Batman '89

When you think back to Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who has a bad word to say about the film. It defined a gothic era of the Dark Knight, inspired Batman: The Animated Series, and revived interest in comic book movies when the genre seemed all but dead and buried.

Not only was it the blockbuster of the year, but it also gave us the equally impressive sequel Batman Returns in 1992. Sadly, Michael Keaton dropped the cowl soon afterwards and Burton traded the director’s chair for the producer’s hat. What followed is a dark period in comic book movie history and is best forgotten. Do you really want to think of Bat-nipples right now?

With so much unexplored potential, wouldn’t it make sense to revisit this era? Naturally, most of the actors may be a little wrinkled around the lips—and some have sadly passed—to play the characters on the big screen again, but there are other creative ways to revisit this fabled time.

The Return of Batman '89

Rejected Comic Book Series

Last year, Joe Quinones revealed on his blog the failed pitch that he and Kate Leth proposed to DC Comics in 2015. Inspired by the Batman ’66 comic book series, they suggested something similar for Batman ’89, which would’ve taken place after the events of Batman Returns.

Quinones revealed how Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman would’ve returned and how they planned on introducing characters like Billy Dee Williams’ Two-Face, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn and Barbara Gordon/Batgirl throughout the miniseries. The concept sketches looked spot-on and extremely Burton-esque, but unfortunately DC decided against it for an unknown reason. Considering the proof of concept and how a story’s already planned, why not actually do it? Hey, if DC can allow Kevin Smith to create a stupid character called Onomatopoeia, surely it can allow the continuation of this franchise, right?

The Return of Batman ‘89

Return of the Caped Crusaders

Recently, we were treated to a trip back in time to Batman’66 in Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. While it may appear to be purely for nostalgic reasons, the film’s rather good and beautifully captured the camp and fun of the original series. The critics loved it, the fans adored it, and it allowed everyone to celebrate the series’ 50th anniversary.

Now, imagine we did the same with Batman ’89 in, say, 2019? It would be the perfect gift for long-time Dark Knight fans and all those who still wave the flag for Burton’s Bat. Heck, while they’re at it, chuck in Nicolas Cage as Superman as well to show us the result of one of the craziest ideas in Hollywood. If anything, it’ll be a good reminder of what could’ve happened in the mid-to-late 90s and be the ultimate fan service.

Removing the Bitter Taste of Batman Forever and Batman & Robin

Burton’s Batman will always be tainted by the legacy of Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. While not created by him per se, they are considered direct sequels to his films. It’s a shame that these blemishes are a part of history, and I’m sure Burton wishes to forget they exist, too.

Even though he can’t go back in time and helm the follow-ups, there’s the opportunity for DC to course correct in a way and give us a much-wondered “what if” storyline. Who wouldn’t want to see other Burtonverse stories and experience more of Keaton’s Batman? If Batman ’66 can still remain popular and relevant in 2017, I see no reason why Batman ’89 should be ignored, either. In whichever form or medium it chooses to exist, this is one iteration of the Caped Crusader that needs to make a comeback.

Would you like the return of Batman ’89 as an animated film or ongoing comic book series? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images from THEartistt95 and Joe Quinones.

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  1. ENRIQUE Lopez

    Hell yeah that would be awesome I figured some day micheal Keaton would return as Batman n a BATMAN BEYOND MOVIE

  2. David

    YES!! But only if Michael Keaton himself voices Batman/Bruce Wayne and they get as many of the original actors as they can to voice the characters they played at that time! Pleeease! :)

  3. Erik

    Absolutely! I was in college at that time and live that era. Batman was the biggest thing to look forward to in the biggest blockbuster at that time next to Star Wars! Bring it back as a cartoon absolutely! If you get Michael Keaton on board it would be a massive hit :-)

  4. I think I’m one of the 8 people on earth who wasn’t a fan of Keaton’s Batman. The 89 film was good, but then they killed the Joker. And then the sequel killed the Penguin who looked more like a circus freak than a super-villain. (What was with the black crap coming out of his mouth all the time?) Burton had a good vision but I would have preferred different actors. He passed over Willem Dafoe and that was a mistake for Joker. But again – I’m in the very small minority here.

    • I liked the movies for their dark and gritty tone (even as a kid I felt they brought the realism of the comics to life). I never did understand the killing of the Joker and Penguin though. Bob Kane loved what Burton had done, and when he visited the set during filming, he said to the extent of, “Finally, my vision of Batman has come to life.” (He hated Robin, but DC made him turn Batman into a father figure when they learned how many young boys were reading the comics, and he hated the cartoony 1966 series too).

  5. let’s see, there’s a Batman `66 comic series, a Wonder Woman `77 comic series, so why not a Batman `89 comic series or a stand alone movie like so many Batman stand alone animated movies that weren’t part of a series either.

  6. Hell YES!
    Keaton was, is, and always will be the definitive Bruce Wayne / Batman. He started it all, the posers after him are just riding his cape scallops. There hasn’t been an actor yet who can pull off both Bruce & Batman, as Keaton has done twice…NO ONE!
    If D.C. and Warner Bros. Were smart, they would green light this asap! It’s a fucking no brainer! It without a doubt, will be a huge money maker. So, if nothing else, they should look at it from a financial point of view.

  7. frodawgg

    As much as I would love this (comics or movie), I have to disagree with you about BR. That movie was just as awful as the two that followed. I look at 89 as a standalone.

    Also, as much as I love the first one, plenty of people say bad things about it. I’m not in that boat; even though it has its flaws, I love it for what it is. And it was my proper introduction to the character.

  8. Rick

    Michael Keaton Batmanand Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman would be awesome together again and having their voices directed by Wes Gleason as another DC Elseworld movie for DC Universe that fans would love to see and villains both male and female that would fit the story. Mike Carlin and James Tucker and the heads of WB Animation needs to make it happen after Reign Of The Supermen Part 2

  9. Yes, will Michael Keaton returning of course and possible have Catwoman back, (voiced by Michelle Pheiffer). Possibly have Billy dee william’s Two face as the main villian.

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