odyssey and they agree that it's the most likely target, Robin mentions he remembers seeing a bar named Nobody's. Batman asks Gordon and the police to order booth places to close down tomorrow night, and to have police show up at both locations as a precaution.

Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce and Dick discuss the days discovery with Alfred (played by Michael Gough). Alfred says that he remembers attending the opening of The Odyssey and that they've always had top notch security. Dick questions why Alfred would go to the Odyssey, asking if Alfred knows "What kind of club that is?" Alfred laughs and points out that he thinks the bar is the most likely target, since the Odyssey is difficult to break into. Bruce agrees. Afterward, Bruce talks to Vicki Vale (played by Frances McDormand) on the phone, setting up another date with her.

The next night, at 9 PM, Batman and Robin wait on top of a building overlooking Nobody's Bar. They see that the bar has not closed and that patrons are still inside the bar, unphased by the police presence outside. Batman gets Gordon's attention and meets with him in an alley next to the building. Gordon says he's not allowed to shut down the premise without clear and present danger without the approval of a city level or higher official. Gordon says that he called Harvey Dent (plated by James Woods) since his office is right across the street. Harvey arrives when bar patrons begin collapsing en masse. Riddler (played by Willem Dafoe) and his gang arrive, starting a fire fight with the police. Riddler and his gang manage to kidnap Harvey Dent in the crossfire. Ambulances arrive to help the injured officers and bar patrons. Inside the bar, Batman and Robin find another riddle. "What part of Gotham had it's best days long after it's last? Harvey should be familiar with it."

Batman and Robin discuss the possible locations of Dent, deciding that the abandoned chemical factory is the most likely location. They arrive at the factory and are ambushed by Riddler and his thugs, who tell them they are too late to save Harvey. Riddler brings out Harvey, now as Two-Face. Riddler tells Two Face to kill Batman, Two-Face debates whether he should. Two Face's debate turns into an arguement with himself, at a moment where Two Face is pointing his gun towards Riddler, Batman punches the thugs behind him and throws a batarang at Two Face's gun. Batman tries to rescue Two Face but he attacks Batman. Robin knocks out Riddler, and Batman decides it's best to escape with Riddler while they can.

Riddler arrives at his holding cell where Gordon proceeds to question him. Riddler refuses to give clear answers to any of the questions. Batman questions him a bit more violently, still receiving no answers. Gordon receives word that the mayor has been attacked and is in the hospital, he claims that Harvey Dent was the attacker. Batman leaves, heading back to the Batcave to pick up Robin, telling Alfred he needs to find Harvey, Alfred comments that Harvey loved media attention. Batman comments that all the news stations are at the hospital, reporting on the assassination attempt. Alfred suggests he goes there.

Vicki Vale is reporting outside the hospital when Two Face, with Riddler's gang members in tow, confronts her and holds her hostage on live television. Batman uses his Bathook to grab onto Two Face's arm, causing him to drop the gun while Robin jumps in to save Vicki. Batman and Robin defeat Two Face and his gang, managing to arrest them.

As Two Face is being taken to the Gotham Police station, an alarm goes off. all of the holding cells open, releasing multiple criminals. In the ensuing fight Two Face escapes. Batman heads over to Riddler's holding cell where he finds another riddle.

Painted in green paint on the wall, the riddle reads "There is nothing to be found behind bars." Batman and Robin debate the meaning for a while, deciding he's not talking about any prison in the city. Gordon suggests that they could be referring to the bar where Riddler first kidnapped Harvey. On the side of the bar opposite of the entrance Robin finds a stack of crates, leading to a passage way.

They find a "Riddlercave" and see all of the Riddler's plans. They hear a shot and Riddler scream. They reach a room full of question marks and see Two Face has shot a round into the ceiling to threaten Riddler. Batman tackles Two Face, but then Riddler stands up and hits him in the head with his cane. The two laugh and attempt to take down Robin, who breaks Riddler's cane and throws away Two Face's gun. Robin tries to hold the two of them off but is knocked down. Batman gets back up and takes down Riddler and Two Face.

Gordon takes Two Face and Riddler off to Arkham, being interviewed by Vicki Vale. As the interview concludes, Vale is shown being picked up by Bruce Wayne.
-Plot summary of Batman: The Dark Knight, batmanpedia.com
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I dunno, the Constitution Party seems to be pretty consistent with Klingon values.
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Old August 30th, 2012, 05:09 AM
Kalvan Kalvan is offline
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If this is made in the '80s, there's no way DeFoe plays The Riddler. He was still playing high school students. Nygma's a babyface, but not that much of a babyface.

If you want the manic Poor Man's Joker version of Riddler from Superfriends and Batman Forever, you need someone like Robin Williams or Jim Carrey, except Carrey's just broken out with Earth Girls Are Easy and In Living Color and probably can't get out of his contract yet, and Williams is already Joker. The only other guy who could make it work would be Steve Buschemi, who is a total non-entity at this time. If you want a more cerebral, Jigsaw-like verson from post-Crisis comics or Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, I would suggest John Astin or William H. Macy.

Also, Neeson back in the '80s would have sounded way too Irish. If we need a Bruce with bonna-fide action movie cred, I would suggest Jim Belushi. I know, comedy stigma, but it's counterbalanced by K9 and Red Heat.
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Old August 30th, 2012, 05:21 AM
ANARCHY_4_ALL ANARCHY_4_ALL is offline
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Epic. One of my fave parts... This could mean Trigun trilogy by Nolan.... I can't wait for your next installments.
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Old August 30th, 2012, 05:38 AM
Zacoftheaxes Zacoftheaxes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalvan View Post
If this is made in the '80s, there's no way DeFoe plays The Riddler. He was still playing high school students. Nygma's a babyface, but not that much of a babyface.

If you want the manic Poor Man's Joker version of Riddler from Superfriends and Batman Forever, you need someone like Robin Williams or Jim Carrey, except Carrey's just broken out with Earth Girls Are Easy and In Living Color and probably can't get out of his contract yet, and Williams is already Joker. The only other guy who could make it work would be Steve Buschemi, who is a total non-entity at this time. If you want a more cerebral, Jigsaw-like verson from post-Crisis comics or Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, I would suggest John Astin or William H. Macy.

Also, Neeson back in the '80s would have sounded way too Irish. If we need a Bruce with bonna-fide action movie cred, I would suggest Jim Belushi. I know, comedy stigma, but it's counterbalanced by K9 and Red Heat.
Willem Dafoe was actually considered to play The Joker in OTL's Batman. I figured Riddler, being a babyface was a better pick.

Liam Neeson played the "couldn't get the rights to Batman so I'll make my own character" Darkman in 1990 just one year later and didn't come off as too irish.

The casting will be explained in a later update. Raimi and the studio bicker with each other a lot.

Also this is 90s.
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I dunno, the Constitution Party seems to be pretty consistent with Klingon values.

Last edited by Zacoftheaxes; August 30th, 2012 at 06:38 AM..
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Old August 30th, 2012, 05:40 AM
BigWillyG BigWillyG is offline
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Please tell me this POD prevents the abortion of a movie called Batman & Robin?
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Old August 30th, 2012, 01:11 PM
Brainbin Brainbin is offline
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So it begins! Consider me subscribed
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Old August 30th, 2012, 01:44 PM
euromellows euromellows is offline
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Please tell me this POD prevents the abortion of a movie called Batman & Robin?
Lol. This is sigworthy.

P.S. Interesting timeline.
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Old August 30th, 2012, 02:51 PM
Orville_third Orville_third is offline
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This is a cool TL! I have to follow this!

Would there be a Paul Dini Zatanna movie? (Zee could sort of be considered Gothic...)

And, how would Disney react?
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I'm voting for the fairy princess, because that sounds most plausible.
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Old August 30th, 2012, 06:05 PM
Willmatron Willmatron is offline
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MY friend suggested Crispin Glover as Joker.
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Old August 30th, 2012, 07:55 PM
MaskedPickle MaskedPickle is offline
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Looks very good. Very honored of my cameo in this alternate TL!
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Old August 30th, 2012, 10:44 PM
thekingsguard thekingsguard is offline
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Another reboot? If we can get to the year 2000 this time, I'm OK with it haha

Here's an idea for you - maybe in the late 1990s, do an early version of the Expendables. Bring back the action hero a decade ahead of schedule!
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Old September 6th, 2012, 03:23 AM
vultan vultan is offline
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It all began with a comic book.

As is common knowledge to fans of the medium, said comic book was commissioned by DC Comics, and was intended to feature pre-existing characters, acquired from Charlton Comics; but writer Alan Moore and illustrator David Gibbons took that kernel of an idea, and expanded it into a story that would redefine the superhero genre. Throughout 1986 and 1987, Watchmen was published as a limited series. A tale of alternative history, it explored what the latter part of the 20th century might have actually looked like had masked vigilantes existed in America. A groundbreaking deconstruction of the superhero story, it portrayed the “heroes” as deeply flawed, morally ambiguous, and in some cases just plain unlikable. Together with Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, published around the same time, it ushered in a new era of “dark and gritty” comics (which was not what author Alan Moore had intended, and was indeed something that he would come to bemoan). Given its popularity and acclaim, there were naturally those who wanted to ride on the success of Watchmen.

Needless to say, the inevitable film adaptation had a storied production history. In August 1986 (one month prior to the publication of the first issue), producer Lawrence Gordon acquired the film rights to Watchmen for 20th Century Fox, with producer Joel Silver assigned to work on the film. Fox asked author Alan Moore to write a screenplay based on his story, but after Moore declined, the studio enlisted screenwriter Sam Hamm. On September 9, 1988, Hamm turned in his first draft, but said that condensing a 338-page, nine-panel-a-page comic book into a 128-page script was "arduous". He took the liberty of re-writing Watchmen's complicated ending into a "more manageable" conclusion involving an assassination and a time paradox.

However, the studio wasn’t seriously invested in producing a film based on the graphic novel, at least not to begin with. In fact, 20th Century Fox nearly put the film into turnaround in 1991. The reasons for this are unclear, but it appears that executives thought the concept "too dark" for a mainstream comic book adaptation. It didn’t help that the screenplay called for a film that would almost certainly net a “hard” R-rating, unprecedented for a superhero movie. With budget projections being at least $100 million, Fox probably felt that that the money could be more safely invested into other projects. In short, it wasn’t a priority for the studio.

However, after much wrangling, Gordon was able to convince the studio to greenlight the project. Part of this was due to the lobbying of Sam Raimi on behalf of the comic. The immense success of Batman had given Raimi the clout to start producing superhero movies based on more obscure properties, as well as continuing his own Batman film series. Thor was in post-production at the time, and he had other superhero projects getting ready on the horizon. Though he had no official part in the production, Silver would credit Raimi for getting Watchmen off the ground. In December 1991, Fox aborted the turnaround and gave the project a starting budget of $100,000,000 to begin post-production.

Before a director was chosen, Silver made it his goal to get one particular actor on board: Arnold Schwarzenegger. He wanted an A-list actor to help bring attention to the project, and as Silver had produced his star vehicles Commando and Predator, the men were already well acquainted. Convinced that the Austrian would make a perfect Dr. Manhattan, he arranged a lunch date with the actor in February, 1992 to pitch the role to him. After the story had been thoroughly explained to Schwarzenegger, he was intrigued by the possibilities, going home and reading the comic book in preparation for making negotiations. In the end, the actor agreed to the project, on one condition: he wanted to play Ozymandias, not Dr. Manhattan. For one thing, Schwarzenegger identified with Adrian Veidt’s character more, because like him, the character had an immigrant, self-made man background. In addition, he was uncomfortable with the idea of being represented by a glowing blue computer-generated character for over 90% of his screentime. Silver accepted this counter-proposal, and Arnold Schwarzenegger was the first to join the cast of Watchmen. (This decision would become controversial for a variety of reasons: some purist fans of the comic books argued that Veidt was supposed to be more slender and agile than Schwarzenegger; Gordon, on the other hand, was annoyed for the far more concrete reason that Ozymandias didn’t have as much screentime as the most of the other main characters, but Arnold would still be paid a hefty $12 million for the role.)

Meanwhile, after re-reading the comic, Gordon decided that he was unsatisfied with Sam Hamm’s screenplay. “It’s fine, but it’s not really Watchmen,” he reportedly said. He quickly and quietly shopped for a new writer (in both cases because he was afraid that the studio would be angered if they knew the project they were going ahead with was not at all close to the one they had approved). He stumbled across Joss Whedon, a relative newcomer to the world of screenwriting, whose biggest accomplishment was writing the film Buffy The Vampire Slayer - due out in July - but who, by many accounts, was very talented. After hiring him in early January, ostensibly as a script doctor, Gordon told him that he wanted an entirely new screenplay, closer to the original comic, by mid-March. After reading the comic, Whedon burned through several drafts, all of which dissatisfied him. He finally produced what he felt to be a worthy script in late February after, as he put it, “typing while reading the comic in my lap, before going back in to add stuff and cut more stuff out. Confusion reduction, I call it”. Most notably, many of the plots involving the minor characters were substantially reduced, or even in some cases cut altogether.

In the meantime, Gordon was also on a search for directors. Negotiations were in place with Frank Marshall (Arachnophobia), John McTiernan (Predator), Roland Emmerich (Universal Soldier), and others, but neither Gordon nor Silver was satisfied. Their project would involve unprecedented levels of special effects, and they wanted an established and experienced director to tackle the project. However, Ridley Scott had already turned them down, along with Paul Verhoeven. They were almost ready to reluctantly offer the director's chair to Marshall when, in early March - incidentally, the day after Whedon turned in his final copy of the screenplay - Arnold Schwarzenegger called Silver and told them that he had a potential director.

James Cameron had already worked with Arnold Schwarzenegger twice before, on the two Terminator movies, and had planned yet another collaboration (tentative plans were for a remake the 1991 French comedy film La Totale!). However, Schwarzenegger had been sharing information with Cameron on the project, and the more he had heard of it, the more interested he became. When he asked if they had a director on board, Schwarzenegger told him that there was no one yet; he joked that it was it was a shame they didn’t have him, because they would absolutely need a director who “knew computer effects”. This got Cameron to thinking.

After going to a comic shop and flipping through Watchmen, Cameron was intrigued by how well the comic seemed to reflect on times in America. “It really was very zeitgeist-y”, the director said. “What with all the urban violence, the corruption, the ongoing spectacle that was the (1992) Democrat primaries, …(it) was interesting”. After a couple days of mulling it over, Cameron asked Schwarzenegger to contact the producers. Of course he had demands: he wanted to have final control over the screenplay and power to change it, and he would choose the rest of the cast and crew going forward. However, these steep demands concealed his own aspirations: Cameron really wanted to direct Watchmen because, as he put it: “this could be the biggest bomb ever or the best superhero movie of all. And I thought it was an appealing prospect to make the best superhero movie ever.” Negotiations went smoothly; Gordon and Silver were ready to give Cameron just about anything, because he was the high-profile director they had been searching for, and 20th Century Fox was more than happy with the arrangement, because all of the director’s prior films had been with their studio.

Thus, on March 20th, 1992, James Cameron signed on to direct a feature film adaptation of the Watchmen graphic novel series. The cast would be filled out by the end of the summer, as negotiations had already begun with several other actors for the other parts. Filming was scheduled to begin early in the next year (to accommodate Schwarzenegger's schedule), with the end product slated for a release in Summer, 1994.

With James Cameron now confirmed as the director and Arnold Schwarzenegger on board to play Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, the race was on to find actors to portray the rest of the superheroes. The studio soon caught whiff of the fact, however, that Schwarzenegger’s screentime would not be quite as substantial as originally hoped, so they requested that Cameron and the producers find at least one other high-profile actor to star in the film.
Negotiations and auditions were largely over by the end of August, and the cast filled out as follows:

Kurt Russell as Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl II - Action star Kurt Russell was secured to star as mild-mannered Dan Dreiberg, who in the universe of Watchmen was the second man to assume the mantle of Nite Owl, a “superhero with owl-themed gadgets”. Russell was initially skeptical of joining the production, because he was afraid it would just be a “Schwarzenegger movie”, therefore negating his own role (though he held nothing against the Austrian actor personally). However, after learning that Schwarzenegger had willingly consigned himself to a (relatively) small role, and it indeed would be a true ensemble production, he decided to accept (with a $6 million salary). For the role, Russell extensively worked out to gain a “superhero physique” for the flashback scenes, then gained eight pounds in fat and added glasses to portray a “superhero in decline” for the film’s “present”.

By accepting the role of Dan Dreiberg in Watchmen, however, Kurt Russell had to turn down a role in a science fiction movie director Roland Emmerich (who had been briefly considered as a candidate to direct Watchmen) and writer Dean Devlin were pitching, tentatively titled “Stargate”. The decision had to be made due to scheduling concerns. Frustrated, the writer/director duo would have to look for another actor for their lead…

Bruce Campbell as Edward Blake/The Comedian: Initially, Joel Silver wanted another action movie superstar, such as Bruce Willis or Sylvester Stallone to play the “smooth-talking but utterly ruthless and amoral character that Blake was”. However, because Arnold Schwarzenegger was already on board, other big-name actors were in negotiations, and James Cameron was directing, Gordon and Silver privately agreed to look elsewhere to prevent a clash of personalities (there were also budgetary concerns with adding more big-name actors and providing them their salaries). Bruce Campbell only came on board due to a complicated series of events. When Gordon was thanking Sam Raimi for helping to get Watchmen of the ground and asked if there was anything they could do for him, the director stated he didn’t know how it would fit it in, but he would “love it if you gave my buddy Bruce (Campbell) a spot”. Gordon did promise him he would at least let the actor audition, though the producer had no initial intention of putting a “B-actor” in the movie. Things changed, however, when Campbell did give his audition on July 18th, with Gordon, Silver, and Cameron present. Silver and Gordon were impressed by the actor’s performance, agreeing that Campbell came off as sufficiently “cool” and “badass” for the role. Cameron did not object, and eventually accepted to the casting, admitting that “he (Campbell) is the best option we have”. For the majority of his scenes, the actor had to endure several hours in the makeup room to simulate advanced age, but it was generally agreed later on that Campbell gave one of the most memorable performances in Watchmen.


Sharon Stone as Laurie Juspeczyk/Silk Spectre II: Sharon Stone, of Total Recall and Basic Instinct fame, was cast in the role of Silk Spectre, the only active female superhero in the film. For her performance, she worked out several hours a day to get herself toned “almost to the point of not even being sexy and just really, really huge”, she would later point out, before Cameron told her such a routine was not necessary. Also, her hair color was changed to brunette for filming. Notably, she was the only actor with a major role in Watchmen who did not read the graphic novel in preparation for production.

Brent Spiner as Jon Osterman/Doctor Manhattan: Initially, James Cameron wanted either Jeff Goldblum or Gary Oldman for the role of the glowing blue, god-like superhero, but neither actor accepted the role. Eventually, Brent Spiner, known for his starring role as the android Data on television’s Star Trek: The Next Generation, due to his experience in portraying a character devoid of emotion. However, only a couple scenes with Spiner’s character were actually filmed physically with the actor. Instead, his likeness was used loosely for a computer-generated character, which he voiced as well.

Mark Hamill as Walter Kovacs/Rorschach: Mark Hamill, the Star Wars actor who many regarded as past his prime, was a surprise addition to the cast. An avid comic book fan, he managed to secure an audition (not surprisingly, aided by Sam Raimi). Hamill’s audition was so strong- and menacing- that he left an impression on the filmmaker. After a week of negotiations, Hamill was cast as the menacing, possibly insane but very principled vigilante Rorschach. In fact, Joel Silver tentatively suggested that they the studio not announce in advance who was portraying Rorschach, so that when’s he’s unmasked, the audience at the premiere would find out to their shock that they’d been watching “Luke Skywalker” the whole time (Cameron ultimately nixed this suggestion). However, Hamill was widely touted by critics (even those who overall didn’t enjoy the film) as having given perhaps the best performance of his career.

In supporting roles, Charlton Heston was cast as Hollis Mason/Nite Owl (the first rendition), Andreas Katsulas as Moloch the Mystic/Edgar Jacobi, and Kathleen Quinlan as Sally Jupiter/Silk Spectre.

Principal photography for Watchmen began in early March, 1993. Initially, James Cameron had hoped to shoot every seen on location (or, at least, as close to on location as possible- filming in Antarctica would have been prohibitively time consuming and expensive, and filming on Mars would be outside even Cameron’s reach for the moment). However, after he had finished scouting locations in New Mexico and California to double as the Red Planet, the director was left unsatisfied. He wanted a location “suitably alien” to portray Mars. Finally, Cameron suggested the day before filming in New York (the first location) that sets be built in Pinewood Studios in the UK to simulate not only Vietnam and Antarctica, but Mars as well. This inflated the film’s budget by $15 million, but the studio still acquiesced.

A variety of locations in the Big Apple were used for Watchmen. Special permission was given to use certain buildings in the Rockefeller Center to convey Veidt’s corporate headquarters, while the creative use of several square blocks in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, were dressed to portray the “underworld” of the comics (in fact, astute viewers could tell that many of the same spots were also used in the shooting of Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing several years earlier).

Trouble brewed regarding the filming of the riot scene. Cameron had planned to hire several hundred locals as extras for filming the social unrest that, in the universe of Watchmen, would lead to the passage of the “Keene Act” in 1977, which banned costumed vigilantism. When Mayor David Dinkins heard this, he grew worried, and requested a meeting with the director. Dinkins' concerns were that the use of some many local New Yorkers as extras in the filming of the riots could “get out of hand”, as only two years before two serious bouts of civil disturbance had rocked the city. Cameron was deeply offended by the insinuation that his production could “cause a fuckin’ riot”, but he (perhaps surprisingly, knowing the director) agreed. Casting calls for extras were told to cut their numbers by several hundred to several dozen. The new plan was to use these individuals for the rioters near the front of the crowd, in addition to stunt actors would actually take part in the fight scenes with Russell’s and Campbell’s character, while their numbers would be digitally augmented. The effect was to give a relatively small crowd of characters more depth, with the real actors being used to give the impression that the crowd was larger than it really was.

The only other bump in the NYC shoot was during the filming of the flashback scene where Rorschach (Mark Hamill) commits his first murder, that of a man (played by actor Scott Wilson) that butchered a small girl and fed the remains to his dogs. A run-down, abandoned house in Brooklyn was purchased by the production company to serve as the location. The scene called for the house to be set on fire as part of the deathtrap for Wilson’s character. However, there was a malfunction in the pyrotechnics department, and a real, uncontrolled fire that threatened to engulf nearby buildings was soon ablaze. The Fire Department was quickly called, but not before Mark Hamill, still in full costume, came out to stare in horror at the fire. Cameron was also present and, impressed by the visuals, he grabbed the nearest cameras and started rolling. He particularly liked the intensity of the stare Hamill was giving the conflagration. “And right there, Mark’s back the me, the fire blazing in front of him”, Cameron later recalled, “that was the panel in the comic. That was it. That was it. No amount of reshooting the panel under controlled conditions could come anywhere near the same effect. When I later caught up with the guy who started the fire, I gave him a big hug.” Luckily, firemen showed up to the scene before there were any injuries or any major damage to other buildings.

After filming in America wrapped up in America, it was off to Pinewood Studios in Britain. Nearly all of the non-New York scenes were filmed either on or near the studios. For instance, the Vietnam battle sequence was shot in the Beckton Gas Works on the Isle of Dogs near London, where, coincidentally (or maybe not), part of Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket was filmed in the late 1980’s.

Antarctica and Mars each required complicated sets, along with the enhancement of computer imagery. Though Brent Spiner was to be “present” in most of his scenes (Doctor Manhattan would be “portrayed” by a digitally-rendered model, which was voiced by Spiner), the actor was present during the filming of all of his character’s scenes, as Cameron required him to be the stand-in for Doctor Manhattan as well, so the other actors could play off of him. One day, after goading from costar Arnold Schwarzenegger, Spiner pranked the director by showing up to the shooting of the Mars scenes in full Data costume and makeup. Cameron thought this was hilarious, and let the filming commence as normal (it’s not like it mattered, as no one would see it in the final product). Footage of “Data Manhattan” would later become an “Easter Egg” on the first DVD release of Watchmen.

After several months of mostly smooth sailing, shooting on Watchmen would end in the middle of July. Now came the fun part: post-production.

During preproduction, Joss Whedon had opined in his screenwriting notes that the film’s setting and portrayal of New York should be “dirty, rainy, crime-y (sic)…broken down, overpopulated… (in a) style reminiscent of (Paul) Verhoeven’s RoboCop”. James Cameron, however, had a different understanding. “…I mean, the guy (Alan Moore) obviously had the kind of ‘retro-future’ sensibilities in mind when writing, the future everyone saw coming from the 1950’s. Yeah, there was crime, that kind of stuff in the graphic novel, but nothing that struck me as too overdone, and besides, the whole RoboCop trope with the explosive crime and everything was getting pretty overdone recently… Therefore, I wanted the kind of guy who could convey in the character design and scene design that would convey the future of superhero-world, not our world.” With David Gibbons unwilling to participate (though he, unlike Alan Moore, have the project his blessing), the director had to look elsewhere. Fortunately, Cameron was able to nab a concept artist with exactly the right kind of experience and sensibilities for the job.

This wasn’t Curt Swan’s first job in an Alan Moore-related project. The veteran comic book artist, famed for his countless renditions of Superman during DC’s Silver Age, had done the penciling for Moore’s “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” in 1986, a work which stood out in part to the very nostalgic artwork. Cameron commissioned Swan to sketch designs for all the major characters, as well as his concepts for scenery. The artist accepted, in part because of financial necessity (he had not planned well for retirement, and was rumored to have a drinking problem). Swan’s designs were very at once both futuristic and very evocative of the 1950’s, accurately reflecting the director’s vision of an alternate Atomic Age future. This sort of production design, with “Andy Griffith” costumes and sets, made for a stark contrast with the graphic violence and sexuality and other dark themes rampant in the film.

The other production designer involved in the film, H.R. Giger, had only one real responsibility, though arguably it was the most important of all: the Squid. Early on in the production, Cameron made the decision that he wanted to change the climax somewhat. In the comic, Adrian Veidt’s genetically-engineered monster is teleported to New York City, where it dies on arrival- killing millions with it, though, with a burst of psychic energy. However, Cameron held that “it would be such a letdown, a real letdown- not to mention a waste of my production crew- to design this huge monster- then basically have him die in two seconds. No. This Squid’s going on a giant monster rampage.” He envisioned a three to four minute scene where the monster “trashes” New York, before finally being brought down with by the United States military. Giger, who had previously created the titular creature in the Alien film series, which Cameron contributed to, was tasked with creating “the most disturbing giant monster ever”. The Swiss artist’s final design drew more inspiration from H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos than the actual comic book, but the creature was still definitely Squid-like in nature. Giger’s one other contribution was the design for Bubastis, Ozymandias’ pet, a genetically-engineered lynx. Since the technology was lacking at the time to realistically render a hairy creature, Giger’s design called for the beast to be bald, with smooth, dark purple skin. The Squid was eventually realized on screen through computer effects, while Bubastis was a mixture of CGI and animatronics.

The art design for Watchmen was considered one of its strongest points, with critic Harry Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News later commenting that “…it’s really, even more than some of the acting, even more than the story, what turned it from your run-of-the-mill kickass action flick to an absolute fucking genius masterpiece.” Curt Swan and H.R. Giger, as the principle production designers, would be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction for their work, which was especially notable for Swan, as it was his first real job in the film industry. He would die two years after the film debuted.

It was now up to Stan Winston and his team of special effects wizards to put this all to the screen.

Many modern audiences are surprised to find out just how few of the special effects in Watchmen were actually realized by a computer. Stan Winston proved once again after his success working on Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Jurassic Park that his practical effects would arguably outshine anything digitally created for the better part of a decade after the release of Watchmen. For instance, all of the “gore” shots (for instance, the death of Rorschach, the crime bosses, and Vietcong via Doctor Manhattan’s particle disintegration powers) were actually the work of full-sized animatronic puppets of the characters created by Winston. Said creations would burst via remote control order, spurting fake blood in the process. He also designed several animatronic models for the creature Bubastis. The puppet’s appearance and movements were so effective that it was used in almost all shots of the mutated lynx (the exception being short sequences of Bubastis in stride). Winston’s makeup department also contributed in more mundane ways, such as the simulation of wounds and the artificial aging of the actors.

However, Watchmen is primarily remembered today, at least from a technical standpoint, for its groundbreaking use of computer effects. The movie was released toward the end of the period in the early 1990’s where computer effects could sufficiently “wow” audiences, being compared with Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Jurassic Park, and Forrest Gump in that regard [3]. ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) was hired to work on the CGI. Many of the same animators from Jurassic Park, such as Mark Dippe and Steve Williams, were tasked with developing the Squid, given their experience with creature effects. Compared with the dinosaur animation for JP, the Squid was both easier and harder to make: easier, because the intentionally alien design of the monster allowed for more artistic license in portraying it as a real animal, and harder because there was no animatronic model to fall back on for practical shots.

However, the real challenge wasn’t the Squid- it was only on screen for approximately four minutes. No, it was Doctor Manhattan’s rendering that would truly put Watchmen in the history books. The glowing blue superman would be the first major character in any major film production to be portrayed completely by a CGI character. As aforementioned, aside from providing his voice for the character, actor Brent Spiner was asked to double as a stand-in for scenes where Doctor Manhattan was present and interacting with other characters, to make it easier for the other actors to play it off of him. However, problems immediately surfaced in post-production. It was initially envisioned that the character would be put on screen in a fashion similar to how he appeared in the graphic novel: a perfectly-sculpted male body, the Olympian ideal, which glowed a radiant blue and had a face which resembled Spiner’s. A male model was hired for animators to base their design off of, and Cameron had already decided he was going to use strategic filming to avoid showing any genitalia. However, ILM technicians found themselves stuck. “It was impossible, really impossible”, one commented. “Well, that’s unfair, we could have done it, I guess, maybe, if we were given a couple years and way more money in the effects budget than we had. We could make it, sure, even animate a ten-minute sequence with it… but over 90 minutes of the guy on screen? We couldn’t… couldn’t do it. Tech wasn’t there.” So, ILM told James Cameron that they would either be forced to cut the character’s screen time substantially to allow them to allow the product to live up to the director’s vision, or they would have to simplify the design to allow easier rendering. After what was reportedly a tough decision, Cameron offered a compromise. The final design, which would be used for most of the Doctor Manhattan’s scenes, would resemble a blue, somewhat more anatomically detailed version of the T-1000 in its “natural” form in T2, with smooth skin and face that resembled Spiner’s. However, in the chronologically earlier scenes, such as the flashbacks to the superman’s creation and his participation in the Vietnam War, the model was significantly more detailed, closer to the director’s vision. The implication was that as time went on and Dr. Osterman lost more of his humanity, his appearance became less and less “human” and more alien, underscoring his growing sense of detachment (and by the film’s present time, his genitals disappeared entirely). The effect worked surprisingly well. Although the “uncanny valley” phenomena was definitely in play, it suited Spiner’s character, which was only complimented by his robotic, though faintly emotional voice acting.

Also aforementioned was the fact that, out of necessity, the film revolutionized the use of digital augmentation of crowd sizes [6], which was primarily used in the riot sequences. However, aside from what was already mentioned, most of the effects in Watchmen were practical in nature. The crystalline formation Doctor Manhattan creates of Mars, Veidt’s lair in Antarctica, and the cityscape of New York that gets destroyed by the Squid were all designed by 4-Ward Production, who had previously worked with Cameron on T2 by making a scale model of Los Angeles for the scene where the city was destroyed by a nuclear weapon. Two models were created for Nite Owl's flying machine, nicknamed "Archie": a full-scale replica which included an interior, and a smaller version used for scenes of flight. Computer effects were only used for bluescreening. For the Vietnam battle, real tanks and helicopters were used after a deal with the United States military and, after flirting with the idea of digitally-created explosions, Cameron decided real ones “looked cooler anyhow”.

Critics agree that the film’s special effects are effective even to this day. They were so well-received at the time that they netted Stan Winston and several ILM technicians an Oscar for Best Visual Effects. The revolutionary use of CGI characters led to an explosion in the number of them in the ensuing years as well.

Initially, Watchmen was greenlit with a budget of $100 million. However, certain factors caused the budget to inflate substantially. Cameron’s decision to replace some of the location shooting with more complicated sets may have made filming easier and faster, but it certainly didn’t make it cheaper. In fact, as aforementioned, it raised the cost of the production by $15 million. Unexpected problems in the rendering of Doctor Manhattan would also increase the CGI budget by nearly $7 million. All in all, unforeseen ancillary expenses in addition to all of this would bring the budget of Watchmen closer to $130 million than $100 million, making it, unadjusted for inflation, the most expensive film ever put produced up to that point.

---

Okay, that's the first part of my contribution for this timeline. Yes, it's a lot of the initial material from The Power and the Glitter! repurposed for this timeline, but there are a lot of important differences (for instance, how the film is greenlit here).

But yes, this is going to have important implications for superhero movies, science fiction films, Star Trek, Babylon 5, the Oscars, and more! Stay tuned!

Last edited by vultan; September 6th, 2012 at 03:49 AM..
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  #13  
Old September 6th, 2012, 03:41 AM
krinsbez krinsbez is offline
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I'm gonna have to reread the initial bits of The Power and the Glitter to compare and contrast.

I...can't say I'm too upset about it.

Also, shouldn't someone be posting in the sticky that this updated?
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  #14  
Old September 7th, 2012, 02:52 AM
vultan vultan is offline
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Any other thoughts?
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  #15  
Old October 19th, 2012, 05:36 AM
Zacoftheaxes Zacoftheaxes is offline
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The movie begins with a meeting of the Wanye Corp shareholders. Bruce Wayne (played by Liam Neeson) is leading the meeting, talking about the companies success in the stock market. Attending the meeting are Alfred Pennyworth (played by Michael Gough), Lucius Fox (played by Billy Dee Williams), Roman Sionis (played by Sam Raimi), and various smaller share holders. While presenting, a window breaks, and an explosion follows, suddenly freezing Bruce Wayne's feet to the ground. Bruce Wayne is able to break out and in the panic of the meeting manages to find his way out. After escaping he talks to Commissioner Gordon (played by Harrison Ford) outside who has arrived to figure out what went on. Afterwards he bumps into Vicki Vale (played by Frances McDormand) who is reporting live at the scene. After talking to Vale both on and off camera Wayne drives away to Wayne Manor with Alfred.

When he arrives they are greeted by Dick Grayson (played by Christian Bale) who begins to ask several questions. Wayne decides it's best to go investigate. They decide from looking at the angle of then broken glass and the area where the grenade landed that it must have been fired from the roof a building across the street. Up there they find one set of footprints that do not match any shoes the Batcomputer can find.
Later, Wayne is on a date with Vale while on the date, Vale receives a call saying they need her to report on a bank robbery. Vale asks what bank and exclaims that it's right across the street. Both of them end the date as Vale goes to report and Wayne returns to the Manor to suit up as Batman. When Batman and Robin arrive at the scene, they find all three of the robbers, Greg (played by Bruce Campbell) and his two goons frozen solid. They find the same footprints at the scene. Batman and Robin meet with Commissioner Gordon and discuss the crimes. Batman brings up the bank was the same one Joker robbed. Gordon mentions they have also found two frozen criminals in alleys after the robbery. Crispus Allen (played by Laurence Fishburne) arrives at the roof and says that Freeze was spotted outside of Nobody's Bar.
When Batman and Robin arrive at the bar, they meet Mr. Freeze (played by Brent Spiner) Freeze has singled out three people who he identifies as "drug dealers". Batman and Robin attempt to fight Freeze but are beaten. Freeze says he wants Batman on his side, he says "We're meant to work together. I know who you are Batman. We can do a lot of good for this city if you join me." Freeze leaves Batman and Robin in the bar, hands frozen to the ground. Batman breaks out first and helps Robin out.
Meanwhile, Gotham's newly elected mayor Roland A. Grant (played by David Warner) calls together a new "high crime task force" to crack down on crime in the city, and says he will be having a gala for potential sponsors, inviting billionaires such as Bruce Wayne. Wayne invites Vale to attend the galla with him, and she accepts. Wayne spends time trying to figure out who Freeze is and figures out he is Dr. Victor Fries, a scientist who froze his wife to prevent her illness from progressing. He was thought to have died in an experiment. Batman deduces where Freeze is hiding and goes alone, telling Robin to monitor his body temperature from the Batcave.

Batman makes it to Freeze's hideout and they begin to fight hand to hand, on occasion breaking to talk. Freeze reveals he's working for the League of Shadows, a global organization determined to wipe out crime and other human vices. Batman asks Freeze about his wife, to which Freeze does not respond, simply fighting harder. Freeze says he is not to kill Batman because he's "part of the plan". Freeze throws Batman against the wall and then walks into another room, freezing the door solid. Batman returns to the Batmobile and drives back to the Batcave. Wayne returns and discusses his discoveries with Alfred and Dick. They use the Batcomputer to research the League of Assassins as much as possible, Wayne learns they are lead by a man named "Ra's Al Ghul". While do further research, Alfred reminds him to get ready for the gala. Bruce attends the gala with Dick and Vicki. While talking to Mayor Grant, several criminals break into the gala and hold it hostage. They take Dick and Vicki along with several other up to the top floor. Bruce tells one of the criminals he needs to use the bathroom and asks him to escort him there. He takes out the criminal in the bathroom and calls in for Alfred to send in the Batmobile with his suit. Bruce takes out another criminal guarding the stairwell and begins to head toward the top floor, before he can reach the top floor he hears gunfire downstairs. Bruce sees the criminals in a firefight with Mr. Freeze. He then notices the Batmobile outside and sneaks out a window. Batman returns and confronts Freeze, who tells him that he's too late and that he's already taken care of the criminals. Batman notes that Freeze has killed the criminals with his ice. Batman decides not to fight Freeze but tells him to hold down the lower level as he goes upstairs to rescue the hostages, and he'll deal with Freeze later. Freeze says he'll be honorable and wait for Batman to return. Batman reaches the top to find the criminals dead, the hostages are unconscious. Batman seems stunned, and turns around to sees Mayor Roland A. Grant pointing a sword towards him. He tells Batman to take off his mask so they can negotiate. Batman refuses until Grant says that he's aware that he's Bruce Wayne. Batman says he believes Grant is Ra's Al Ghul, to which Grant replies “Then there are no secrets.”
Ra's says he wants to recruit Batman and Robin to the League of Shadows, and he was planning on using this attack on his gala to boost the popularity of Freeze and Batman. Ra's was planning on having them lead his anti-crime task force and to help him destroy crime not just in Gotham, but around the world. Batman says he will never kill a criminal, and that Ra's is a monster. Ra's tosses a sword at Batman and tells him to fight. Batman drops the sword and instead throws a batarang at Ra's hand, breaking it. Batman asks how he managed to get Freeze, Ra's says “It was simple. Infect his wife, watch him lose his mind, and then tell him I have the cure.” Batman pauses and says “I'm not sure he'll like that answer.” and he throws a batarang out the window. The batarang breaks through another window and lands in the lobby and begins playing Ras' answer, Freeze hears it. Batman and Ra's fight hand to hand, before Freeze arrives in the elevator, he attacks Ra's savagely, Batman tells Freeze not to kill Ra's, saying the League of Shadows will hunt him down if he does, Batman says he'll help Freeze track down the Lazerous Pit where he can heal his wife and himself if he allows Ra's to be exposed and arrested. Batman calls in Gordon. Gordon is filled in on the incident and comes to arrest Ra's. Batman dresses back as Bruce Wayne and hides in with the other hostages. The Batmobile drives itself back to the Batcave. Freeze explains everything to Gordon, still disgusted by Freeze's crimes, he gives him a brief window of time to escape before the rest of the police force arrives, which he uses. The film ends with Dick and Vicki coming to, and Bruce offering to explain everything over a meal.
-Plot summary of Batman: The Caped Crusader, batmanpedia.com

~~~

Casting for Batman was described by Sam Raimi as "(a) tug of war between me and the studio that somehow resulted in the best cast possible.

Casting for Batman was difficult, Raimi wanted someone lesser known in the role. He said he wanted people to "watch the movie and say 'that is Batman!'" and believed a big name actor would undermine that. Raimi ignored the studio suggestions of Charlie Sheen and Bill Murray and proposed his friend Bruce Campbell, which the studio denied. They were able to make compromise on actor Liam Neeson, who Raimi thought was a small enough name and the studio thought was an experienced enough actor. Neeson read Batman: Year Two to better understand the character.

Casting for the Joker was much easier. Robin Williams petitioned heavily for the part and in a live audition impressed both Raimi and the studio. He was signed on as the first member of the cast. Before Robin Williams auditioned, Willem Dafoe and James Woods were receiving heavy consideration for the part. Woods would be selected to play Harvey Dent in the film and Dafoe would later play the Riddler in Batman: The Dark Knight.

The studio still felt the need for a bigger name than Williams for the film. Raimi suggested the studio cast a well known actor as Jim Gordon. The studio contacted Harrison Ford, at the time still filming for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Ford accepted the role after some hesitation and began reading Batman: Year One for inspiration.

When having dinner with the Coen Brothers, friends of Raimi, Joel Coen suggested that Raimi pick his wife, Frances McDormand be considered for the role of Vicki Vale. Raimi suggested her to the studio and the studio agreed.

The last casting choice the studio wanted a say in was the casting of Robin. Raimi, having no idea who to cast gave the studio complete control as long as Robin was "older than thirteen". The studio decided to select Christian Bale after being impressed with his performance in Empire of the Sun.

Raimi, who had promised a role to his friend Bruce Campbell, created the part of Greg for him, the character would become well loved by fans simply for being "cool" and would even later appear in the comics with an expanded role.
-Casting of Batman, batmanpedia.com

~~~

How we got the 90s: The Birth of Psych and the death of Hair Metal
Hair Metal in the early 90s some how lived much longer than it should have. Already weakened in 1989, rock was just about ready for something new but hair metal still clinged on to life. Some other genres popped up only to fade away. For a few months everyone sick of hair metal was talking about grunge, but with every album in the genre suffering for production that sounded like it was from a garage it was clear that grunge was not ready for the mainstream. They certainly had a chance, the producers of Nirvana's Nevermind wanted to have a softer, more pop like production quality that the late leader Kurt Cobain steadfastly refused. Nirvana may be a staple of underground music that hipsters love today, but it was certainly not impossible for it to become a hit.

Hair metal would however drag on for two more years before it would finally die it's well deserved death. Neo-psychedelia had been boiling in the UK underground for years. It was a miracle on American soil that thrust it into the mainstream. In 1993, American radio was struck by a tidal wive of a song, aptly named "Tidal Wave". The Apples were not only their own band but also their own record label. If it had not been for hair metal being on it's deathbed, we would not know The Apples as we do today. A good song, good business sense, and damn good timing were what it took to reintroduce an old genre: Psychadelic rock. With influences from dream pop, progressive rock, and heavy metal mixed in, this new breed was dubbed "Psych rock" or "Psych" by fans. Soon bands such as Neutral Milk Hotel, Animal Collective, and others began pouring out hits as well. Even old artists began getting into the trend. David Bowie's collaboration with Rush Arrows was a resounding success for both artists as they combined Pysch elements with the progressive rock of old.
The music of the 90s were strange all around. Psych was odd, attracted many stoners and was often very liberal minded. Electropop and bubblegum pop, was less like the hedonistic and sexual pop of the late 80s. Songs by the unstoppable Aqua like "Barbie Girl", "Dr. Jones", and "Candyman" were instead upbeat and silly stories that did not hide the fact they were completely fiction. In many ways it was the most honest pop has ever gotten. Heavy metal at he time was a continuation of Trash metal with the rise of Death metal influencing it. Rap had of course been taken over by gangsta rap and was possibly the most alienating music of the decade, glorifying crime and violence. There was no "safe" music to turn to. This would of course lead us to the boring and painfully lame music of the early 2000s, which nowadays everyone hates.

-Todd Nathanson, host of MTV's Keep on Rockin', article published on mtv.com, April 9th, 2012
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  #16  
Old October 19th, 2012, 03:52 PM
RySenkari RySenkari is offline
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I'm REALLY interested in the box-office numbers for Watchmen. $50 million opening weekend, perhaps? IIRC, the R-rated opening weekend at that time was for Lethal Weapon 3 at $33 million, but Watchmen seems like it would be absolutely huge and would pack tons of people into the theater the same way that Terminator 2 did. I could be wrong though.
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Old October 19th, 2012, 04:32 PM
Brainbin Brainbin is offline
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Great to see this back! And with another take on Batman! Those are always fun As is usually my wont, some thoughts on the casting...

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Originally Posted by Zacoftheaxes View Post
Casting for Batman was difficult, Raimi wanted someone lesser known in the role. He said he wanted people to "watch the movie and say 'that is Batman!'" and believed a big name actor would undermine that. Raimi ignored the studio suggestions of Charlie Sheen and Bill Murray and proposed his friend Bruce Campbell, which the studio denied. They were able to make compromise on actor Liam Neeson, who Raimi thought was a small enough name and the studio thought was an experienced enough actor. Neeson read Batman: Year Two to better understand the character.
In lieu of his casting on Darkman IOTL, also directed by Raimi (and a nod to his OTL casting as Ra's Al Ghul in the Nolan films). A logical choice, if nothing else.

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Originally Posted by Zacoftheaxes
Casting for the Joker was much easier. Robin Williams petitioned heavily for the part and in a live audition impressed both Raimi and the studio. He was signed on as the first member of the cast. Before Robin Williams auditioned, Willem Dafoe and James Woods were receiving heavy consideration for the part. Woods would be selected to play Harvey Dent in the film and Dafoe would later play the Riddler in Batman: The Dark Knight.
Robin Williams does seem a natural choice for the Joker; almost too natural, in fact. I also note that in the era IOTL, Williams repeatedly sought "serious" roles (which he would then "spin" with his trademark comedic energy into "tragicomic" ones): Good Morning, Vietnam; Dead Poets Society; The Fisher King... the list goes on.

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Originally Posted by Zacoftheaxes
The studio still felt the need for a bigger name than Williams for the film. Raimi suggested the studio cast a well known actor as Jim Gordon. The studio contacted Harrison Ford, at the time still filming for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Ford accepted the role after some hesitation and began reading Batman: Year One for inspiration.
So Harrison Ford gets the token Brando role? I'll be honest, I have a hard time seeing this one. I know he was planning to cameo in E.T. (as the school principal) before his scenes were cut, but that was written by his then-wife and directed by his bosom pal Spielberg. And the role of Gordon is pretty thankless, after all.

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Originally Posted by Zacoftheaxes
When having dinner with the Coen Brothers, friends of Raimi, Joel Coen suggested that Raimi pick his wife, Frances McDormand be considered for the role of Vicki Vale. Raimi suggested her to the studio and the studio agreed.
No argument here, McDormand is a fine actress, though she'd be utterly wasted in the role of Vicki Vale.

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Originally Posted by Zacoftheaxes
The last casting choice the studio wanted a say in was the casting of Robin. Raimi, having no idea who to cast gave the studio complete control as long as Robin was "older than thirteen". The studio decided to select Christian Bale after being impressed with his performance in Empire of the Sun.
And, of course, you go with Christian Bale as Robin, one of those pop-culture WIs that usually prove too irresistible, for obvious reasons

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Originally Posted by Zacoftheaxes
-Todd Nathanson, host of MTV's Keep on Rockin', article published on mtv.com, April 9th, 2012
I see what you did there Also: ASB! Todd would never reveal his face!
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  #18  
Old October 19th, 2012, 05:17 PM
thekingsguard thekingsguard is offline
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Yay it lives! And an awesome third Batman movie!

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  #19  
Old October 19th, 2012, 05:27 PM
krinsbez krinsbez is offline
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[Fanboy nitpick] given that the Crispus Allen character was invented in the '00s, it kinda defies belief that he'd show up in a '90s movie.

I mean, I suppose it could be a coincidence, but it stretches my SoD.[/fanboy nitpick]

Hmm, your casting David Warner as Ra's makes me wonder, with the very different Batman films, does B:TAS still happen? And if so, what is it like?
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  #20  
Old October 20th, 2012, 02:41 AM
Zacoftheaxes Zacoftheaxes is offline
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Originally Posted by krinsbez View Post
[Fanboy nitpick] given that the Crispus Allen character was invented in the '00s, it kinda defies belief that he'd show up in a '90s movie.

I mean, I suppose it could be a coincidence, but it stretches my SoD.[/fanboy nitpick]

Hmm, your casting David Warner as Ra's makes me wonder, with the very different Batman films, does B:TAS still happen? And if so, what is it like?
Crispus Allen popping up earlier is because of the comic book boom (only currently implied, I'll try to elaborate on it more) brought on by the success of films like Watchmen and Batman throughout the 90s. Someone notices that Batman doesn't have a lot of black people so they add a black cop, I would have just made them a Crispus stand-in anyways, so I just figured he gets thought up a bit early.

Don't worry, some thing will definitely change in the Batman comics.

As for TAS, don't worry, we plan on addressing that.
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