"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." -Michael Keaton[1]

In recent years Michael Keaton has been claiming that he pitched a Batman III prequel idea after disliking Joel Schumacher's ideas for the third movie. Schumacher has acknowledged that the film would have been different if Keaton had not exited the project, more "guided by the past."[2]


Early designs


Early unpainted Sonar batsuit maquette with a much smaller chest emblem sculpted by Jose Fernandez.

Giger Batman 3 Batmobile

H.R. Giger originally designed a much different Batmobile for the third movie.

As production began the conceptual designers (as well as everyone else) were under the assumption that Keaton would be returning. Keaton's negotiations were still ongoing when Rene Russo was cast as the female lead, Dr. Chase Meridian. Even after a year of offers, Robin Williams would not commit to playing the Riddler, much like Keaton. Akiva Goldsman also thought Keaton and Williams would be in the lead roles by the time he joined the project. Keaton was apparently still not satisfied with Goldsman's revisions and parted ways with WB. When Val Kilmer was chosen to replace Keaton, Rene Russo was deemed too old to play Kilmer's love interest, and was replaced by Nicole Kidman. Schumacher had always intended to use Tommy Lee Jones as the mandated secondary villain of his choice, but otherwise decided to cast younger actors as the direction of the film shifted. H.R. Giger's original Batmobile concept was also dropped.


Keaton's Marc Maron interview

Schumacher's Charlie Rose interview

Goldsman's on-camera public comments

Burton's on-camera public comments

Statements from Janet Scott Batchler

According to an interview with Janet Scott Batchler, Burton's only involvement with Batman III was approving Schumacher as director and Lee and Janet Scott Batchler as the writers. Burton did not contribute story ideas and by the time the Batchlers signed on, Schumacher already had hired Tommy Lee Jones to play Two-Face. The Riddler was also not considered for the villain until Schumacher and the Batchlers were at the development stage[3] when Warner Bros. wanted two villains in the movie; they wrote the role with Robin Williams in mind, but no deal was made with him. Also, it was Schumacher who wanted to bring in the character of Robin and the Batchlers turned to their assistant, who grew up in the circus, for research. The character of Dr. Chase Meridian was also created as a way to challenge both sides of Batman's personality, with Nicole Kidman's name mentioned for the role in the early stages.[3]


  • Burton agreed to helm a Catwoman spinoff while the studio moved on with a new director for future Batman sequels.


  1. WTF podcast
  2. Charlie Rose 1995 interview
  3. 3.0 3.1 Yip, Ben (September 3, 2011). "Interview With Batman Forever's Janet Scott Batchler", "The studio insisted on having two villains after Batman Returns. Joel Schumacher chose Two-Face. He already knew he wanted Tommy Lee Jones. That was already a done deal. They were very open to any second villain that we would choose. Due to the character's popularity, the Riddler was the obvious choice. "You're trying to make a big, pop tentpole movie. And we said, 'Look, we can't be using an obscure villain. We need a villain that everybody knows. And the villains that people know are The Joker, Catwoman, and the Riddler.' They had already done the Joker and already done Catwoman. So, we said we had to go with the Riddler."" 

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