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Michael Keaton wanted Batman Forever to be like Nolan’s DC movies

Long before Christopher Nolan changed the superhero game with his Dark Knight trilogy, Michael Keaton wanted to bring a similar vibe to his Batman movies.

Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, and Michael Keaton as Batman

With the immense success and praise enjoyed by Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of Batman movies, it’s not hard to understand why people would want to try and replicate his approach. But, Michael Keaton apparently wanted to go for that vibe of superhero story long before Nolan came on the scene.

The DCU has, in one form or another, actually existed since 1966. If you’re watching the Batman movies in order, you had better go all the way back to Adam West’s big screen caper. However, it wasn’t until Michael Keaton took on the cape and cowl that things started to get really intriguing.

Long before the DCEU created a mess and the idea of watching the DC movies in order became a punishment, Keaton was lighting up the screen as one of the best Batman actors. And then, of course, Batman got another upgrade with the Christopher Nolan movies: Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises.

Nolan really did change the face of cinema when he made some of the best superhero movies ever. However, Keaton seemingly had the same idea decades earlier, too, but no one would follow his plan for an origin story.

He told IndieWire: “You look at where [Christopher Nolan] went, which is exactly what I wanted to do when I was having meetings about the third one. I said you want to see how this guy started. We’ve got a chance here to fix whatever we kind of maybe went off. This could be brilliant.”

Of course, none of that came to fruition. Tim Burton left the franchise, Joel Schumacher took over, and Keaton didn’t want to be a part of that. On stepping aside, Keaton added: “[Burton] didn’t want to do it, so I didn’t want to do it… I could see that was going south.”

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And south it did, indeed, go. Val Kilmer stepped into the Batmobile for Batman Forever, and George Clooney succeeded him for Batman and Robin. Sadly, both efforts are pretty poor, and Gotham’s hero needed nearly a whole decade to recover.

Luckily, Nolan’s more gritty and grounded Batman films elevated Bruce Wayne back to the upper echelons of the rankings of the best DC characters, and also produced the best DC villain with Heath Ledger’s turn as a Joker actor. They are some of the best entries in the franchise, and The Dark Knight is literally one of the best movies of all time, so it all worked out in the end.