Ever wondered why Tim Burton didn’t direct Batman Forever. His two first Batman films were a hit, so why did Joel Schumacher take over?
Well, I’m here to say that he actually had plans for a third film and it would have been totally different. For starters, it would have been named “Batman continues.”
However, Warner Bros had other plans for the franchise. The studio was more focussed on selling merchandise than making a good movie. To be clear, I still love the goofy film of Joel Schumacher, but the goal of Warner Bros was all wrong.
Tim Burton’s vision was dark, while Joel Schumacher had a new approach for the franchise. He was going to make it child-friendly and campy. On top of that, the more gadgets you introduce, the more toys you can make.
One of the reasons for this approach was McDonald’s involvement. Yes, believe it or not, but their involvement changed the Batman movies. Before the release of the second film, McDonald featured the heroes on every food packaging they had. However, the film was dark, and Catwoman had an S&M portrayal. That caused frustration at McDonald’s, and they realized that Tim Burton wasn’t the fit for Batman Forever. Or Batman Continues.
Ugh, I hate it when studios get their priority wrong. Make movies first, and merchandise later. I would have loved to see Tim Burton’s take on it.
That is truly unfortunate as this would have been a true sequel to Batman 1989 and Batman Returns. Batman Continues would have been more cohesion. And, some of the previous characters would have returned.
What would have changed if Tim Burton made Batman Forever?
As mentioned before, the title would have been “Batman Continues.” Tim Burton hated the title “Batman Forever.” Honestly, I think both titles are fine. They sound similar to my ears.
Michael Keaton as Batman
Obviously, Michael Keaton would have been Batman again. This was a no-brainer, and the actor was very interested in returning to the role. It can be upsetting how we will never see that again.
Unfortunately, due to Warner Bros’ involvement in making the film lighter, Michael Keaton lost interest. He said the following to The Guardian:
“The film just wasn’t any good, man. I tried to be patient, but after a certain point, I was like, I can’t take this anymore, this is going to be horrible … It sucked! The script never was good. I couldn’t understand why he wanted to do what he wanted to do. I hung on for many meetings. I knew it was in trouble when he said, ‘Why does everything have to be so dark?”Michael Keaton
FYI, he was referring to Joel Schumacher.
Also, when Michael Keaton saw Batman Begins from Christopher Nolan, he revealed on a podcast that he also had an idea for Batman’s origin story. He praised Christopher Nolan for his work. And, Keaton also said that he wanted an origin story while he was having meetings for a third film.
It wasn’t very clear who was going to play the Riddler. Many sources tell us Robin Williams was the choice, and other sources tell me that Johnny Depp was going to be the Riddler. However, both actors would have been interesting. Although, I believe that Robin Williams was the one to be considered. On top of that, he was also going to be the Joker in the first Batman 1989 film. But, we all know that didn’t happen. Which I’m not mad about as I genuinely loved Jack Nicholson’s performance. Furthermore, he made a statement about his potential role as the Riddler after being dropped out.
The Batman films have screwed me twice before. Years ago they offered me The Joker and then gave it to Jack Nicholson, then they offered me The Riddler and gave it to Jim Carrey. I’d be like, “Ok, is this a real offer? If it is, then the answer’s yes. Don’t pump again mother***ers.”Robin Williams
We all know Tim Burton for his weird movies like Beetlejuice. For the Riddler, he had another insane idea, which I honestly dislike. And that was to shave the Riddler’s head into a question mark. That’s a bit too much for me, but on the other hand, the Pinguin was also very cartoonish.
Finally, Jim Carrey got the role, but he was in his prime back then. And, I can’t hate him for it. I love the guy’s energy and presence, even as a goofy Riddler.
Billy Dee Williams would return to become Two-Face
Tim Burton introduced Harvey Dent in the first Batman film. Billy Dee Williams admitted that he had hoped to return as Two-Face. Unfortunately, Schumacher didn’t hire him back. Instead, Tommy Lee Jones took on the role. I felt bad for the guy as he already played Harvey Dent.
There were initial plans to end Batman Returns with a scene where Catwoman shocked Harvey Dent. He would have become Two-Face at the end of the film. However, those plans were changed.
But there was still some good news for Billy Dee Williams! He played his iconic Two-Face in The Lego Batman Movie.
Marlon Wayans as Batman Sidekick, Robin
Tim Burton casted Marlon Wayans to play Robin in his Batman films.
The actor revealed that he was going to play in Batman Returns, but there were already too many characters. So, Tim Burton kept him on the bench.
When Joel Schumacher took over, Chris O’Donnell replaced Marlon. However, Marlon still gets paid for a movie he didn’t even make. He got a huge buyout and still gets money thanks to his involvement with the Batman franchise.
At the end of Batman Returns, it was revealed that Catwoman was still alive. That was intentional, as she was set out to return in the third film.
However, it’s unclear what her role was going to be in the film. Michelle Pfeiffer was great as Catwoman, and there were plans to release a spin-off. Pfeiffer would have returned as Catwoman, and Tim Burton attached as director. Later, Tim Burton dropped out, and Warner Bros left the project left aside. Years later, we got a Catwoman movie with Halle Berry. And we all know that the film wasn’t great. What a shame. She even won a Golden Razzie for it, a reward for the worst actress of the year. She even accepted her Razzie and gave a hilarious speech.
Brad Dourif as Scarecrow
Another villain who Tim Burton wanted to be part of Tim Burton’s films was Scarecrow. Brad Dourif would have been his pick. You probably know him as Grima Wormtongue in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Tim Buron met Brad Dourif on a plane and wanted to hire him ever since. He was allegedly the first choice for playing the Joker, even before Jack Nicholson. However, Warner Bros said, “no.” Therefore his next idea was to hire him as the Scarecrow.
Dourif would have been an excellent choice for Scarecrow. He can look scary and twisted. On top of that, he would have fit right in.
Rene Russo, the new love interest
The new love Bruce Wayne’s love interest was going to be Rene Russo. Michael Keaton already had Vicki Vale and Selina Kyle added to his love interests, but that didn’t stop Burton to get a third one.
Russo was supposed to be an alluring psychologist under the name Dr. Chase Meridian. However, Nicole Kidman replaced Rene Russo for Batman Forever. After all, Nicole was also younger than Russo.
Batman Forever is a guilty pleasure of mine, but I would have loved to see Tim Burton’s version. I believe it would have made more sense as a true continuation of the Batman films.
OMG how much would I have rather seen Marlon Wayans as Robin rather than Chris O’Donnell?
I was surprised too when I did my research.