Tim Burton is an icon in the film industry for his very distinctive visual language that harkens back to gothic roots. After his success on Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and Beetlejuice, he was given the opportunity to direct the Warner Bros. live-action adaptation of Batman. He cast Michael Keaton in the leading role and laid the first steps for the modern superhero genre. Yet, after his work on Batman Returns in 1992, the third entry was passed on Joel Schumacher with Batman Forever.
In a new interview with Empire, the director got a chance to reflect on his work and even how surprised he was when he saw the direction they went with the third entry; even making fun of the infamous Batnipples.
[Back then] they went the other way. That’s the funny thing about it. But then I was like, ‘Wait a minute. Okay. Hold on a second here. You complain about me, I’m too weird, I’m too dark, and then you put nipples on the costume? Go fuck yourself.’ Seriously. So yeah, I think that’s why I didn’t end up [doing a third film]…Tim Burton
He also goes on to highlight looking back that his take on the iconic franchise is more than just “dark” but he has positive memories of getting the chance to experiment with these iconic characters.
I’m not just overly dark. That represents me in the sense that… that’s how I see things. It’s not meant as pure darkness. There’s a mixture. “I feel really fondly about it because of the weird experiment that it felt like.Tim Burton
It’s great that he’s reflecting back on it positively and it’s always interesting to see how feelings change about a project over time. Batman and Batman Returns have become cult favorites, as well as defined the landscape that would eventually evolve with future entries like X-Men, Blade, and Spider-Man. Who knows if it might inspire him to lend his unique visual style to another superhero entry at some point in the future, as he’s currently busy with his Netflix The Addams Family spinoff series, Wednesday.