Vintage 'Batman' Article Reminds Internet That Fans Always Hated Casting Debates

Now that Ben Affleck is officially stepping down as Batman, the question on every DC fan's mind is who will wear the Bat-Suit next. The iconic character has been played by various actors and a debate always seems to emerge with each new casting. Thanks to a recent tweet, it appears the Batman casting backlash is a tale as old as time.

An article shared by @punisher_book from 1989 proves that even Michael Keaton was an unwanted Batman.

“#ThePunisher preview by @alanfrightfest in #Cinefantastique, March 1989 issue,” they shared.

Calling comic book heroes the “unstoppable trend” of 1989 (wow, not much has changed in 30 years, huh?), the article includes a blurb about the casting backlash.

“Batman: Caped Crusader Casting Calamity,” the article read. Siting a Wall Street Journal front-page story, writer Frederick S. Clarke writes that fans were “up in arms” over Michael Keaton’s casting as Batman. While the entire blurb isn’t visible, it does state that casting was "objected to by fans" who even began a protest letter-writing campaign.

One person commented on the tweet with an article from Batman On Film, which discusses the long history of distrust over the casting of the DC character. At the time of Keaton’s casting, he was predominately known for his comedic work. Best known for Mr. Mom, Keaton had just finished playing Betelgeuse in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice and while it was certainly a dynamite performance, it’s understandable why fans would question the actor’s transition.

The article goes on to list other rejected DC casting that turned into a success, for example, Heath Ledger as the Joker, which obviously ended up being an Oscar-winning performance.

People were also pretty disgruntled when Ben Affleck was cast as Batman and while the actor’s films in the DC Extended Universe haven’t been the most well-received, most fans have gone on to praise the actor’s performance.

The site breaks down the stages of Batman casting as follows:

“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!’”

The iconic role of Batman has been played by an array of actors. In addition to Keaton and Affleck, the Bat-Suit has been donned by Adam West, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, and more. While some were praised as better Bruce Waynes and some better Batmen, all of the casting decisions have had their merits.

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The Batman is currently scheduled to premiere in theaters on June 25, 2021. Other upcoming DC movies include Shazam! on April 5th, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, and Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020.