“Let me be the way I’m not in interviews. I’m furious. I’m furious. They never asked me about a sequel with the Joker. I know how to do that! Nobody ever asked me.” — Jack Nicholson to MTV in 2007
During the above interview, Jack Nicholson was 70-years-old. It had been almost twenty years since the first Batman film. Obviously, this is an aging movie legend ranting about something that would never happen. Even Adam West got bent out of shape when he found out that he wasn’t considered for Burton’s 1989 reboot. To that I say: not true. A second appearance of Jack’s Joker could have very easily happened. Let me tell you why.
Surely, you must be joking.
1) Jack Nicholson loved playing The Joker. I highly recommend getting your hands on the Batman Anthology box set, if only for the six-part documentary about the cinematic saga of the Dark Knight. Jack shows up in a purple sweater-vest and Batman pin in order to gush about his love of the first Batman film. He loved Tim Burton. He loved the character: “The thing I like about The Joker is that his sense of humor is completely tasteless.” However, it must be mentioned that a possible motive behind Jack bringing such enthusiasm to a DVD special feature could be that his original contract gives him a tasty chunk of anything to do with that first Bat film.
2) Jack Nicholson is still a highly bankable name. The Bucket List made over $175,000,000 worldwide. It came out a few years ago and was basically a star vehicle for a 70-year-old man. Not a single actor playing an Avenger or Batman character can sell that soft of a movie with their name alone and walk away with that much box office. Jack Nicholson’s name carries so much weight that at one time it was more bankable than the name Batman.
3) There was a script! Actually there were TWO scripts. Warner execs were so pleased with the dailies from Batman & Robin (? . . . ya got me) that they immediately ordered a script titled Batman Triumphant. The villain for this fifth Batman flick, oddly enough, would have been Scarecrow, who would drug Bats, bringing on a hallucination where Joker would make an appearance. Not just Joker, Jacks Joker! Also you just read that the plot of Batman vs. Superman involves the resurrection of Joker. Again, not just Joker, Jack’s Joker. The script was built around the previously existing movies continuity and packed full of homage’s to both franchises. While Warner Brothers eventually backed, fearing that a flop would taint both properties indefinitely. Little did they know they could have made a poster that read: Superman. Batman. Nicholson.
4) Yeah, but what would it look like? Unfortunately we can only guess what 70-year-old Jack Nicholson would have looked like hopping around being crazy and funny. Oh, that’s right! Watch The Departed! Scorsese obviously let Jack off the leash and let him run around crazy and do whatever the fuck he wanted. Paint that old man’s face white, dye his hair green, and imagine Joker shaking a strap-on in front of Batman’s face. That is what it would have looked like.
Tune in tomorrow for more tales from Batman’s journey through development hell–same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!