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Release the Schumacher Cut! Fans Demand to See Edgy Version of ‘Batman Forever’

One month after the death of director Joel Schumacher there are calls to restore his kitschy 1995 movie to its dark glory. But is this legit?

Warner Bros

Most parents reading this remember the first time they saw Batman’s nipples. If you’re anywhere in my age range, you remember the days when Michael Keaton’s Batman was replaced by Val Kilmer and the Batsuit suddenly had  (human) nipples on the outside. Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever was many things, but the most overwhelming thing most folks remember is the Bat Nipples. And yet, what if Batman Forever could have been even weirder?

A new movement on Twitter is trying to convince Warner Bros and HBO to “release the Schumacher Cut.” If you’re confused, here’s what’s going on. Recently, fans were somewhat successful in convincing Warner Bros to release the so-called “Synder Cut” of the 2017 film Justice League. Short recent history lesson: Zach Synder stopped directing that movie midway through for personal reasons, and a different version was completed by Joss Whedon. Fans believed a better, darker version of the film existed, and along with support from actors like Ben Affleck, created a pretense for HBO and Warner Bros to actually “release the Synder Cut.” As of this writing, the Synder Cut of Justice League will hit HBO Max in 2021.

So, what does that have to do with a 1995 Batman movie? Well, some fans are convinced a much (ahem) better version of Batman Forever was intended by Joel Schumacher. The evidence isn’t exactly new, but because “Release the Synder Cut” worked (somehow!) these fans believe they can do something similar with Batman Forever. The argument is that Joel Schumacher wanted a darker and edgier version of Batman Forever that would have been much longer, and would have included at least one scene in which Val Kilmer’s Bruce Wayne would have faced-down a giant, actual, furry bat.

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Do we all need to see this sweet, sweet bat-embrace? Some would argue that it might be awesome, but let’s also not forget that this is the same movie, which, in all versions, would have still featured almost everything else that happens in the same movie. Look, I’m a sucker for ’90s nostalgia, too. But I’ve never really considered that Batman Forever was “incomplete.” I’m not sure if I get to see this fury Bat vs. Batman scene in context that suddenly my life will be more complete. I’d like to be proven wrong, but for now, it seems like this fury bat is the best part of this lost footage.

With rumors swirling that Michael Keaton is returning to actually play Bruce Wayne in a kind of multiverse crossover event, maybe all of us are just very excited about seeing old Batmen again. Val Kilmer is back for Top Gun: Maverick, so I guess what I’m saying is, call me when he’s actually playing Batman again, too?

Zack Synder’s Justice League hits HBO Max sometime in 2021.