The Batman Movie That Used Spare Parts To Make Its Superhero Costumes

The silver suits worn at the end of Batman & Robin were hurriedly created out of spare parts from Batman Forever.

By Nathan Kamal | Updated

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Batman & Robin, the notorious 1997 Joel Schumacher film, built the superhero suits worn its climax from spare parts from old costumes. A behind-the-scenes video from the movie revealed the silver-themed costumes worn by George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell, and Alicia Silverstone in their climactic fight against Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze were cobbled together at the last minute to provide more opportunities for toy merchandising. 

According to workers on the film, the Batman, Robin, and Batgirl suits worn at the end of the movie were basically built from leftover pieces from Batman Forever. Wardrobe worker Linda Booher-Ciarimboli specifically said:

[W]e only had about three weeks to produce those suits at the end of the movie. So, we went back and took some of the ones from the movie before and cast the silver pieces onto those suits and glued them on.

Three weeks is an astonishingly short amount of time to put together brand-new costumes, let alone the kind of detail normally demanded for Batman suits in a mega-budget blockbuster film. However, by the fourth movie about the Dark Knight, it seems that Warner Bros. was more interested in the merchandising opportunities than allowing the film production to take its time in costume design. 

Of course, Batman & Robin was considered a nadir of comic book adaptation movies at the time for more than the sloppiness of the finale suits. Fans were outraged that the costumes worn by George Clooney and Chris O’Donnell prominently featured sculpted nipples and exaggerated codpieces. In recent years, Joel Schumacher and multiple members of the cast have been candid that the studio demanded the movie be made more “toyetic,” altering the script to include more sense that could include merchandisable action figures and the like.

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While we ourselves have made the argument that George Clooney was not the worst Batman to wear the suits, Batman & Robin is still generally not considered a high point of the franchise. Fortunately, the film has been followed by a series of critically acclaimed movies featuring various versions of Bruce Wayne, though generally without molded-armor nipples.

The character will next be featured in the upcoming (and frequently delayed) movie The Flash, starring Ezra Miller as the Justice League’s scarlet speedster. Interestingly, the movie will feature two different Batmans from what are generally considered two different continuities. The trailer revealed that Ben Affleck would be reprising his role as the character, as would Michael Keaton.

Naturally, as soon as there is a reveal of a Batman, there is controversy about Batman suits. In the case of The Flash, the full-length trailer revealed Affleck’s Caped Crusader to be wearing a tactical harness that was viewed to be a bra by some fans, to immediate outrage. However, people were pretty happy to see Michael Keaton back in his classic costume, so hopefully, it all evens out in the end. It is pretty unlikely we will see those silver Batman & Robin suits again, so we can put them (and their rushed development) away from memory.