Before Marvel took a chance and gave him the reins to their epic mega-budgeted superhero team-up “The Avengers”, Joss Whedon was known primarily as the guy behind “Firefly” and “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”. His fans always knew he was destined for even more than TV greatness, and it took Marvel to make that happen. Before the Avengers assembled, though, Whedon was trying to get other comic book characters off the ground, most notably Wonder Woman. But get this — he was also working on a pre-Robert Downey Jr. “Iron Man” and a pre-Christopher Nolan Batman movie according to an interview with GQ.
According to Whedon himself, his idea for a resurgent Bats was about “a morbid, death-obsessed kid” name Bruce Wayne who finally came to terms with his destiny after a certain encounter with bullies in an alley:
There was a scene—Whedon used to well up, just thinking about it—where young Bruce tries to protect this girl from being bullied in an alley, an alley like the one his parents were murdered in.
“And he’s like this tiny 12-year-old who’s about to get the shit kicked out of him. And then it cuts to Wayne Manor, and Alfred is running like something terrible has happened, and he finds Bruce, and he’s back from the fight, and he’s completely fine. And Bruce is like, ‘I stopped them. I can stop them.’ That was the moment for me. When he goes ‘Oh, wait a minute; I can actually do something about this.’ The moment he gets that purpose, instead of just sort of being overwhelmed by the grief of his parents’ death.”
That was one small part of Whedon’s idea for a Batman movie that he eventually pitched to Warner Bros. They, uh, didn’t go for it.
Oh, what might have been. But hey, it all worked out for the best, didn’t it? If Whedon had gotten the gig, we might never have gotten a taste for Christopher Nolan greatness, and we might never have “The Avengers” that will be shattering box office records tomorrow.
Sometimes getting doors slammed in your face just leads to better things. Just ask Whedon.