To a lot of fans, myself included, Michael Keaton's take on Batman will always be a sentimental favorite, and while it's a far cry from what longtime readers of the comics were accustomed to, Keaton's iconic portrayal of the caped crusader left a lasting mark in the superhero film genre and pretty much paved the way for other films that would come after it.
However, Keaton's time in the Batman film franchise was short-lived and after just two outings as the Dark Knight, he quietly exited his supposed third film Batman Forever. The Joel Schumacher film reembraced the camp that the '60s Batman television show injected into the character but the involvement of Tim Burton as producer helped the project retain its serious tone.
Now, 30 years after he last played Batman, Michael is finally opening up about his decision to quit the franchise. Appearing on the Backstage podcast (via The Playlist), the DC and MCU star revealed that he knew he wouldn't fit the new direction for the beloved hero, especially with Warner Bros. wanting the franchise to be geared towards children.
He explains: "[With] 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."
"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.'"
Also Read: Michael Keaton Names Surprising Actor Who He Believes Was a Great Batman
It's a complete shame that he wasn't given a proper send-off but thankfully, Keaton has another shot at playing Batman as he makes his triumphant return in Ezra Miller's solo The Flash film. An older Bruce Wayne donning the Batsuit may not sound so appealing to some but folks who grew up with the Burton films are definitely stoked about it.
The Flash is scheduled for release in November.