Sometimes, I like to wonder about the stories which were never told, or the ones that could have easily gone in a different direction but for a small twist of fate. I think about this with stories in general, but of course, my biggest interest is in the Harvey Dent stories that never were.
As I've been a fan of the character for a long time, I've always had my eye out for news about the character in Wizard
and sites like Newsarama and Comic Book Resources, and there have been times when I've learned about an upcoming Two-Face story that never actually ends up getting released, or else it gets replaced at the last minute without explanation. As you might imagine, this is always disappointing, but there are some instances where it's actually painful
, since many of these stories might have drastically changed the direction of the character, and perhaps may have even altered the status of Harvey in the esteem of fandom. As such, when I look back at those untold stories, I can't help but wonder what might have been.
But thanks to you fine followers of this blog, I no longer need wonder alone! So over the next few weeks, let's examine these abandoned Two-Face appearances from comics, TV, and film, so that we can speculate what they might have been like and what impact they might have had, for good or ill. I'm also going to need your help verifying the veracity of these projects, since many of those articles and news sites are now defunct, and I'm solely going by my own faulty memory of stuff I'd once heard about years ago. As such, any information anyone has to prove or disprove the almost-existence of these stories would be greatly appreciated.
Seeing as how we're on the precipice of The Dark Knight Rises
, I think it's best to start with the unproduced projects for TV and film which would have given the character mass exposure outside the ever-shrinking realm of comics fandom. With that in mind, let's begin with one of the more famous examples:CLINT EASTWOOD AS TWO-FACE ON THE 60'S BATMAN TV SHOW (1968)
What was it supposed to be?
Two years after the release of The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
, Clint Eastwood had supposedly been cast to be Two-Face in the Batman
TV show. This would not only have brought the character into the show, but it also would have been his first appearance since he vanished from the comics in 1954. For the show, Two-Face's origin would be changed so that he would be a TV anchorman who got scarred when a klieg light exploded, following (the Silver Age revision of) the origin of Paul Sloane, the second Impostor Two-Face. What did we get instead?
Nothing, because the show was cancelled before the episode was made!
LOL, u Bat-mad?Do I have any proof that this almost existed?
Only wiki entries such as Wikipedia and DC Wiki, but their sources aren't as solid as I'd prefer. I'm fairly certain that one of you folks linked me to a more reputable source, but I can't remember what that was. If anyone can point it my way, I'll add it to this post. According to this link, it looks verified! And there was apparently a script by Harlan Frickin' Ellison, no less! Egad!Can I come up with any speculation, baseless or otherwise, as to what it might have been like?
Since the show often faithfully adapted actual comics stories from the era, I imagine that any Two-Face episode of the Batman
show would have been based around the more outlandish, late-period Golden Age Two-Face stories by Dick Sprang, such as the George Blake impostor story
(maybe complete with the floating balloon decoy twin brother head?
). Even more likely, it could have drawn inspiration from Two-Face Strikes Again!
There would be bad puns galore, lots of outlandish crimes based around the number two, attacks on people who have "two faces,"
and maybe even the giant-coin deathtrap, if they could have found a low-budget way to pull it off. Could we be better off that it never happened?
Possibly, possibly not. On one hand, it's likely that Two-Face's appearance in the show would have given the character added exposure to pop culture at large, so that he wouldn't be an obscure character to non-comics readers until his appearances in TV and film decades down the line. On the other hand, the show's take on Two-Face might have solidified the view of the character as a pun-spewing, weird-looking joke character even worse than the comics did!
Bear in mind, it took the Riddler decades
to shake the stigma of being associated with that show, a stigma which the Penguin still seems to carry to some extent. Consider how Denny O'Neil, the man who helped revitalize the status of Two-Face in the Bronze Age, treated the Riddler in a 1989 issue of The Question
Maybe O'Neil was just lashing out on behalf of every frustrated writer who struggled and failed to write Eddie well.
Perhaps it's mainly the fact that Harvey was
excluded from the show that his triumphant return to comics in the O'Neil/Adams classic Half an Evil
packed such a punch, simply because it brought in a refreshingly grotesque and tragic character to counteract the bright, colorful, silly camp of the show. After that issue, Two-Face became one of the main Batman villains throughout the 70's, whereas TV favorites like the Riddler and the Penguin started to languish in the comics. I don't think that's a coincidence. As such, I believe that Harvey became such a major character simply because he wasn't
on the show.
But of course, that status comes with a trade-off. While he became a major character in the comics, Two-Face remained virtually unknown to the world at large until Batman: The Animated Series
and especially (unfortunately) Batman Forever
. Meanwhile, everyone knows who the Penguin is, and even if he's looked down upon and unappreciated by actual comics readers, Pengers (specifically
the squawking Meredith version) still endures as a figure in pop culture. Two examples that come to mind are how Jon Stewart has gotten a lot of milage from comparing Dick Cheney to Penguin, and the character even made a quick cameo in a recent episode of The Simpsons
Ultimately, I think it was better that the character remained obscure and known only to comics fans, because that retained the tragic aspect more than he probably would have gotten from the TV show. An anchorman is hardly the same kind of heroic paragon of justice that a District Attorney represents, after all. Still, I would have loved to have seen what Clint's Two-Face would have been like, and what they would have done with his makeup. I also wonder what (if any) impact that playing Two-Face would have had on his career. If it had continued largely unchanged, perhaps both he and Harvey would have found new meaning with the line, "Do you feel lucky?