In a new interview Empire magazine, Tim Burton said that he found it hilariously ironic to see the Batman movie franchise embracing its darkest tone yet in Matt Reeves’ The Batman when that is exactly what forced him out of the franchise following 1992’s Batman Returns.
Burton revealed he has yet to see The Batman, noting that he’d like to see it but added, “It is funny to see this now because all these memories come back of, ‘It’s too dark,’ So, it makes me laugh a little bit.”
Warner Bros. thought his version was too dark and did not want to continue with a third Burton-led movie, and replaced him with Joel Schumacher, who went created the campy Batman Forever and Batman & Robin.
“[Back then] they went the other way,” Burton said. “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 f— yourself.’ Seriously. So yeah, I think that’s why I didn’t end up [doing a third film.]”
“I’m not just overly dark,” Burton added. “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 [Batman Returns] because of the weird experiment that it felt like.”
As for adding nipples to Batman’s costume, Schumacher and the franchise’s lead sculptor Jose Fernandez said the nipples worked far better in Batman Forever because they were less pronounced on the suit. Speaking to Mel magazine, Fernandez said about the costume’s built-in nipples, “It wasn’t fetish to me, it was more informed by Roman armor — like Centurions and, in the comic books, the characters always looked like they were naked with spray paint on them — it was all about anatomy, and I like to push anatomy. I don’t know exactly where my head was at back in the day, but that’s what I remember. And so, I added the nipples. I had no idea there was going to end up being all this buzz about it.”
Schumacher allegedly loved the nipples so much in Batman Forever that he requested to showcase them even more in Batman & Robin. Fernandez did not want to go in that direction, but “he’s the boss, so we sharpened them, circled them and it all became kind of ridiculous.”
“I didn’t really care or think much about it,” Fernandez added about the nipple infatuation. “Whenever I had a chance, I’d explain where the concept came from — from Roman armor — but after a while, it got its own life and I just let it be. I couldn’t think of it much more after that.”