Here's why Michael Keaton didn't return for Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever; Find out
Michael Keaton has addressed why he did not reprise his role in Batman Forever. In Tim Burton's Batman in 1989 and Batman Returns in 1992, the actor effectively played Bruce Wayne and his Caped Crusader alter-ego. Keaton could have continued portraying Batman but he chose not to, instead opting out of Batman Forever, directed by Joel Schumacher.
Despite well-received successors including as Christian Bale and Ben Affleck's renditions from The Dark Knight trilogy and the DCEU, he remains the ultimate live-action portrayal of the DC hero for many. It's no secret that Keaton adored his time as the Bat of Gotham; decades after he put up his cape and cowl, he still speaks fondly about his time as the legendary character. Several times, he stated that he would be willing to reprise his role as the DC superhero. Fortunately, he has the opportunity to do so thanks to Warner Bros.'s expanding comic book multiverse.
The actor has stated that he would resume his role as Batman in Andy Muschietti's The Flash as well as HBO Max's Batgirl feature, as per Screenrant. But, if he enjoyed portraying the character so much, why did he decline the opportunity to appear in a third Batman picture, Batman Forever? Keaton goes into detail in a recent interview with In the Envelope: The Actor's Podcast on why he didn't feature in the Schumacher-directed film.
He said as per Screenrant, "When the director who directed the third one [came on] I said, 'I just can’t do it.' And one of the reasons I couldn't do it was—and you know, he's a nice enough man, he's passed away, so I wouldn't speak ill of him even if he were alive—he, at one point, after more than a couple of meetings where I kept trying to rationalize doing it and hopefully talking him into saying I think we don’t want to go in this direction, I think we should go in this direction. And he wasn’t going to budge."
Now, Keaton is preparing for his return to the DC universe by reprising his role as Batman in both The Flash and Batgirl. It may have taken a long time since his cancelled Batman Forever appearance, but the fact that he's back as the Caped Crusader after all this time is enough to get fans excited.