The Greatest Role CHRISTOPHER LEE Never Got to Play

Think how terrific this would have been …


Before I knew how the world works (not that I necessarily do today), I used to write to DC Comics with my suggestions about casting a Batman movie.

This was about 1979, well after the end of the Adam West series and well before the Tim Burton movie.

The idea of a “serious” Batman movie was anathema to Hollywood and pop culture in general, such was the campy hangover left by Batmania.

But for fans like me who wanted to see the Batman of the comics portrayed on screen, 1978’s Superman: The Movie gave a glimmer of hope, hence some wishful casting thinking.

The Batman story that seemed best suited for a screen translation was this:


Limited Collector’s Edition #C-51 reprinted Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams’ Batman #232 and #242-244 in large-scale, cinematic glory.

It was the heart of the first Ra’s al Ghul saga — taking Batman from his first meeting with the Demon’s Head in Gotham, all the way to India, the Himalayas and the Arabian desert — scene of their epic, climactic battle.


In my youthful mind, there was only one person who should play Ra’s al Ghul and so I wrote DC and told them:


Christopher Lee.

His Scaramanga (which I wrote about here) burned so brightly in my head that he was the only choice — the only choice.

And if he were joined by another Bond veteran — Caroline Munro — you had an unbeatable Ra’s-Talia team.

Munro, seen in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, another favorite.

Munro, seen in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, another favorite.

Hell, they even worked together in Dracula A.D. 1972:


So just imagine:

Batman #244 - Page 14

Alas, it was never meant to be. It would be 2005 before the rest of the zeitgeist caught up with Ra’s al Ghul, with Liam Neeson‘s turn in Batman Begins — and another seven years before it met Marion Cotillard‘s Talia.

I still think my casting was better.

The funny thing is, I have no recollection of who I thought would make a good Batman and I never could decide on a good Robin.

But I did have other ideas when I was 12 about what would make a good “real Batman” movie: I just knew that Steve Englehart and Marshall RogersDetective Comics run would make a great film.


And like Christopher Lee and Ra’s al Ghul, there was only one actor in 1979 who I thought should play the Joker.

So I wrote DC and told them:


Jack Nicholson.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Christopher Lee would’ve been great. I always pictured Vincent Price, but I think Lee is better.

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    • Neeson was perfectly fine, but I could never get past Lee in my mind. Always stayed with me.

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  2. nice for always thought if warners finaly did batman movies that when they gout to rhas. the only person who could nail the demons head sophistication but also bring out the megolomania and down right coldness of the character would christopher lee. with a sequel being the son of the demon inroducing damion. wayne.

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  3. That is EXACTLY my casting, and has always been. Lee and Munro. As for Batman in 1979: CLINT EASTWOOD.

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  4. I spoke with Neal Adams about this at the Rhode Island Comic Con in November 2017, and he told me that both Christopher Lee AND Jack Palance were the inspiration for how Ra’s al Ghul would look. Had such a movie been made in the Seventies, you also would have had to cast Jill St. John as Molly Post, the skiier. Mr. Adams specifically confirmed to me about using her as the model for the Olympian. He also confirmed to me about Caroline Munro as the model for Talia. THAT would have made a great movie!!!

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