Joel Schumacher’s 1997 cinematic abomination Batman & Robin nearly killed the Batman movie franchise entirely, until Christopher Nolan returned to save it with an emergency reboot, Batman Begins, in 2003. The complaints about the film are too numerous to list here in this article, but all of the problems can probably be summed up with just two words: bat nipples. In an interview with Vice apologizing to Batman fans, moviegoers, and the human race for Batman & Robin — “I was scum. It was like I had murdered a baby.” — a belligerent Schumacher has nonetheless doubled down on his support of bat-nipples, stunning the entertainment industry.
After lulling fans into a false sense of security by claiming to have seen the error of his ways, Schumacher broached the topic by explaining how the bat-nipples came to be:
Is there anything you ever wanted to say to fans that went into Batman & Robin expecting something different?
They obviously had very high expectations after Batman Forever. But perhaps it was the more innocent world in comparison, I don’t know. I just know that I’ll always go down over the nipples on Batman starting with Batman Forever.
Yes, I wanted to ask about the bat nipples. Please explain.
Ha! Such a sophisticated world we live in where two pieces of rubber the size of erasers on old pencils, those little nubs, can be an issue. It’s going to be on my tombstone, I know it.
Was that your decision?
Well, it was made by Jose Fernandez, who was our brilliant lead sculpture. If you look at Batman and Batman Returns, it was the genius, Bob Ringwood that created those suits, so by the time we got to Batman Forever, the rubber and techniques had gotten so sophisticated. If you look at when Michael Keaton appears in the first suit, you’ll notice how large it is. It was brilliant but the best they could do at the time. By the time Batman Forever came around, rubber molding had become so much more advanced. So I said, let’s make it anatomical and gave photos of those Greek status and those incredible anatomical drawings you see in medical books. He did the nipples and when I looked at them, I thought, that’s cool.
I mean did it really bother people that much? Did it bother you?
Literally nothing has bothered us more in our entire lives! This is known, Joel Schumacher.
But he wasn’t finished. Despite earlier protestations, Schumacher proved that he’s learned nothing — nothing at all — from the experience of Batman & Robin:
It was just so different compared to what we were used to seeing on a Batman suit, you just couldn’t unsee it.
You know what? I really never thought that would happen. I really didn’t. Maybe I was just naive, but I’m still glad we did it.
Absolutely shocking. Go and read the full interview here.
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