The Idea For Smallville Came From A Rejected Batman Prequel Pitch From Tim McCanlies

Superhero movies were just starting to boom in the early 2000s, and even though Batman was one of the most famous characters in the world, “Batman & Robin” had effectively killed off the film franchise. The time would soon come for a reboot with Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins,” which rewrote the character’s origin story and focused on his first attempts to fight crime dressed up as a giant Chiroptera.

But years before “Batman Begins” hit theaters, screenwriter Tim McCanlies — who wrote the screenplay for Brad Bird’s animated classic, “The Iron Giant” — was pitching a similar idea for a TV series called “Bruce Wayne.”

“There’s a lot of similarities [to ‘Batman Begins’],” Tim McCanlies told Mandatory. “We were sort of drawing on some of the same subject matter but the comics usually were panel three, Bruce as a kid is over his dead parents. Then there’s a shot of him mixing test tubes in college, and then he’s in the costume.”

“So I wanted to explore that whole five or six-year thing and it became a big deal at Warner Brothers because they kept wanting to get movies mounted at the time. Darren Aronofsky was going to try to do ‘Batman: Year One.'” Unfortunately for McCanlies, Warner Bros. was so committed to bringing Batman back to the big screen that a live-action TV series was a very tough sell, even though the screenwriter says networks were interested. “Suddenly it came down to Alan Horn,” McCanlies recalled. “Lorenzo DiBonaventura was the vice president of Warners and I had done five things with him including ‘Iron Giant.’ He was sort of my guy over there and yet he really screwed up my TV thing saying, ‘No, it’s a features thing.’ I still give him s*** over that.”

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