Movies & TV

The Real Story Behind Batman's Infamous Nipples

Form meets function?
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There's a lot to be disappointed about when it comes to director Joel Schumacher's pair of '90s Batman movies Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. The Bat Credit Card, the Bat Ice Skates, the air surfing were all pretty bad—but Schumacher's unfortunate era of Batman is most infamously known for the Bat Nipples. The other things you can make a case for—I guess Batman would need a credit card, as he's not going to use cash or carry a checkbook.

But there's no logical reason why Batman's suit would need nipples. Not even Batman & Robin star George Clooney could figure it out. As he said in 2014, "I wasn't thrilled with the nipples on the batsuit. You know that's not something you really think about when you're putting it on ... Batman was just constantly cold I guess."

To this day, the Bat Nipples are known as one of the low points in the history of the franchise. For the 20th anniversary of Batman & Robin, Vice has a somewhat depressing interview with Schumacher, who really seems to regret his years at the helm of Batman. In fact, he begins the interview with an apology.

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"Look, I apologize," Schumacher told Vice. "I want to apologize to every fan that was disappointed, because I think I owe them that."

Then, it didn't take long for the conversation to settle on those damn nipples.

"I just know that I'll always go down over the nipples on Batman starting with Batman Forever," he said. "Such a sophisticated world we live in where two pieces of rubber the size of erasers on old pencils, those little nubs, can be an issue. It's going to be on my tombstone, I know it."

Then he explains the thinking behind adding the nipples to the Batsuit:

Well it was made by Jose Fernandez, who was our brilliant lead sculpture. If you look at Batman and Batman Returns, it was the genius Bob Ringwood that created those suits, so by the time we got to Batman Forever, the rubber and techniques had gotten so sophisticated. If you look at when Michael Keaton appears in the first suit, you'll notice how large it is. It was brilliant but the best they could do at the time. By the time Batman Forever came around, rubber molding had become so much more advanced. So I said, let's make it anatomical and gave photos of those greek status and those incredible anatomical drawings you see in medical books. He did the nipples and when I looked at them, I thought, that's cool.

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Haha, no!

At least he stands by his decision, though. "You know what? I really never thought that would happen. I really didn't," he said. "Maybe I was just naive, but I'm still glad we did it."

But, to his credit, at least those movies were fun. That's more than anyone can say about Batman v Superman.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Matt Miller
Matt Miller is the Associate Culture Editor for Esquire.com
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