When you think of Michael Keaton, for the most part, you will think of his turn as the caped crusader in the 1989 film Batman and the 1992 follow-up Batman Returns. After his departure after the second film, the film went through two more actors in the title role and eventually that franchise went down in a blaze of glory like its director, Joel Schumacher.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Keaton was asked as to why he left the project. To put this into some context, which is weird for the internet, Keaton was slated to return for a third film with director Tim Burton. However, it seems that a rift had appeared between Burton and Warner Bros., that Burton had left the project.
It had always been said that Keaton left after Burton left. The truth is that Keaton had met with Schumacher, who pitched him the plot for the third film. “It sucked,” Keaton says of the script he was shown. “I knew it was in trouble when he [Schumacher] said, ‘Why does everything have to be so dark?'” Keaton departed the project and Val Kilmer was soon brought in to replace Keaton.
Why is this news? Simply because he never said the real reason why he left. Would Batman Forever been received more positively if Keaton was still on board? Most likely not. So why not bail while the iron was hot and leave people with the thought that he was the best Batman of the modern cinematic era. I think we can all agree on that.
Keaton has been having a sort of renaissance as of late with The Founder heading to theaters and his upcoming role in Spider-Man: Homecoming. He has always been a favorite actor of mine and I am glad he is coming back to the big screen.