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Clint Eastwood Nearly Played an Iconic Villain on This ‘Batman’ TV Show

Clint Eastwood Nearly Played an Iconic Villain on This ‘Batman’ TV Show

Adam West’s portrayal of TV’s Batman boasts a villain lineup as vibrant as a kaleidoscope, and Clint Eastwood nearly joined them. In the 60s, Batman was a cultural phenomenon, paving the way for films like Airplane! with its camp humor. Loved by adults and teens alike, younger viewers reveled in the colorful characters and action-packed hilarity.

Meanwhile, talented actors lined up to play weekly villains. Heavy hitters like Milton Berle and Vincent Price took swings (or threw eggs) at the Caped Crusaders. The list of villains featured ran deep. Burgess Meredith made multiple appearances as the Penguin, while Caser Romero set the prototype for all future live-action Jokers. Frank Gorshin and John Astin both played the Riddler, with Eartha Kitt and Julie Newmar playing Catwoman in the series.

How Two-Face Nearly Made It to the Classic ‘Batman’ Series

One famous Batman foe that never showed up in the classic series was Two-Face. In the comics, Two-Face begins as Harvey Dent, Gotham’s District Attorney, and Batman’s ally. He was into Two-Face when a mob boss disfigured him with acid, shattering his sanity.

However, according to MeTV, the character of Harvey Dent/Two-Face would’ve had a different origin. In this iteration, Dent would have been depicted not as the District Attorney of Gotham City, but as a news reporter. His fate takes a dark turn when he is scarred on one side of his face due to an incident involving exploding studio lights.

Science fiction author and Star Trek scribe Harlan Ellison had crafted the story treatment for the episode. He was all set to pen the complete teleplay. However, the concept was initially discarded over concerns that Two-Face’s character might prove too frightening for the show’s family-friendly audience and clash with its whimsical tone. The idea resurfaced during the third season of the series due to dwindling ratings, but unfortunately, the show was canceled before any further progress could be made.

Reportedly, Clint Eastwood was approached about playing Harvey Dent in Batman. The iconic actor certainly would have had the chops to be sinister, presenting a real threat to Adam West’s caped crusader. However, it’s hard to imagine Eastwood matching the camp tone of the series.

However, who’s to say what sort of performance Eastwood may have given? Maybe once in costume and squared off against West under those studio lights, he would’ve found his inner Charlie Chaplin. Perhaps the comedy turn may have found him looking for roles such as Every Which Way but Loose years earlier. Maybe Batman could have helped Clint Eastwood find his funny bone…