Batman: Nipples of Discord

“Batman Forever” and “Batman & Robin”, failing to mark the history of cinema, have at least left an imprint in the Batman mythology, with in particular their freewheeling interpretations and daring aesthetic decisions, such as the famous applied nipples on the suits. 25 years later, the creator of these costumes explained this very bad idea…

Batman, an exceptional filmography

With The Batman by Matt Reeves, released in March 2022, the Batman mythology has been enriched with an eleventh film, after Batman in 1967, the diptychs of Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher, the trilogy of Christopher Nolan, Batman v Superman : Dawn of Justice and Justice League by Zack Snyder for the DCEU. Each release gives a new opportunity to return at leisure to the different universes composed by these different filmmakers, the Batmobile, the costumes, the villains, etc.

And if we have the right to go back to old preferences, to contradict ourselves, to change our minds, something does not move: batman forever and batman & robin are always so unappreciated and subjects of mockery. And it’s not about to stop, with eminent director Tim Burton recently put on a diaper.

batman forever ©Warner Bros.

In an interview given to Empirethe director of Batman and batman challenge has indeed expressed himself on the recent Batman films. He was amused by the fact that their very dark tone be celebrated, whereas it was exactly what he had been reproached for on his two films, and which had partly prevented him from directing the planned third film. But above all, he stopped on the design of costumes for Schumacher’s films, batman forever and batman & robin. Pointing – that’s the right word – the absurd costumes with nipples.

Tim Burton gets loose on the Batsuit nipples

After Burton’s films, with their gothic and dark allure, Warner studios then decided to reorient themselves towards a more cartoonish Batman, with an aesthetic close to the productions of the 60s. Tim Burton explains as follows:

They decided to go in another direction. That’s what’s funny (compared to the tone of recent films, editor’s note). But at the time, I was like, “Wait a minute. Okay. Let me understand. You’re complaining about me, I’m too weird, I’m too dark, and now you’re putting nipples on costumes ? Will make you see.” Seriously. So yes, I think that’s also why I didn’t do the third film…

batman forever
Batman (Val Kilmer) – batman forever ©Warner Bros.

As soon as the exit of batman forever, this decision was singled out. And with those nipples back in batman & robin, this funny aesthetic idea has definitely made Joël Schumacher’s diptych look ridiculous. Perhaps the most openly mocked element of the Batman universe, this detail of the Batsuit was the brainchild of designer Jose Fernandez, who discussed his creation in a lengthy interview with Mel Magazine.

Jose Fernandez: ‘It’s become completely ridiculous’

It was not fetishism on my part, the inspiration came rather from Roman armor – that of the centurions for example. And, in the comics, the characters always appeared as if they were naked and painted on the skin – there was something anatomical about it, and I like to emphasize the anatomy. (…)

I don’t know where exactly my head was at the time, but that’s what I remember. And so, I added the nipples. I never imagined that it would end up making such a buzz.

Jose Fernandez therefore makes no secret of his responsibility for the phenomenon, but he nevertheless wishes to point out that the director Joel Schumacher, who “loved nipples“, wished to highlight them in his second film, batman & robin.

In the first, it was just little balls of clay. It was subtle, minor. (…) But for Batman & Robin, Schumacher wanted them “sharp”, really with spikes. They were rimmed, outside and inside – designed as a true feature of the Batsuit. I didn’t want to do it, but he was the boss, so we made them pointy, we circled them and it got completely ridiculous.

Luckily, while Alicia Silverstone’s Batgirl costume was due for the same treatment, the whole team realized firsthand that this addition was in this case”a bit obscene“, and made the wise decision to remove the famous nipples from the Batgirlsuit…

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