Darren Aronofsky’s version of Batman would've been dramatically different than any previously filmed version of the DC Comics superhero. As one of the big “what ifs” of Hollywood, the concept art for “Batman: Year One” offers a glimpse at a Batman that will never be.
Aronofsky was an interesting choice as a director whose previous movies, such as “Pi” and “Requiem for a Dream,” dealt with mental illness and drug addiction. “Batman: Year One” was to be a realistic and gritty take on the superhero and Bruce Wayne.
The script for the movie was written by Aronofsky and Frank Miller, who also penned the comic miniseries “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” in 1986. Wayne wasn't a billionaire playboy instead he was homeless but eventually lived above an auto garage while Alfred, Wayne’s loyal servant, was reimagined as a mechanic named Little Al who owned the garage, notes Comic Book Resources. The iconic Batmobile was transformed into a beefed-up Lincoln Continental or Town Car. The concept art posted by CBR gives several looks at the Batman costume and the modified Batmobile.
Aronofsky’s take on Batman would've also changed some aspects of Batman’s origin, including the reason why Wayne chose a bat as the symbol, and the film would've definitely been R-rated, limiting the marketing and potential box office of the movie. Another factor to consider is “Batman: Year One” would've served as a reboot to the franchise, following the misfires that were “Batman & Robin” and “Batman Forever.”
While “Batman: Year One” is an interesting part of Hollywood lore, much like Tim Burton's "Superman Lives," that would've starred Nicholas Cage, things worked out for the franchise and for Aronofsky. Warner Brothers handed Batman to Christopher Nolan who revitalized the superhero in three incredibly successful films while Aronofsky went on to considerable acclaim with “Black Swan” and "The Wrestler" and is developing a big-budget version of Noah’s Ark.
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On Twitter, Aronofsky notes the “Batman: Year One” concept art wasn't approved by him and could've been developed by the studio for the project.