While fans of Batman are currently lauding the performance of the newly crowned Dark Knight, Robert Pattison, there is an even bigger actor that was nearly about to wear the cape and cowl. The perennial funnyman, Bill Murray, was once about to take on the mantle of Batman via an idea that was proposed by Ivan Reitman. Reitman is famous for having written and directed both Ghostbusters films. While Murray had claimed that the idea was a “story” some years ago, he recently confirmed more about the would-be superhero film. He stated that “There was just a lot of vanity involved in the production. It wasn’t gonna happen.”
The idea to become Batman was first proposed by Ivan Reitman before the 1989 Tim Burton-directed picture came about. Reitman had been convinced that Bill Murray would make the perfect Bruce Wayne, and fellow SNL alumni, Eddie Murphy, could take on the role of Robin. However, while Murray was massively popular during this time, so was Murphy. Murphy was one of the biggest stand-up comics in the 1980s and a huge movie star. He was also clearly hoping to be able to play Batman. Murray commented on the aspect of switching roles, “I don’t wanna be the Boy Wonder to anybody,” the comedian said. He added, “Maybe much earlier when I was a boy. But it was too late for that by the ’80s. Also, I couldn’t do the outfit. Eddie looks good in purple, and I look good in purple. In red and green, I look like one of Santa’s elves.”
While it certainly didn’t seem like either Bill Murray or Eddie Murphy was willing to play Robin, that would have been a fantastic premise. Especially regarding Murphy taking on the sidekick role. There would have never been another Batman film like that. The sarcastic and witty banter from both Murray and Murphy would have outshone some of the best comedic duos of all time. However, both were movie stars in the 1980s and weren’t willing to play second fiddle to anyone. That’s quite fair.
While we all missed out on a Bill Murray Batman, we did get arguably the best Bruce Wayne to ever take on the role, Michael Keaton. Jack Nicholson as The Joker is high on the list as well. But imagine Murray, Eddie Murphy, and Jack Nicholson in one film together. The possibilities for hilarity are endless. Ok, let’s stop imagining a scenario that never was and move on. This theoretical film needs to be placed out of our minds, no matter how amazing it likely would have been.
Bill Murray has remained an iconoclastic comedian since the 1980s, and he is set to appear in the new Wes Anderson film, Asteroid City. He is also slated to appear in the MCU for the first time in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. While his role has yet to be revealed, there is speculation that he is set to be a villain of some sort. While we all won’t ever get to see the Murray-led Batman film, we do get to see him in a superhero getup finally. Hopefully, what villainous role Murray takes on, is set to keep going after Ant-Man ends. We all need more of that man in our lives, especially in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.