Following the box office success of Batman Forever and the impressive dailies for Batman & Robin, it was announced in February 1997 that Joel Schumacher would be returning to direct the fifth movie in the franchise. Joining him on this adventure would be screenwriter Mark Protosevich, who had previously written the script for Batman & Robin as well as one of Warner Bros.’ many attempts to adapt I Am Legend. “A few months ago, there were twelve movies being shot on the Warner Bros. lot, and [Warner Bros. executives] Bob Daly and Terry Semel asked to see a sample reel of each film,” Schumacher said at the time. “Each director put together dailies from the film. After Bob and Terry saw ours, they ordered another script for Batman.”
For Protosevich, the idea for a follow up to Batman & Robin was a dream come true. His initial pitch to Schumacher and the studio was to do a much darker take on the character following Batman Forever, but was told to write a family and box office friendly version. Schumacher himself was also interested in a more psychologically complex film, and was excited by Protosevich’s plans for Batman 5, with Egghead, Mad Hatter, King Tut and Scarecrow as the lead choices for villains.