Michael Keaton on the set of "Batman". (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Why Michael Keaton Walked Away From Batman (And Returned For The Flash)
In Tim Burton's "Batman" (1989) and "Batman Returns" (1992), Michael Keaton conveyed real darkness and anguish as the Caped Crusader to become a fan-favorite, despite the initial doubts over his casting. He was set to return in "Batman Forever," but fans never saw Keaton wear the famous cape again — until recently in the trailer for "The Flash."
When "Batman Returns" scared kids across America, Warner Bros. decided to lighten things up a bit, which created several issues for Keaton. In their first and second movies, Burton and Keaton brought Batman back to his roots as the Dark Knight — and Keaton reveled playing that role — but Joel Schumacher, the new director, had different plans for "Forever."
Schumacher told Keaton outright, "I don't understand why everything has to be so dark and everything's so sad," at which point the actor realized the Batman series was going south. Keaton told The Hollywood Reporter that he balked at the original pitch for "Forever" to the extent that he thought, "I just can't do it. I'll blow my brains out. I Just can't live with myself."
Keaton, however, will don the cape and cowl once again to appear in "The Flash" out June 16, 2023. About his return as Batman, he said, "I thought, 'Boy, what would that be like?' [...] It has to be good. There's no reason to do it if it's not good. [...] And I just jumped in and had fun. And why would you not? You know, I mean, director Andy Muschietti is fantastic, and it's really creative."