Darren Aronofsky says that his Batman movie would've been much grittier than Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy. According to Aronofsky, before the release of Batman Begins, he and Frank Miller, the author behind the Batman comic Year One, had collaborated on a couple of scripts. While they never came to fruition, Aronofsky has not forgotten the missed opportunity as well as the differences between what was and what could have been.
Nolan's Batman Begins skyrocketed him to fame and received praise from critics and fans alike. Nolan also found inspiration for his adaptation from Miller's The Dark Knight Returns comics, bringing a new, fresh take on the beloved crime fighting vigilante. Since Nolan's departure from the DC universe, the films have struggled to maintain the level of quality fans have come to demand and success the studio has come to expect. And much of that expectation comes from Nolan's Batman trilogy, something that Aronofsky says was far different than what he wanted to do.
In an interview on the Empire Podcast, Aronofsky expressed his desire to helm a superhero film and narrowly missing his chance, having once been attached to a Wolverine film and even Man of Steel. But before all of that, he was working on a Year One adaptation in the early 2000s, which he compares to Nolan's trilogy by saying, "I think Nolan's version is exactly what the studio wanted. I think I was much more of a gritty feel is what we were going for."
When faced with a decision between making a Batman moive or The Fountain, a film surrounding death and the soul, Aronofsky chose to make The Fountain. "I probably wasn't in the right place. I had to many stories that I wanted to tell," he said. When faced with telling someone else's story, Aronofsky inevitably chose to tell his own. With this rationale in mind, he has made films that are, by definition, unique. Just last September, Aronofsky released mother!, starring Jennifer Lawrence. Dividing fans and critics alike, mother! was without a doubt a film made in Aronofsky fashion and a one-of-a-kind story in a category all it's own.
Yet, mother! is not the only story that belonged to and Aronofsky felt he had to make. Aronofsky made a name for himself through his unique filmmaking style and means of storytelling. His stories illuminate the mind and open opportunities for conversation for both critics and audiences. Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler, and Black Swan, which nabbed him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Director, each showcased the incredible talent Aronofsky showcases within each of his films. Citing a grittier take on the Caped Crusader and a strong talent behind him, this latest Batman revelation has many fans wondering what could have been.
Matt Reeves was recently announced to be pursuing his own rendition and supposed reboot of Batman, with rumored plans to replace Ben Affleck as the films' leading man. While Aronofsky did state all "the holy grails are taken," there are plenty of comic book characters and superhero movies that Aronofsky could tackle with the right pitch. And there are quite a few DCEU movies in development that need directors.