Michael Keaton Describes His ’90s ‘Batman Begins’ Origin Film

Published 2 years ago by

Michael Keatons Batman Begins Origin Film Michael Keaton Describes His 90s Batman Begins Origin Film

“What If?” discussions regarding Batman films are now a common indulgence – but one silver lining of Internet pontification is that we sometimes get to dust off little gems of knowledge that have only recently gone viral thanks to digital media.

The latest such discovery has to do with Michael Keaton, who ushered in the modern era of Batman films by playing Bruce Wayne/Batman in director Tim Burton’s seminal 1989 film, Batman, and its 1992 sequel, Batman Returns. According to Keaton, he had plans to do a Batman origin film – long before director Chris Nolan released Batman Begins in 2005.

Keaton appeared on comedian Marc Maron’s ‘WTF Podcast‘ recently, and The Playlist nabbed the following quote:

“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.”

At that point in the franchise Keaton refers to, Burton had already moved on; director Joel Schumacher was coming onboard and would go on to release the lesser-loved Bat-films, Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997). The latter of those films was considered SO BAD it forced Warner Bros. to shelve the franchise for more than half a decade, until Nolan came calling with Batman Begins. Schumacher is still receiving angry letters (and occasional death threats) to this day.

Keaton didn’t hang around to go down with the ship after Batman Returns; he left the role behind and Schumacher was paired with Val Kilmer and then George Clooney as the Caped Crusader in his two Bat-films.

Batman 1989 vs. Batman Begins Dark Knight Michael Keaton Describes His 90s Batman Begins Origin Film

On the one hand, hindsight is 20/20; it’s easy to say NOW that Keaton was on the right track – especially if you speciously look at Batman Begins as the measure of how Keaton’s plans for ‘Batman 3′ would’ve turned out. But that sort of thinking is just wrong.

There are plenty of people who would point to Batman Returns as evidence of where the studio and filmmakers – as Keaton put it – ‘kind of maybe went off'; those same people might be inclined to argue that another film with Keaton (Burton or Schumacher) attached might’ve still gone down the wrong path – origin story or not.

As stated at the start, though, discussing the “What Ifs” of these situations is half the fun, so let’s take a poll:

[poll id=”494″]

The Dark Knight Trilogy is now available on DVD/Blu-ray – as are Batman and Batman Returns.

Source: WTF Podcast & The Playlist

Follow Kofi Outlaw on Twitter @ppnkof
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  1. I like Nolan’s batman films more. Including Rises.

  2. The Dark Knight wasn’t that good. Just read the old RDj article from ’08. The screenranters agreed.

    • I’m honestly not a fan of TDK either.

      The Burton films just felt more…fun, but at the same time dark. To me, “Batman” captured everything as close as one possibly could at that time. It felt like Batman

  3. As for Keaton playing Wayne/Batman, I kind of like him a little better than Bale. Keaton brought a dry quirky humorous tone into the character that Bale lacked.

    As for whether Burton would have pulled off an origin story or not, that’s anybody’s guess.

  4. WHY don’t you like The Dark Knight??? “It wasn’t that good” is not a REASON

  5. Nolan’s Batman trilogy are my favorite movies of all time, so of course I think the Burton movies are lesser than them. But I’ve never liked Batman Returns. I think most people can agree that Batman Returns is more of a Tim Burton movie with Batman in it. But I think every Batman fan’s wish is to see a Batman movie more along the lines of the Arkham games. That would be just simply amazing

    • ‘Batman Returns’ is clearly and overtly a Tim Burton film from beginning to end because he had complete creative control on it – one of his stipulations for agreeing to direct it – whereas he had no creative control on the 1989 film, and has called it’s making a “nightmare” because of all the suggestions and changes being made to it during it’s actual production. I love the 1989 film, but I think ‘Batman Returns’ is a smarter, funnier, consistent film with a sparkling script and first-rate action… I love ’em both, it’s just a shame the studio ditched that approach to make toy commercials instead, but a big-screen adaptation of ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ with Keaton as an aged and embittered Bruce Wayne would be an absolute dream, alas, it won’t happen, but WOW(!!!) if it did…

      But with Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight saga at an end – and what an end at that – I think the studio should give the Dark Knight a well-earned break for at least a decade, let it settle for a while before giving it another go. After that, a big-screen adaptation of either ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ or ‘Gotham by Gaslight’…

  6. I read many comments that Keaton should return as older Batman in future movies, that’s going to be like dropping another nuclear bomb in Gotham City. I like the 89 Batman but not the 92, and if any of you noticed the change of style in mid 90’s it’s so weird and wrong, have you seen the movie Hackers with Miller, something went wrong in that period of time and not to mention the Joel Batman movies which started in 1995 horrible. I like the Nolan movies.

    • Dude, whats the hells wrong with Hackers? That movie is fantastic!

  7. This never would’ve worked because of WB. Schumacher wanted to do a Batman Year One after B&R, but WB wanted Batman Triumphant with Nick Cage as Scarecrow and Madonna as Harley Quinn. ‘Nuff said. It wasn’t until after Batman & Robin bombed that WB made Schumacher the scapegoat, kicked him out, and we eventually got Nolan’s take, which is my personal favorite, but that’s irrelevant. Either way, I doubt WB would’ve gone with a cool origin story that early in the game.

    But if it could have somehow happened, Keaton yes, Burton no, Schumacher maybe. Keaton was possibly the best Batman, but not such a great Bruce Wayne IMO. Burton made gothic Burtony movies, which kinda worked for it’s time, but they weren’t really my cup of tea. Schumacher is a good director (watch Phone Booth), but made pretty bad Batman movies, largely due to WB. If he would’ve been given some actual control, it could have been great.

  8. Andholy crap, hate Nic Cage all you want (personally i love the guy) but he would have made an EXCELLENT Jonathan Crane.

  9. All well said Batman 1989 has been a timeless bar setting movie. I mean Michael Keaton’s 1989 Batman could fight and it looked good and convincing. In spite of The Nolan trilogies in which I take a huge liken to, I didn’t like Christian Bales Batman fighting style (with the exception of Batman Begins I can watch the first half of that) as much as I enjoyed Rises I must say Tango & Cash had more kicking in it than Nolans Batman(Where is the F-cking Kicking?)

  10. Burton kind of blew it as far as doing an origin story when he revealed the Joker as the one who killed Wayne’s parents. As we all know that did not happen and I thought that was Burton’s biggest mistake in that franchise. That was totally unfaithful to Bob Kane’s original concept. Burton was trying to tie up too many loose ends solving Dr and Mrs Wayne’s murder all in the first installment. If Burton had left it open, it would have made the sequels much more interesting.

    At least in the Nolan franchise, they stayed more true to the original comics. Lesson learned: If you’re going to do an adaptation of a classic superhero, stay true to the original source.

  11. Michael Keaton was just an all around better Batman and Bruce Wayne. After watching Nolan’s films , I just could never manage to get over Bale’s way of speaking as Batman. The way he spoke while in the cowl (like he has asthma and possibly pneumonia)just seemed so dumb and ridiculous .. annoying even !

  12. Michael Keaton was just an all around better Batman and Bruce Wayne. After watching Nolan’s films , I just could never manage to get over Bale’s way of speaking as Batman. The way he spoke while in the cowl – like he has asthma and possibly pneumonia- just seemed so dumb and ridiculous .. annoying even !

  13. Michael Keaton was just an all around better Batman and Bruce Wayne. After watching Nolan’s films , I just could never manage to get over Bale’s way of speaking as Batman. The way he spoke while in the cowl – like he has asthma and possibly pneumonia- just seemed so dumb and ridiculous . Annoying even !

  14. Tim Burton is more than just Good as a Director as Chris Nolan is. if anything Joel Schumacher should have handed Both Batman Forever and Batman and Robin to Tim rather than directing them, so at least he could move to other film projects at the time after Tim Completely reinvented Batman to impress Batman Fans. However instead of Micheal Keaton even though he is a favorite of mine, but Val Kilmer as he Could do a Micheal Keaton type Batman but maybe also make Bruce Wayne have the Humor of George Clooney’s Bruce Wayne but only smaller and Mirror in doses and fights more animalstic in terms of fighting check out Frank Millar’s Batman comics but like Christian Bale’s Batman he should move in and out of the shadows almost like a ghost, followed by the interrogations, same Gadgets and high tech weapons as seen in batman Begins, but for the Batmoble a high tech but Grey Colored Lamborghini instead of the one in Batman Forever. Joe Chill [still starred by Richard Brake] is still the Killer of Mr and Mrs Wayne. but in regards for the Villains, in Batman Forever a Darker take on
    Tommy Lee Jones’s Two face and enter Ryan Gosling as The Riddler but with Tim Burton’s ideas for The Riddler, with a Catwoman Cameo depending on who can do the role. to boot. however
    Catwoman reappears in a Tim Burton Directed Batman and Robin in Medium sized Cameo perhaps starting of as a Feline like Trickster and Thief the assisting Batman as a ally for Probable Cause like in The Dark Knight Rises against the Villains that includes a Robin Hood inspired Career Criminal Named Jason Todd known as Robin [Starred by Josh Harnett] and Poison Ivy starred by Demi Moore think more like Talia Al Ghoul in The Dark Knight Rises but slightly more Environmental and not forgetting being a Redhead and a Vegetarian and finally Maxie Zeus Starred by Jeremy Irons, Maxie Zeus (Maximillian Zeus) was a former history teacher until he became an insane mob-boss with an obsession for Greek mythology. He usually used electricity-based weaponry to emulate the Greek god Zeus and at one point formed the New Olympians consisting of characters based on Greek Mythology characters. and that is all that u can browse about if u like.

  15. Hey did you guys know that John McTiernan the guy who made die hard 3 and the hunt for red October was offered to direct the third batman. At least I think he was sorry don’t quote me on that but I think if he ended up taking the job instead of Schumacher (actually anybody over Schumacher) the movie would have rocked with Keaton’s idea of working on an origin like story

  16. I prefer if ‘Batman Triumphant’ would have been released in 1999 after all. I also prefer the original James Bond franchise which is from Sean Connery to Pierce Brosnan. I would have also liked to have seen a ‘RoboCop 4′ rather than the recent remake! Same there should have been a ‘Spiderman 4′ than already have done a reboot! Plus there should have been a fifth Superman film instead of that Man Of Steel re-telling!

  17. I burnt myself when eating or drinking whole life three quarters. Got blisters on my intestine foodpipe and oesphagus. I took mints Trebor mints chewing gum, milk, water, sprite seven up, ibuprofen, paracetamol. I died badly to my genetics and bodyscan and hear I’m a really amazing person. Told I’m being made bigger than the witch of time any second. Help me. I need serious healing powers. I drink green and black tea and absorb catcheins poly phenols and antioxidants.
    I remember wonderwoman saving my mum. That screamed her head off forever or lost her screams.
    I see somone living my perfect life or amazing life over and over again I. In My mind sight.

    I hear I am better looking than my worst enemy’s any second or minute.

    Help me batman

  18. Let’s face it Keaton was the BETTER Breuce and the better BAT. Tim Burton is hands down a genius. So Batman with Keaton and Burton with Modern Day Technology, would be BEYOND EPIC.