While we’re now all familiar with the Burton Batman movies that got the big-screen iteration of the caped crusader started, Bruce Wayne could have had a very different beginning in the movies. Following the success of Richard Donner’s Superman in 1978, Warner Bros were keen to get the Bat ball rolling in the 1980s. And they approached an unlikely trio of names to be the director and stars.
In the 1980s, comedy was king and the former members of Saturday Night Live – including Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, John Belushi, Bill Murray and Eddie Murphy – were the biggest stars on the planet. So, it might seem strange now, but following the nearly $300 million success of Ghostbusters in 1984, director Ivan Reitman was approached about a Batman film. And Warner Bros thought they might have found their Batman in Bill Murray, and their Robin in Eddie Murphy.
It seems that Murphy had different ideas, however. “I talked to Eddie Murphy about it, and Eddie wanted to play Batman. That’s as far as that conversation went.” Murray told Yahoo Entertainment.
It sounds as though the main issue was that neither Murray or Murphy wanted to be Robin; “I don’t wanna be the Boy Wonder to anybody. Maybe much earlier when I was a boy. But it was too late for that by the ’80s. Also, I couldn’t do the outfit. Eddie looks good in purple, and I look good in purple. In red and green, I look like one of Santa’s elves. There was just a lot of vanity involved in the production. It wasn’t gonna happen.”
Michael Keaton ended up donning the black cape-and-cowl in 1989 and the rest, as they say, is history. Keaton will soon be returning to Gotham’s shadows in The Flash.
If you want to freshen up on everything that Gotham has to offer, now that a certain Vengeance is in the cinemas, check out our guide on how to watch the Batman movies in order.