Joker was a real moneymaker and it inspired fans to wonder what other Batman villains would be right for the standalone spinoff treatment.
The usual rank and file of Penguin, Two-Face, and Bane have been brought up time and again but Joker and hardened Batman film franchise producer Michael Uslan knows which character he’d like to make a movie around.
Taking part in Wizard World’s Batman to Joker panel, Uslan disclosed his wish to see Mr. Freeze on the big screen in his own adventure that plays out his backstory in a compelling way.
But it wasn’t the campy, quipping Freeze played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Batman & Robin he had in mind. Uslan wants to draw from the origin established in the most celebrated Batman: The Animated Series iteration.
“One of my favorite episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, which I love, absolutely love, dealt with Mr. Freeze and the loss of his wife,” he emphasized. “The empathy, the emotions that that created, I could see [making a movie].”
That’s got to be a relief for fans leery of any resurgence of Dr. Victor Fries in Hollywood. BTAS gave us the version of the icy villain we’d rather remember and cherish.
Uslan didn’t identify the episode by name but no doubt he was talking about the Emmy winner “Heart of Ice” that set the tone for Freeze in the animated universe.
His arc was layered further in the equally compelling episodes “Deep Freeze,” “Cold Comfort” (of The New Batman Adventures), “Meltdown” (Batman Beyond), and the feature film Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero.
Mr. Freeze has made appearances here and there since 1997 in games, Kids’ WB!’s The Batman cartoon, and on Gotham; but he arguably suffered a hit from Arnie and Batman & Robin he hasn’t quite recovered from.
Schwarzenegger, nevertheless, doesn’t regret the movie or playing Freeze. “I don’t regret it at all,” he told Empire in 2012.
“I felt that the character was interesting and two movies before that one Joel Schumacher was at his height,” the former Governor continued. “So the decision-making process was not off.”
Freeze’s name has come up in passing for a standalone villain adaptation Warner Bros. is rumored to be kicking around.
Arnie hasn’t ruled out playing a comic book villain again but WB will probably cast someone else if anything comes of the idea. It’d be darker and grittier anyway.
Michael Uslan has co-produced every Batman movie since 1989 including Batman & Robin and SubZero.
Once a comic writer, he’s produced other comic book films besides Batman: from Wes Craven’s Swamp Thing to Frank Miller’s The Spirit (which Uslan also co-wrote).
His resume grew to include Matt Reeves’ The Batman – scheduled now for 2022.