George Clooney Knows Why He Wasn't Asked To Reprise Batman In The Flash

When you star in a film as disastrous as Joel Schumacher's 1997 fiasco "Batman & Robin," you've got to have a sense of humor about the whole ordeal ... that is, if you survive it. George Clooney, who was the fourth and final Caped Crusader of the phase launched by Tim Burton's "Batman" in 1989, did ultimately make his mark as a movie star in Steven Soderbergh's "Out of Sight" and David O. Russell's "Three King," which has allowed him to self-deprecatingly boast over the last few decades that he was the man who killed the franchise.

The truth of the matter is that Warner Bros. did the series in by rushing the film into production after the success of 1995's "Batman Forever." Schumacher, who'd just completed "A Time to Kill," lacked the time to develop a serviceable story with screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, so they basically made the film up as they went along. Schumacher also created quite a stir amongst the fanboys by putting nipples on Clooney's Batsuit. The movie never stood a chance — nor, despite his high-wattage charm as Bruce Wayne, did Clooney.

Clooney, however, is a stand-up guy, so he's absolved his collaborators of their creative sins and shouldered the blame for the film's flame out. This means his feelings weren't hurt when WB and director Andy Muschietti didn't reach out for a cameo appearance as Batman in "The Flash."

The man who killed Batman... briefly

During a 2015 interview on "The Graham Norton Show," the host registered surprise that George Clooney had apologized to a packed Hall H at that year's San Diego Comic Con for having made "Batman & Robin." "I always apologize for 'Batman & Robin,'" said Clooney.

He's not joking, and he's still firing off those mea culpae. For example, in 2021, when Variety's Mark Malkin asked if Clooney might turn up in "The Flash," Clooney dashed these hopes in classic, self-effacing fashion:

"They didn't ask me. When you destroy a franchise the way I did, usually they look the other way when 'The Flash' comes by."

When asked in 2019 by Vulture's Andrew Goldman about Clooney's willingness to take the rap for "Batman & Robin," Joel Schumacher declined to pin the film's failure on his star. "Well, you know, that's very George," he explained. "First of all, Batman has survived since 1939 — we're the same age. Nothing has ever stopped Batman."

Schumacher was, of course, right. After an eight-year hiatus from the big screen, Christopher Nolan revitalized the franchise with "Batman Begins." His trilogy earned well over $2 billion worldwide, and, after the unfortunate hiccup of Zack Snyder's DC run, the character is now under the steady guidance of Matt Reeves. George Clooney is a capable man, but killing Batman? Not happening.