On June 23, 1989, Tim Burton’s spin on the well-known story of the DC Comics hero Batman was released in theaters. It was the first installment of Warner Bros.' initial Batman film series and starred Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Here are 5 surprising bat-facts you didn't know about The Caped Crusader.
Hollywood's Biggest Stars Were Considered For The Title Role
Tim Burton lobbied hard to cast Michael Keaton in the 1989 movie. Keaton was best known at the time as a comedic actor and didn’t exactly look the part. Michael Keaton’s casting was initially a source of controversy, resulting in Batman fans writing 50,000 letters to Warner Bros. protesting the decision. Other actors considered to play Batman included: Alec Baldwin, Mel Gibson, Kevin Costner, Charlie Sheen, Pierce Brosnan, Tom Selleck, and Bill Murray. Kiefer Sutherland, Eddie Murphy, and Marlon Wayans were initially considered to play Robin.
Batman Was Originally A Blonde
Bob Kane's original idea for The Batman's costume was drastically different as it appears today. Batman started off with blonde hair, a red jumpsuit, and a domino mask which only covered his eyes. There was also no sign or logo on his chest. The only thing that made this version of the hero feel like Batman was his cape. It was far from the iconic hero we know and love today.
Bruce Wayne's Name Comes From Two Real Heroes
Bob Kane has long been named as the sole creator of Batman and while he was the originator, another man had a very large role in the character’s formation. Bill Finger was the man who nixed the colorful bat look, suggested Batman wear a full head cover rather than just a mask and his cape should be jagged to resemble wings. Finger also apparently came up with the name Bruce Wayne. The name is a mashup of Scottish national hero Robert the Bruce and “Mad” Anthony Wayne, a hero of the American Revolution.
Fans Voted To Kill Off Robin The Boy Wonder was initially only supposed to appear in one issue of the comic book because the editor didn’t like the idea of a kid fighting gangsters and “Batman was doing well enough by himself.” The issue with Robin however sold double so the youngster was made a regular part of the series as a result. Decades later, comic book fans were allowed to vote whether Robin would live or die in the four-issue arc,”A Death in the Family.” Fans decided they'd had enough of Robin and in 1988 they voted for the Boy Wonder to be killed off.
There Is a City In Turkey Called Batman While many fans would love to live in a city called Batman, the mayor of Batman, Huseyin Kalkan, was not pleased by the connection. After the release of The Dark Knight he tried to sue Warner Bros. and Christopher Nolan for using the city’s name in his films apparently stating, “There is only one Batman in the world.” Ironically, the city—formerly known as Iluha—was not called “Batman” until 1957, 18 years after the comics debuted.