It might seem hard to believe, but the 1989 Batman movie almost ended up as a completely different take on the Caped Crusader.
The movie ended up was by Tim Burton and starred Michael Keaton as Batman. Fans were not happy about Keaton in the role at first because he was best known as a comedic actor with movies like Mr. Mom in his background.
However, an additional casting that almost happened would have changed everything we know about Batman and Robin.
Batman almost cast Eddie Murphy as Robin
Before Tim Burton’s Batman, the most popular version of the character came from the campy 1960s TV show with Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin.
In the ’80s, DC tried to make Batman more serious by eliminating the one-liners and giving him some edge. When Frank Miller created The Dark Knight Returns, Batman was forever changed.
However, one film director seemed ready to backtrack somewhat, at least from the outside looking in.
In the book Burton on Burton, the story behind the making of Batman included several different directors pitching their takes. One director that almost landed the job was Ivan Reitman.
Reitman had made Ghostbusters with former Saturday Night Live cast members and comedians Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis. It wasn’t all that different from Tim Burton coming off the comedy supernatural movie Beetlejuice with Michael Keaton.
Just like how Burton kept Keaton for Batman, Reitman also wanted to keep a Ghostbusters actor for the movie.
Ivan Reitman wanted to cast Bill Murray as Batman and bring in Eddie Murphy to play Robin.
Looking at Bill Murray at the time, it was easy to see Reitman was looking for the more comedic and campy look of the Batman TV show. While Eddie Murphy proved to be a great action star in Beverly Hills Cop, he was also cocky and bore no similarity to any Robin.
It would have been…different to say the least.
After several re-writes, Warner Bros. eventually passed on the idea of Bill Murray and Eddie Murphy playing Batman & Robin. Instead, they brought in Tim Burton, who cast Michael Keaton as Batman and left Robin out completely.
Burton didn’t go as dark as Frank Miller, but he did create a gothic look at Gotham City that has pretty much stayed intact over the years since.
By the time Christopher Nolan created his Dark Knight trilogy, Batman was years past his comedic and campy take, something that might not have happened if Ivan Reitman had his way with Batman & Robin.
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