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Take a Look at Michael Keaton’s ‘Batman 3′ Batsuit Prototype


This year, Michael Keaton got quite a few positive reviews for his performance in Birdman, but comic fans know him far better as a different superhero: Batman. Starring in both Batman and Batman Returns, Keaton was originally supposed to appear in a third film — had the studio not decided to replace Tim Burton with Joel Schumacher for Batman Forever.

However, if you’d like a glimpse at what could have been, io9 has uncovered photos of what Keaton’s Batsuit for Batman 3 would have looked like had the film been made. Designed by José Fernandez, the suit Keaton would have worn is still in the prototype phase in these photos, evidenced by the grey coloring. However, the iconic bat logo is still present on each costume, with some looking more like armor than others. (However, all of them have a fair amount of emphasis on the ab muscles.)

Keaton’s role in Birdman allowed Fox Searchlight to make their own reference to his Batman career in November — the studio actually released a viral parody trailer for Birdman Returns that was incredibly similar to that of Batman Returns.


  • Christopher Baggett

    I know it’s just an unpainted prototype that would have been solid black upon completion, but the grey with black accents looks so damn good.

  • Myers 1031

    Are we sure about this? This looks exactly like the suit that was used at the end of Forever.

  • Joe Garcia

    Holy batcrotch Batman!

  • TheRentschmeister

    Bat junk thrusters….Engage!!!

  • Angie

    Micheal Keaton was the best Batman of all time,great performance, he and Burt Ward are neck and neck.

  • unclemike

    No bat nipples.

  • Dr. Frankenstein

    Burt Ward? You mean Adam West. Burt Ward was robin.

  • george

    If Keaton played Batman The Dark Knight Returns (part 1 and 2), loosely based off of the anime released in 2013, I would die a happy man. Dark, brutal, serious, real and tons of fun. Keaton would be amazing and Batman in that movie is in his 60’s literally.

  • Angie

    lol yes I meant Adam west

  • khordkutta

    that WOULD be hella dope

  • Jonesey

    Assuming they color in the crotch and the belt, that’s pretty awesome! I actually think a blue cape and cowl would look kinda cool two, and hope that at some point, someone uses that color scheme in a movie.

  • SkulloManiac

    I would really love to see that on screen.

  • Christopher Thomas

    The suit at the end of Batman Forever had a giant bat logo across it and other weird stuff. It also had that weird cowl with the ear vents. This is closer to the suit used in the earlier parts of the film. I like this better, especially if they did the grey with black cowl/cape/gloves/boots.

  • duke deepfry

    Still looks 10 times better than “the dark knight/dark knight rises” costume.

  • Kal-El-1983

    The cartoon was based of Frank Millers comic book.

  • Evelz6

    Very nice. The cowl and the suit are separate from each other…. just saying.

  • Illya King

    No kidding.

  • Just Some Guy

    You never know.. maybe they were going for grey this time. Obviously they may have gone all black, as the first 2 films were black. but maybe Tim decided to go grey. They are going grey in the new film, so its not impossible I guess. Still, you are probably right. But it does look cool.

  • CannedVenison .

    Too bad they didn’t fact check the photo….or even look at it.

    This was a prototype form the that was used for the first Batman with Michael Keaton. Know what the hint is? If you watched the first film when Batman captured the two thieves on the top of the building take note of the surroundings. Now look at the middle photo the features a picture on the board on the wall. That’s a set concept of the scene with the metal staircase from when Batman caught the first two muggers in the first movie featuring Michael Keaton.

    I love how young journalists just Google stuff and assume they found a golden nugget because if they can see it it must be true.


    Actually I believe that was that Don Knotts.

  • watda89

    It’s not too late. He could play an old Batman who comes out of retirement to stop a new villain, or a re-emergent old villain, or both.

  • btc909

    UMMM it’s missing the ‘Bat Nipples’.

  • Urielxme

    Bert Ward played Robin, dude.

  • JUstin

    These are early small maquettes for Batman 3, has nothing to do with Keaton. Look at the size of the stuff on the table it sits on.

  • Statham

    Do you know that for certain, or – given Burton would have a lot of the same creative team on a prospective Batman 3 – is it just the creative team referencing something from the first movie in terms of a concept? Because this sure as hell doesn’t look like anything referenced in the making of materials on the recent ’89 or Returns Blu-Rays, or the old Making of Batman book.

  • Statham

    Except the head sculpt that they would presumably place a mask over blatantly looks like Keaton.

  • ChewbaccatheBookie

    Seems to be giving it up in the pelvic area. Flee Michael!

  • Steve From Accounting

    I don’t understand why they feel like they need to redesign the bat suit for EVERY movie. Iron man is the only character that makes sense for because he actually is constantly building new ones. Spider man has only ever had one out fit, unless you briefly include the black Venom suit or the suit Iron man made for him during the Civil War arc, but both were temporary & he always went back to the original afterwards. Captain America has been wearing the same thing since 1942. Superman had the same suit for over 50 years till they started getting mod happy with his outfit as well. There is no reason for all these different bat suits.

  • Queefer Sutherland


  • PK68

    Is it possible to be figuratively 60?

  • beetroot sprite

    not sure I agree – there are black boots and gloves that accent the grey.

  • loder74


  • Torstein delange

    They came later,with cloney I think

  • JasonMBryant

    The left hand is only partially painted. The belt is all the same grey as the rest of the suit. I get the feeling that they started painting it and just never finished.

  • JasonMBryant

    Superman’s costume changed regularly in the first several years. The shield, the boots, the colors of the emblem on the back all changed a lot in the first decade.

    Some artists have drawn Spider-Man with fairly small eyes, some with huge eyes. Some have drawn him with webs under his armpits, some without.

    Some artists have drawn Captain America’s mail shirt as having big pates, others have drawn it being almost completely smooth, even when it was supposedly the same costume.

    Every artist makes little tweaks to the characters, even the major characters who don’t change costume. That’s all the artists on the movies are doing.

  • Jerry Shepardini

    the Sonar suit had no nipples. It looks a lot like the Sonar suit. Sans Logo.

  • KevinC

    This is a figure on someones desk, not a life size model, right? Looks more like a toy prototype. Also the one on the right looks different than the other two, look at the abdomen. That said, it looks great…

  • Kaitie Kudara

    This actually looks a lot like the current comics Batman design, minus the yellow bat circle.

  • Dana Druff

    They did make the film. And the producers did not decide to replace Tim Burton Tim Burton is one of the producers of Batman Forever And Keaton didnt even want to do Batman Returns at first but Tim Burton pursuaded him with a great script. He said he usually doesnt like to do a character more than once but he made an exception for Burton. And BTW he’s going to make another exception Beatlejuice 2 is a go from what I hear even Wynonna Ryder is returning.

  • DocBarJovi

    Where is this prototype now ? I hope it wasn’t destroyed, it’s a great looking suit even unpainted.

  • Christopher Barnett

    The grey and black combo looks pretty awesome!

  • JO. O

    At least the design had no bat nipples

  • George Peterson

    Jock Strap Man… First of all, that is not a PROTOTYPE. It’s a small scale sculpt. Take a look at the thumb tacks holding the cape on.

  • Queef Police

    Its VERY obvious, simply by using your eyeballs, that these are concept sculpts for Joel Schumacher’s batman forever, the “sonar” suit and the “panther” suit. Look it up. Burton has nothing to do with this dumb article. As for Keaton’s head being present, maybe this was the brief time when Keaton was still signed on. Or maybe they hadn’t cast Kilmer yet and were using old Keaton forms to work with. In the first photo there is an HR Giger book in the background, Schumacher had previously stated he wanted Giger influence on the batmobile design so it makes sense they’d be referencing it for the costume designs and its further proof this is Schulmacher NOT Tim Burton.

  • Queef Police

    your facts are skewed. Keaton returned largely because he received a massive pay increase. Tim Burton was given executive producer credit on Forever simply as a parting gift, a pleasantry from WB for his initial work before they fired him.

  • Queef Police


  • Hypestyles

    I still want to see Robin properly incorporated into the movies.

  • Myers 1031

    Good point. I forgot about the giant bat logo, I looked at the abs and recognized them as part of the end suit.

  • sherwood

    It’s a shame Keaton left the role, but you can’t look back now.

  • sherwood

    Keaton was great, but Bale was truly the best Batman in my opinion.

  • plammie

    CannedVision – Sorry, that’s not true at all. These are not from Batman ’89 and indeed are definitely from an early version of Batman 3 when Tim Burton and Keaton were still attached. In fact, Batman ’89 even used a different logo on the suits (it had an extra wing point) that was changed for subsequent films after Warner Bros. went with a traditional logo for the film’s marketing. Anyway, Tim Burton eventually left Batman 3 and was replaced by Joel Schumacher; Keaton followed soon thereafter and was replaced by Val Kilmer. Schumacher brought in an almost entirely new production team, with Barbara Ling replacing Bo Welch as production designer, and most of the designs up to that point were reworked to fit Schumacher’s vision. In the Keaton photos above, the left and center pictures are early versions of what would eventually become the “Batman Forever” Sonar suit (the suit used in the third act finale), and the suit on the right is an early version of what would become the Panther suit (the suit Kilmer wore for most of the film). These photos are not new and have been around awhile, mostly circulating in the replica Batsuit forums. The prototype suits for Batman ’89 and Batman Returns (1992) are completely different from these, are fairly well documented and there are a number of shots of them out there.

  • plammie

    It’s definitely Keaton. These maquettes are early designs from Batman 3 before Keaton and Tim Burton departed. Joel Schumacher came in with a new design team headed by Barabara Ling and most of the designs were overhauled.

  • plammie

    Yup, this is true. Tim Burton’s producer credit was honorary; he actually had nothing to do with the production and has stated this multiple times.

  • Christopher NOLAN

    You know what. Professor X has been looking the same forever. Despite his chair. Sometimes it rolls and sometimes he hoovers.

  • Pete McDonald

    I just watched Batman Returns last night and the original Batman last week on netflix after not seeing them in years….hate to say it but boy those movies do not hold up…they were each so corny and awful in their own ways…especially Batman Returns…what an awful script and over the top directing…I must have been high in the 80’s to have thought they were good….just bad films…T Burton is so overrated.

  • Tony Clifton

    Boy. Those suits just got progressively worse and worse. I blame Burton for the whole “Rubber Batman” thing. I wish they could get away from that, but they still are playing into it. Yuk.

  • Russkafin

    I would love to know more about the early plans for this movie before the Burton/Schumacher switch. Was there a treatment or early draft of the script?? Come on, CBR! If it’s out there I know you can track it down!!

  • Broski

    That’s a big NutSACK!!

  • SteveDitkosQuestion

    Or be the old Bruce Wayne in a “BATMAN BEYOND” movie. Would that be cool or what!

  • SteveDitkosQuestion

    Hoovers SUCK because they are vacuum cleaners. Professor X’s wheelchair HOVERS in the air.
    By the way Nolan, I didn’t like your Bat Trilogy. Bale just didn’t do the Bat justice. And that whole gravelly voice thing got old after the first movie.

  • Richard Ike

    The last one on the right, with the yellow Bat logo, is the best. I think Michael Keaton has still got it. After all, he was the best Batman.

  • This Guy


  • Joseph Runberg

    “Every played roulette? Always bet on black.”

  • Jeff

    Sorry but grey just looks terrible and is quite dumb. He wants to blend into the night and shadows. Black works much better. The fact that they are going grey in the new film shows they don’t know what they are doing and are making terrible decisions.

  • John Whatmeworry

    In the early 20th century militaries were conducting research into which colours provided the most camouflage at night. It turned out that grey worked better then black (that’s why navy ships are grey). But the most effective colour for night time camouflage turned out to be: PINK. Of course no military seriously considered sending their soldiers into combat in pink ships and vehicles, wearing pink uniforms.
    That’s why so much of the uniform back then was grey, and not black.

  • bobolinho

    They would need to find a pretty small actor to play Superman… Keaton is kinda short and thin. He wouldn’t fit Miller’s vision for Batman, sry.

  • Richard Braby

    I think it looks better than the Nic Cage Superman suit.

  • Richard Braby

    Adam West had/has the best vouce, but Keaton is my fav.

  • Richard Braby

    I love that idea.

  • Charles S.

    Black and gray would have been so awesome to see on screen!

  • Anthony Sturm

    Batman only works in black… And sometimes very very dark grey.

  • BreyfogleBatman#1

    Wow they made a Big Mistake, not sticking with Tim Burton and Keaton who I thought did a Fantastic job in the fist two films. This prototype suit is Dynamite, what a waste, that would have been a great film, wish Tim Burton could have done a story line with the Clay Faces based around Batman Detective comics stoyline where Norman Breyfogel was the artist and Batman teamed up with LOOKER. Just a great stoyline and the artwork was creepy Breyfogel’s Batman was very creepy and bad ass, has to be my favorite Batman comic stoyline of all time. to bad but then Hollywood always screws everything up thinking they can make more money with another director and look what happened, all that followed were horrible Michael Keaton is Batman.

  • Pachin_V

    Keaton is the worst batman, good actor, but terrible batman. Undersized, he doesn’t intimidate anybody. Unpopular opinion I know but Batman should be physycally imposing, Keaton is softer than charmin.

  • 13jokers

    M.keaton is the best there is was or ever will be.always will be under rated.

  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    Considering that Batman has been grey and blue throughout the the decades your comment means shit.

  • oknazevad

    As noted, grey and navy blue are actually far better than solid black for nighttime camouflage. A solid black close fitting outfit, like the stereotypical cat burglar outfit, actually causes the person to appear as a silhouette, which the human eye is actually attracted to; it’s a survival instinct to be able to recognize other people in low light conditions. True night shadows are not solid black, just darker versions of the daytime colors. Combine dark, but not black, colors placed in a non-human-form pattern (that is not a solid one piece suit) with something to disrupt the outline of a person, such as a large cape or cloak, and then one would really be blending into the shadows. It’d be better than the cat burglar outfit, and would actually make someone so attired able to get the jump on others. Just like batman has been doing for decades in the comics. Funny how, without actually knowing this research Bob Kane and Bill Finger got it right decades ago.

  • Gromber Fox

    batman 3 suit is batman forever suit.

  • Ian

    Would be awesome to see Keaton reprise the role one more time with Burton directing and using this suit or something similar and going with whatever Burton’s original idea for a third one could have been.

  • shane willett

    Pink would be awesome though…

  • Zen Kura

    They should use Keaton in “The Dark Knight Returns” (older Batman)

  • Jonathan Hurd

    Guess jacking off does work

  • mudywaters

    Don’t like the grey..

  • NYJ

    Yeah! I mean so what if the grey has worked just fine for 75 years (give or take), and so what if it’s the version fans want to see – Jeff says it’s dumb, so it must be!! Gosh, Jeff, I don’t know why WB doesn’t just hire you

  • NYJ

    Animated, not anime

  • Thomas Carpenter

    Are we looking at the same photos?


    Make a remake of a remake awesome idea. … wow

  • RW Young

    I am 45. I remember the scorn Keaton, a great great comedic actor got when cast as Batman. He knocked the role out of the park and is known to a younger generation as Batman now.

  • JustSomeGuy

    These designs look very similar to the early Superman suits that were done for Butron’s Superman film that never happened.

  • Ken

    Hey dumbass tell that to Adam West and Arkham Batman.

  • ThatGuyInRF

    Looks like Lex Luther

  • Steven

    The SAS in WW2 used vehicles in the desert painted pink. Often referred to as ‘Pinkies’, the colour schemes are still used today.

  • E3

    Very interesting, thanks for the info!

  • John Whatmeworry

    Good call, didn’t know they used it in WWII.

  • CosandFX

    these are clay sculpts!!!!! not grey suits.

    The first two are prototype sculpts of the Batman Forever Sonar suit and the last is a prototype of the Batman Forever panther suit. They used the keaton maquettes left over from Returns but at this point Kilmer had already been cast.

    these photos have been around for years thanks to ironhead studios sharing them and many others of the suit sculpts


  • 13jokers

    At least keaton batman didnt sound like he was choking on a little bit of heath ledgers faggot ass

  • rattus_norwegicus

    Looks very much like the same costume Kilmer wore at the beginning of Batman Forever… Which isn’t particularly odd since it was the sequel to Returns.

  • William

    Forgot it about a Bat suit….. What if Tim Burton continues work on Batman 3 and what will titles is? Batman Forever? And what will Tim choice for next villains? And who will take role for villains for this Batman 3 ?

  • somejackball

    looks more like Superman

  • Tinwoods

    Yes, tell that to a cartoon! (talk about “dumbass”)

  • Tinwoods

    You mean George Clooney’s clone?

  • Tinwoods

    Ah, a true expert on the subject. Thanks for weighing in.

  • Tinwoods

    Hella? Doe? The 90s and the 00s called, they wanted their words back.

  • Tinwoods

    Keaton is 5′ 10″ — the average American’s height. You must be very tall if you think that is “kinda short.”

  • Tinwoods

    I miss the down votes.

  • Tinwoods

    Another idiot mocking an author when that idiot really has no idea what he’s talking about. Commenters are so predictable. And arrogantly ignorant as I call it.

  • khordkutta

    Dont forget the 80s… Zing you got me…I guess. Pot meet Kettle.

  • Kenner

    Hi guys, does anyone know of a guy name “Jeff” That had something to do with creating the mask head for Batman 3? I’m in possession of a poured Batman mask and the person I bought it from said he got it from a guy named Jeff, from the Toronto area, that was making the mask (a mask) for the Batman 3 movie; as a prototype. Any help would be appreciated. Thank in advance.

  • libra113

    At very lest it doesn’t have nipples. :)

  • libra113

    Dark grey would work just as well as black.

  • Stacey

    You’ve obviously never opened a batman comic, have you?