Michael Keaton Looks Back On ‘Batman Forever’ Exit

Keaton reflected on his conversations with the late Batman Forever director.

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Michael Keaton recently explained why he left Batman Forever off the heels of returning as the Dark Knight in The Flash.

Decades ago, the Batman franchise went through a similar transition to what we have today, with Val Kilmer succeeding Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader in Batman Forever. Keaton is now back in the fold with his return in The Flash, but the 70-year old actor recalled on the Backstage podcast what drove him away from the cape and cowl initially with Batman Forever:

“To me, I know the name of the movie is Batman, and it’s hugely iconic and very cool and cultural iconic and because of Tim Burton, artistically iconic, I knew from the get-go it was Bruce Wayne. That was the secret. I never talked about it. [Everyone would say] Batman, Batman, Batman does this, and I kept thinking to myself, ‘Y’all are thinking wrong here.’ [It’s all about] Bruce Wayne. What kind of person does that?… Who becomes that? What kind of person [does that]? And then when the director who directed the third one, I said, ‘I just can’t do it.’ And one of the reasons I couldn’t do it was—and you know, he’s a nice enough man, he’s passed away, so I wouldn’t speak ill of him even if he were alive—he, at one point, after more than a couple of meetings where I kept trying to rationalize doing it and hopefully talking him into saying I think we don’t want to go in this direction, I think we should go in this direction. And he wasn’t going to budge.”

Batman Forever is known for being much more colorful than the Tim Burton films, and Michael Keaton also shared why he walked away from wanting to do a movie with a lighter tone:

“But I remember one of the things that I walked away going, ‘Oh boy, I can’t do this.’ He asked me, ‘I don’t understand why everything has to be so dark and everything so sad,’ and I went, ‘Wait a minute, do you know how this guy got to be Batman? Have you read… I mean, it’s pretty simple.’”

Directed by Andy Muschietti from a script written by Birds of Prey scribe Christina Hodson, The Flash will be inspired by the Flashpoint comic storyline, which followed The Flash as he navigated an altered DC Universe. Written by Geoff Johns and penciled by Andy Kuber, Flashpoint radically altered the status of the DC Comics universe and led to the launch of the New 52 titles. It is currently unknown how much inspiration the upcoming Ezra Miller film will take from the comic.

The upcoming solo film will star Ezra Miller reprising their role as Barry Allen from Justice League joined alongside Kiersey Clemons as Iris West, Maribel Verdú as Nora Allen, Ron Livingston replacing Billy Crudup as Henry Allen, Sasha Calle debuting as Supergirl, and the return of Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck as their versions of Batman.

The Flash will hit theaters on November 4, 2022. Stay tuned for all the latest news surrounding the future of Michael Keaton’s Batman, Batman Forever‘s legacy, and be sure to subscribe to Heroic Hollywood’s YouTube channel for more original video content.

Source: Backstage

Ryden Scarnato

Ryden Scarnato

Ryden's affection for all things DC, Marvel, and Star Wars has led him to entertainment journalism at Heroic Hollywood as a News Editor.