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Wes Craven wanted to do a Batman movie so he could do it “right”

Wes Craven, the director of '80s DC movie Swamp Thing, was in talks to direct the 1989 Batman movie starring Michael Keaton at one point

Michael Keaton as Batman

These days, Wes Craven has made a name for himself as one of the best horror movie directors of all time, bringing slasher movies like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream to life. But before he made horror history with Freddy Krueger in 1984, Craven was mostly known for his work on 1982 DC movie Swamp Thing.

Despite being made on a shoestring budget, and Craven being relatively unknown at the time, Swamp Thing went down in history as a cult classic – and in 1986, he revealed in an interview with Fangoria magazine that he was a whisker away from directing a solo Batman movie.

“They’ve been talking about putting my name in the ring for that job,” he said at the time. “If The Batman was done right and had a good budget, I mean, it was my favourite comic book as a kid. I would like to do The Batman right as a period piece.” Sadly, it wasn’t to be, and the 1989 film, which starred Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader, was instead directed by Tim Burton.

As well as introducing Keaton as a Batman actor, the ‘80s movie also starred Jack Nicholson as Joker. Sadly, Craven passed in 2015, and never got to direct his own Batman movie, but his contribution to the superhero movie genre lives on. Adrienne Barbeau, who starred in Swamp Thing, told Inverse in 2020 that the monster movie‘s success is a “real tribute to Wes because he took a silk purse that they turned into a sow’s ear and turned it back into a silk purse.”

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“[O]nce we got on the set the studio started decimating the production and pulled the budget out from under Wes,” she explained. “So he was having to rewrite scenes and eliminate characters.” Against all odds, including a poor release window, Swamp Thing ended up doing well at the box office, and even caused the DC comic of the same name to be revived.

Looking forward, check out some of the new movies which form part of James Gunn’s DCU slate, which is subtitled ‘Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters.’ We’ve got guides on The Batman 2 and Superman Legacy for you to read, as well.