Michael Keaton Wanted to Make a Third Batman Movie as a Prequel
By now many Batman fans have taken to writing off Tim Burton's first dark, successful adaptation of DC Comics' hero because of Christopher Nolan's more successful and critically acclaimed trilogy with Christian Bale. However, Batman and Batman Returns deserve a little more credit than they've been given for making comic book films more acceptable to audiences and also giving them a much less fantastical style and presence in cinema. Part of that success was the surprisingly good casting of Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne, and for those who aren't aware, he was going to team with Burton for a third film before it fell apart and Warner Bros. decided to go in a different (and terrible direction) with Joel Schumacher. Read on!
Recently, Keaton sat down on comedian Marc Maron's always interesting WTF podcast (via The Playlist) and talked about where he wanted to take Batman for a third film. Though he mentions that he hasn't actually seen any of Christopher Nolan's Batman films (in fact, he admits he hasn't seen Batman Returns in its entirety), he's aware of the origin story from Batman Begins, and that's where he wanted to go with a third film. Keaton says:
"The guy who's doing them now, Chris Nolan, he's so talented, it's crazy. [Christian Bale] is so talented. It's so good. But I say that like I've seen them, and I actually haven't. I didn't even see much of the second one that I did. You look at where he went, which is exactly what I wanted to do when I was having meetings about the third one. I said you want to see how this guy started. We've got a chance here to fix whatever we kind of maybe went off. This could be brilliant."
And while Keaton tried to make this prequel/origin story work, Burton was already off the project and Warner Bros. had already replaced him with Schumacher, and they weren't interested in going that route. Thankfully, Keaton was smart enough not to stick around as he said, "I could see that was going south." Now it's easy to say that hindsight is 20/20, but at least Keaton was dedicated to developing Batman and Bruce Wayne as a character, and didn't just want to keep switching villains and changing up the action. In an alternate universe, we might have gotten yet another great Batman origin story, but instead we're here waiting to see Keaton as a RoboCop villain now. Thoughts?
Reader Feedback - 24 Comments
Batman and Batman Returns have less fantastical style? Are you kidding me? These movies are super fantastical looking and over the top in their style. Super goth punk industrial fantasy.
Linkfx on Jan 7, 2013
I'm with you on this Ethan. The dark. gritty and gothic feel of the city of Gotham under Burton and Keaton set the comic world of Batman in reality. What came between them and Nolan's Batman is best wiped from memory.
Steven on Jan 7, 2013
That was a batman who would have easier fit into the Justice League I think.
Guy who comments on things on Jan 7, 2013
NO WAY, with all due respect to Burton, the first movies will be like Nolan's ones, period. Nolan is a genius, no doubt about that and it is hard to beat him 😉
Ali Linx on Jan 7, 2013
Nolan is good. But TDKR wasn't as good as his previous two Batmans.
castingcouch on Jan 8, 2013
I am old enough to remember when the lights went down to see the first batman by burton. People in the theatre were clapping. Huge excitment. Everyone loved it.
frank on Jan 7, 2013
I certainly remember all the hype at the time. Which I was gladly sucked into.
castingcouch on Jan 8, 2013
Even though I like Christopher Nolan's films, I'm still a huge fan of Tim Burton's original Batman, though I haven't watched it for a few years (since I only own it on VHS).
Sean Kelly on Jan 7, 2013
keaton did a great acting job in it, even Val Kilmer was great as batman! I liked Burton's take on it, and onley the dark Knight was better and not because better directing but onley Heather played the joker in it! Nolan is a genius, but don't firget Burton also as genius!
avi on Jan 7, 2013
Burton's Bruce Wane practically tells everyone he's Batman any chance he gets - culminating in inviting Vale for a tour of the Batcave. The design of Gotham was ridiculous. Lando/Mr. Colt 45 as Harvey Dent? The only thing it had going for it was Jack. His movies were just awful and they are painful to watch today. I don't get all the fuss about Nolan's Batman-verse fitting in to JLA. We all know Batman doesn't have superpowers. If anything, Nolan provide a very rational blueprint for Batman's access to futuristic/state of the art weaponry and physical/mental abilities, which he depends on. Personally, I could see Nolan's Batman reasonably taking on Superman (using Frank Miller's tactics); definitely way more than Burton's.
Dirty on Jan 7, 2013
"Burton's Bruce Wane practically tells everyone he's Batman any chance he gets." Please. Who is "everyone"? And if you say that about Burton's, what about Nolan's? Everyone figures out Bruce is Batman; even strangers like John Blake. And Bruce tells Rachel too. God. "The design of Gotham was ridiculous." Of course it was. And in the real comics, Gotham City is just Chicago, right? Surely, it isn't influenced by art deco and art nouveau. There's nothing Gothic about Gotham's atmosphere. Nolan's design was so original. (Note: Sarcasm.) "Lando/Mr. Colt 45 as Harvey Dent?" Wow. You're cute. That's like saying "Princess Mia as Catwoman? A gay cowboy as the Joker? Qui-Gon Jinn as R'as al Ghul?" But I'd like to make something clear; I don't dislike Nolan's Batman movies. On the contrary, I kinda love them (except for the last one, which I would argue is the worst of all the Batman movies).
Krishna Shenoi on Jan 7, 2013
Maybe you should actually watch Burton's Batman before criticizing it. Vale figures it out, and its Alfred who lets her in. He doesn't tell anyone he's Batman. So what the hell are you talking about?
grimjob on Jan 7, 2013
I remember reading an article in a magazine when it was announced that he dropped the role as Batman because he felt the costume was too uncomfortable and now decades later he confesses the real reason why he left? Meh, I don't think anyone cares at this point but if they were going to do an origin story something tells me the story would of went the way of him fighting against a great illusionist while befriending Zatanna whom becomes his sidekick and it would be in this great adventure he forms the mystical creature named Batman
BinaryChaos on Jan 7, 2013
" he admits he hasn't seen Batman Returns in its entirety" wow, he's been busy since 1992. Here's another tidbit. Tim Burton doesn't read comicbooks. Infact, he wouldn't be caught dead with one.
David Banner on Jan 7, 2013
The movie is too old for anyone to care about. This will never get made
Dan W on Jan 7, 2013
What? Have you even read the article ? I loved the first two movies as a kid and Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman was one of the many mythical ladies that entered young boys fantasies. I lost interest with Val Kilmers Batman because it seem too cartoony for a movie at that point,besides we had the wonderful actual cartoon series to explore the Batman mythos,which was much more mature and less ridiculous than the movies.
dorkster on Jan 7, 2013
I loved Batman. Saw it 7 times in the theater and to this day if I see it on TV I get sucked into it no matter what point it is in the film. I don't compare what Burton did with Nolan. Both were completely different POVs. I can enjoy them both, just as I'm sure I will enjoy Man of Steel and still love Superman. I would have loved to see Keaton do an origin film. That would have been solid gold. Gold I tell ya.
PBGray on Jan 7, 2013
Keaton is the best Batman by far.
grimjob on Jan 7, 2013
Doesnt sound like he's interested in the story of Batman or Bruce Wayne at all..He hasnt even seen a trilogy thats like grossed over a billion dollars, let alone, hasnt seen most of his own movie?
Mike on Jan 7, 2013
It's not that uncommon that actors don't like watching themselves on the screen,so it's not weird that he has not seen the whole movie.
wacky socks on Jan 7, 2013
I think I've said this before, but I'd love to see Michael Keaton come back and do a Dark Knight Returns film. Would be pretty swanky to see him come back after all these years and play the role again, in his later age, and fit the DKR story line. I too have always loved Keaton's Bruce Wayne.
Gohikeone on Jan 7, 2013
The first 1989 Batman is better than any of the Chris Nolan ones. The Chris Nolan films have moments of absolute cinematic brilliance but as a whole cohesive product, The 1989 film is a great roller coaster. Thorough from beginning to end. And I recently saw Batman Returns and was blown away by all the Catwoman scenes. What an iconic performance.
Truth Powell on Jan 8, 2013
Have Hope on Jan 8, 2013
Micheal Keaton will always be the best batman hands down. I watched only the first of the new batmans just because of heath ledger. He was the only thing good about the movie. I HATE the scratchy voiced batman.
Leaanna on Aug 13, 2013
Sorry, new comments are no longer allowed.