Wonder Woman Undercover Boss: 5 Crazy DC Projects That Went Nowhere

Listen, comic books are already insane enough. They don't need coked out producers who barely know what decade it is to "fix" them by adding even more deranged stuff. Evidently, nobody told that to the maniacs who pitched the following DC Universe adaptations that ultimately never came to be. For better or worse? You decide ...

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5
Batman Meets Godzilla Would Have Included Nazis, Bat-Nudity, And A Horned Up 'Zilla



After a King Kong vs. Godzilla movie made an Empire State-sized pile of money in the '60s, the
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same Japanese screenwriter looked into other US characters with giant lizard-fighting potential and settled on Batman. It's unclear if the Adam West Batman show had started airing when the first proposal was written, but we know that the TV show's producer considered the idea at some point because a 22-page treatment for it was found among his belongings. And it is bonkers ... and surprisingly erotic.
Wonder Woman Undercover Boss: 5 Crazy DC Projects That Went Nowhere - Adam West's Batman dancing
20th Century Fox Television
Even for the standards of this show.
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The villain of the story is Dr. Klaus Finster, a German scientist who just came to Japan after spending 20 years in Argentina. Again, this is set in the '60s. "German hiding in Argentina since the '40s" is the third easiest way to spell Nazi after "Nazi" and "race realist." Finster threatens to flood Japan with some sort of weather-controlling machine unless they give him lots of gold, so the government imports Batman from the US to solve the issue. It takes a master detective to discover that Finster can't really control the weather -- he's mind-controlling Godzilla and using him to make giant waves. Apparently, Finster thought a bunch of waves would be scarier to Japanese people than a Nazi-controlled giant monster, which seems like a fair assessment.

Wonder Woman Undercover Boss: 5 Crazy DC Projects That Went Nowhere - Adam West's Batman surfing
20th Century Fox Television
This seems like a setup for a Batman/Godzilla surfing competition that sadly never happens.
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The search for Dr. Finster leads Batman and Robin to a bathhouse, where they voluntarily strip down to their cowls for a (probably very bouncy) chase sequence. Had that scene made it to film, we're sure Burt "Robin" Ward's reportedly massive junk would have appreciated the relief. Batgirl is also in the movie, and Godzilla seems to have a cross-species crush on her. This makes Batman realize that Godzilla can get horny, and, like all males, therein lies his biggest weakness.

One idea for an ending involved Batman building a female Godzilla robot (we're picturing this guy with a blonde wig and a dress) and Bugs Bunny-ing the monster into a trap, but the producer thought that was too expensive. Instead, Batman ends up creating a device that simulates a She-Godzilla mating call, which causes the Nazi mind-control to be overpowered by sheer animal lust. In the end, Batman manages to strap a rocket to Godzilla and shoot him up into space, where he can hump asteroids to his heart's content.

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Batman v. Godzilla: Dawn of Romance never happened, except as a fan comic, but with a new Godzilla vs. Kong in the horizon, perhaps there's renewed interest in a film where Robert Pattinson makes sad eyes at a CGI behemoth. Never say never.

4
A Superman Prequel About Lois Lane And Lex Luthor As X-Files-ing Partners

She's an intrepid reporter who loves exposing corruption and falling out of windows. He's a powerful industrialist who devotes most of his resources to trying to murder caped people. They fight ... robots? Mad scientists? Something like that? That was, apparently, the pitch for Metropolis, a Superman-less Superman show announced for DC's (already dead) streaming service in 2018. DC was so confident in the idea that they gave it a straight-to-series order for 13 episodes, coming to you sometime in 2019!

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Metropolis was created by the producers of Gotham, which at least had Baby Batman in it. This show, on the other hand, was said to avoid Superman entirely to focus in the unlikely duo of Lois Lane and Lex Luthor, who for some reason end up investigating "the world of fringe science" together while shining a light on Metropolis' "dark and bizarre secrets." Maybe they have a paranormal detective agency called LLLL, LLC?

Wonder Woman Undercover Boss: 5 Crazy DC Projects That Went Nowhere - Lex Luthor and Lois Lane playing musical instruments in order to kill Superman, a comic book cover
DC Comics
It's hard to get excited about any Lane/Luthor team up that isn't based on this specific issue.
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The show's description makes it sound like X-Files, only Scully is Superman's future wife and Mulder is a mass-murdering sociopath, so hopefully with less sexual tension. Later reports suggested that Clark Kent would have shown up as a supporting character, "with his superhero identity never being shown or even so much as hinted at." Just a buff nerd in the background, staring longingly at Lois through walls.

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The show went from "straight-to-series" to "in redevelopment" to cancelled within a year, so the world will never see Lois and Lex investigating earlier versions of classic Superman villains like ... well, not Lex, obviously ... or General Zod ... or Darkseid and such, so ... Toyman? Jesus, how did they stretch Smallville into ten seasons?

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3
David E. Kelley Made A Pilot About Wonder Woman As An Overwhelmed CEO

David E. Kelly is mostly known for creating shows about sexy, tormented lawyers who can't keep it in their pants. Who better to make a TV adaptation of Wonder Woman?! Oh, lots of people, it turns out.

In the 2011 pilot written and executive produced by Kelley, Wonder Woman is also known as Diana Themyscira, CEO of Themyscira Industries, the company that operates her superhero brand. So when she isn't saving lives, she's doing the equally important work of trying to figure out how to market her dolls to little girls. She also creates a third identity, Diana Prince, supposedly just to be "normal" ... except that Prince also works at Themyscira Industries, so this is more like some weird Undercover Boss-type experiment.

Wonder Woman Undercover Boss: 5 Crazy DC Projects That Went Nowhere - Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman on the failed Wonder Woman TV show pilot in 2011
Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Her most impressive power is the ability to turn into a hideous dork by putting on glasses and a ponytail.
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This Wonder Woman doesn't fly, there's no clear mention of Paradise Island or her being an Amazon, and instead of an invisible plane, she has a fleet of sci-fi ships. Oh, and when they first revealed her official costume, it seriously looked like one of those crappy "What would this actress look like as Wonder Woman?" fan photoshops (they toned down the colors later on).

Wonder Woman Undercover Boss: 5 Crazy DC Projects That Went Nowhere - Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman
Warner Bros. Television Distribution
This looks pretty nice for something she made 10 days before Comic-Con.
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The focus of the pilot is on Wonder Woman having trouble balancing her two public identities, not to mention the third one she just went and made like a dumbass. NBC initially passed on the idea (along with every other network), then decided to order a pilot, then watched it and went back to passing. Today, this show is most noteworthy because Pedro Pascal, who plays the male baddie in Wonder Woman 1984, portrays a cop called Ed Indelicato who has a really hard time not looking at her boobs.

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2
An In-Name-Only Flash TV Show About A Costume-Less Time Traveler

While Smallville was all the rage in the '00s, Warner Bros. was desperate to create another pseudo-superhero show they could fill with 27-year-old underwear models playing teenagers. How desperate were they, exactly? Well, they shot a full pilot where Aquaman is a young surfer dude called "A.C." at one point. But hey, at least the character was somewhat recognizable as the one in the comics. Can't say the same about the bold "new take" on The Flash that almost came to be in 2003.

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Awkwardly sandwiched between the 1990 and 2014 Flash shows is a botched 2003 attempt that was born out of WB's search for a Smallville-type hit and their desire to make something like The Time Tunnel (a '60s show about scientists ping-ponging through time). The one thing they didn't want to make? A Flash show, apparently. So, in this version, the protagonist is "a fresh-out-of-college Gothamite who discovers he has the ability to move very fast," which makes it sound like he doesn't actually gain his powers in the first episode; he'd just never tried to run very fast before.

Wonder Woman Undercover Boss: 5 Crazy DC Projects That Went Nowhere - The Joker pointing a gun at the Flash
DC Comics
Which makes no sense, because Gotham criminals are goddamn creepy.
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So what does he do with those speed powers? "Travel backward or forward in time" to "right wrongs," which means that the first episode probably would have featured The Flash uppercutting baby Hitler. Sure, he can also travel in time in the comics, but that's like a tertiary power at best. Focusing the whole show on that is like making a Superman show centered on his super-breath, or a Spider-Man one about his incredible sewing talent.  

The Variety article announcing this show made sure to point out that this Flash wouldn't wear the character's iconic costume (only the coolest in all of comics). We have to admit that making him a nudist is an original twist, but it sounds like this show would have definitely veered into "Why even bother using an existing property?" territory. Perhaps most puzzling is the mention that the hero would have a "cool 21st-century mantra," which is "Live fast so others don't die young." That sounds like something he thinks he got tattooed on his bicep in Japanese, when it actually says "Free refills with orders above $8."

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A pilot was ordered for this show, but then the project dropped off the face of the Earth and was never mentioned again, possibly due to the producers of The CW's Flash traveling back in time to prevent it from existing.

1
Batman: The Musical Featuring ... Meat Loaf?

In 2002, it was reported that Tim Burton was coming back to the Batman franchise, not for a new movie but for a Broadway musical. This was pretty surprising for everyone, but especially for Tim Burton. Nevertheless, composer Jim Steinman (also known for writing lyrics for Meat Loaf) insisted that Burton was totally on board and that this show would be "dark and gothic" like his movies. Problem is, Steinman's demos for the unmade show are online and they're less Batman Returns, and more like a goth version of Grease.

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The musical starts with a number about Batman overlooking Gotham City at night and repeatedly singing "I work the graaaaveeeeyaaaaard shift." Catwoman has a sizeable role: not only does she get a long, introspective solo number called "I Need All The Love I Can Get," but she also joins Batman in a romantic duet, "Not Allowed To Love." This is supposed to be about their forbidden feelings, but it could also be interpreted as two people singing about their illegal fetishes.

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Meanwhile, the Joker sings an Elvis-esque rock number called "Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys" that sounds like a poor Robin Williams impersonator improvising gibberish for six minutes.

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But the silliest song is the one that was probably supposed the darkest one. In the operatic climax, "We're Still The Children We Once Were," Batman apparently has a regression and sings: "Where's mommy, daddy, where did they go?" Aww.

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Note that this wasn't a fan project that Steinman wrote out of boredom and put on YouTube himself. Warner Bros. approached him about working in an official Batman show for Broadway. The studio pulled the plug at some point, but one song ended up in another Steinman musical and two others in a Meat Loaf album (Bat Out Of Hell III). Speaking of which, given Meat Loaf's closeness to the composer, it's not insane to assume that he would have had a role in the show. Bane? Mr. Freeze? Killer Croc? An unusually tall Robin? Alfred? Honestly, there are no bad answers here.

Follow Maxwell Yezpitelok's heroic effort to read and comment every '90s Superman comic at Superman86to99.tumblr.com.

Top Image: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

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