Whether it’s Adam, Michael, Val, George, Christian or Ben, there’s a Batman out there for everyone. For better or worse, and despite some horrible performances, these are the actors who have brought the Dark Knight to life on the big (and small) screen since the 1960’s.

But what about the actors who missed out on this coveted role? Let’s look back at some of the surprising (if not Bat shit crazy) names who almost donned the cowl and cape as Gotham’s feared protector.

Idris Elba

The world went suitably mad when Idris Elba’s name came up in conversation’s relating to who might be the next Batman. A black Batman?! Shock horror! It’s the same argument whenever anyone brings up the subject of race with a long-established role that has always been portrayed by a white male/female.

If you’re talking about changing the race or even gender of a prominent character mid-franchise then yes, it would be an odd choice, simply because how do you explain that away? However, there is nothing to say that with a franchise reboot you couldn’t do something as bold as this, and who better to take on the role than Idris Elba?

Lyle Waggoner

When it was announced that the World’s Greatest Detective was getting his own TV show, show runner ABC commissioned two very different screen tests. The first had Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin. The other had Waggoner in the role of Bruce Wayne, and Peter Deyell as the Boy Wonder.

Imagine how different the show would have been if ABC hadn’t decided to go with West and Ward!

Pierce Brosnan

One thing that may have been different for sure, had Waggoner been cast, is the casting of Pierce Brosnan in Tim Burton’s movie. You see, when Burton suggested to Warner that Pierce would be a great choice for Batman, the man who would be James Bond balked at the idea, flat out refusing to even look at the script. In Brosnan’s eyes, Batman was a camp, cheesy TV role from the 1960’s, and not something he was remotely interested in bringing to the big screen.

He later admitted to this being a huge mistake, and he has regretted his decision ever since.

Clint Eastwood

If Darren Aronofsky had been given the go ahead to adapt the Year One saga, then his first choice for the role of The Dark Knight was Dirty Harry himself, Clint Eastwood.

How serious a choice Eastwood actually was will never be known, but imagine if he was cast in a Bat-flick akin to Frank Miller’s work? A grizzly, pissed off Batman donning the cape and cowl one last time, despite being far beyond his prime to clean up the streets of Gotham City. I know I’d pay to see that.

Bill Murray

The former Ghostbuster may seem like an odd choice, but look at how eclectic his resume as an actor is, and it’s not such a huge stretch to imagine good old Bill showing interest in the role.

As legend has it, Ghostbuster’s director Ivan Reitman initially wanted Bill for a comedic adaptation, similar in tone to the old Adam West TV series. What’s more surprising perhaps though, is that he was one of Tim Burton’s early choices for his eventual 1989 hit. If you add into the equation David Bowie as The Joker, and you’ve surely got the most intriguing Batman lineup never made.

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