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Michael Keaton reveals why he gave up on being Batman

After 30 years, Michael Keaton will return to wear the Batman uniform in The Flash . And the actor's return to the hero also helped the first Batman interpreter in theaters to explain why he gave up the role after just two films, not returning to Batman Forever . According to him, the exit was precisely because of creative differences and the way he saw the character.

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During his participation in the In the Envelope podcast, Keaton told for the first time why he gave up on Batman, revealing that he did not agree with the approach taken by director Joel Schumacher at the time. That's because, for the actor, the story of the movies has always been about Bruce Wayne and not just about Batman itself.

For Michael Keaton, Bruce Wayne has always been more important than Batman (Image: Press Release/Warner Bros.)

“I know the name of the movie is Batman and that he is a huge cultural and artistic icon,” Keaton said. “Everyone talks about Batman, that he did this, that he did that, but I kept thinking that people were seeing things the wrong way. It was about Bruce Wayne. What kind of people do these things? Who becomes that?”.

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Given this hero's perspective, the actor revealed that he didn't agree with the approach Schumacher wanted to give the Batman, putting the persona of Batman above the figure of Bruce Wayne — which also included changing the tone of the film.

Keaton said that at one point in pre-production on Batman Forever , the director said he didn't understand why the film had to be so dark and sad, while the actor himself had to step in and question whether he knew how Bruce Wayne himself became Batman. “Just read it. It's really simple to understand," he said.

Batman Forever left Tim Burton's dark tone behind and took on a more comical take (Image: Press Release/Warner Bros)

However, the discussion proved quite fruitless and the hero's third film, released in 1995, really left the heavier tone adopted by Tim Burton to bring something more colorful and comical, with the right to a Riddler lived by Jim Carrey. And Keaton was eventually replaced by Val Kilmer.

The Batman in The Flash

While the actor's statement is a great way to understand how the Batman movies have gone downhill from there over the years — Joel Schumacher's second film for the character, Batman & Robin , is still considered one of the worst hero movies of all time—it's also a nice hint of what to expect from this return to role.

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As stated, Keaton will return to the batcavern in The Flash to play this older hero who will help Scarlet Sprinter deal with the mess of realities. And that seems to fit perfectly with the vision he's carried of the Batman for more than three decades: it's always been about Bruce Wayne.

That means we should take a much more man-in-the-cloak approach, meaning this older Bruce already seasoned by decades of crime-fighting in Gotham — something pretty close to what we had in Batman's Future animation. And, if that happens, it's going to be something really interesting to see.

The Flash hits theaters in December 2022.

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