30 Years After B89, Why Haven’t Fans Learned Not To Prejudge Casting?


Sometime back in early-ish 1988, the 22-year-old Jett found out (via either COMICS SCENE or STARLOG magazines) that Michael Keaton had been cast to play Batman/Bruce Wayne in a live-action major motion picture.

Michael Keaton as Batman in BATMAN (1989)

Mr. Mom as Batman?  WTF?!” is what I distinctly and clearly remember thinking to myself in utter disbelief.

As a lifelong Batman fan, I wanted to see a true, “dark and serious” depiction of Batman on the big screen ever since I saw SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE back in 1978.  It was finally going to happen and they were going to make it a goof; a remake of the old TV show from the 1960s I assumed.

A few months later, I saw the first promo image of Keaton as Batman (see right) and realized that this movie ain’t gonna be a remake of the Adam West series…but I still wasn’t completely sold on MK as The Bat.

Another few months go by and Warner Bros. released the first trailer for BATMAN.  Hell, I wouldn’t even call it a “trailer” as it was actually more of a sizzle reel.  The purpose?  To show people like me who were doubting this film that our assumptions about it and Keaton as Batman were wrong (see below).


Once I saw that trailer (I was one of those who paid for a film and then left after seeing the BATMAN teaser), I was sold.

While I wasn’t one of those fans who wanted to march on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank with pitchforks in hand to demand Michael Keaton be replaced as Batman, I did dismiss the casting and thought it was really, Really, REALLY bad.

And I was wrong.

Heath Ledger as The Joker in THE DARK KNIGHT

That was when I learned a very important lesson: Don’t dismiss (and overreact) to a director’s casting decision until you see the film.

While I and many others got educated, if you will, a lot of folks did not.

And frankly, it’s only gotten worse in the day of the internet.  Here are some recent examples of comic book/superhero movie casting decisions that led to meltdowns and episodes on the interwebs…

Heath Ledger as The Joker in THE DARK KNIGHT (“How can a Gay cowboy play The Joker?!”)

Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (“She’s not hot enough!”)

Ben Affleck as Batman in BATMAN v SUPERMAN (Ben Affleck sucks!”)

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in BvS (“She’s too skinny and her boobs aren’t big enough!”)

Nonsense, yes, but real reactions nontheless.  ANYWAY

In the very near future, a new Batman on film is going to be announced and it’s likely to happen within the next 6 months-ish.  Fans are already throwing out their suggestions on who should get the gig and dismissing certain actors based on prior roles and/or their “look.”

For example, a recent online rumor said that British actor Robert Pattinson could be in the mix for the role of Batman in director Matt Reeves’ upcoming film.  Of course, the rumor (which probably isn’t true and is why I didn’t report it on BOF) was met with disdain and that he “sucks” because he was in the TWILIGHT movies and is too skinny.

Apparently, those people don’t realize he’s made other movies since (take a look at GOOD TIME) and there are these places called “gyms” in which you can increase your muscle size by “lifting weights.”

It doesn’t matter if Pattinson (or any other actor for that matter) has turned out to be a really fine actor, many people simply have a myopic view of who should portray these characters —  in this case — Batman — on the big screen.  Thus, they can’t see anyone in the role other than their “ideal” choice and/or look past an actor’s previous roles or their appearance.

(Of course, a lot of these folks want a martial artist to play Batman because he knows how to fight, and would’ve preferred a WWE diva as Wonder Woman over Gal Gadot.  So what does that tell you?)

Despite all the lessons we were taught about casting over the last 30 years, get ready for another round “superhero movie casting meltdown freakouts” whenever the new Batman on film is announced.

Of course, this is how it will ultimately play out…

STAGE 1: “That’s the worst choice EVER and he aint’ Batman!  I’m boycotting this movie!”

STAGE 2: “OK, he doesn’t look too bad in this first picture as Batman, but he still sucks…but not that bad I guess.”

STAGE 3: “Man that trailer was awesome and Batman looks badass!”

STAGE 4: “I just saw THE BATMAN and it’s EPIC!  Best Batman on film EVER!”

You KNOW I’m right. – Bill “Jett” Ramey

(For a great rundown on the history of the reaction to Keaton being cast as Batman — as well as other such casting instances in comic book movie history — CLICK HERE and check out the “50,000 People Hate Keaton as Batman” episode of the OUTRAGE, OUTRAGE, OUTRAGE! podcast.)