It is a question that has been asked a number of times: Is Batman Forever (1995) a sequel to Batman Returns (1992)? The movies were released three years apart, but do they follow on from each other?
It is a good question – as both films have a very different look and feel from one another. Batman Returns is dark, brooding, and at times gruesome, while Batman Forever is lighter, with more of a focus on fun, adventure and action.
The music is different, Gotham City is very different and even the lead actors are different, with Val Kilmer taking on the role of Batman from Michael Keaton. So, are the movies connected?
The Alfred and Commissioner Gordon connection
The strongest link Batman Forever has to the two previous Batman movies – Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992) – lies in two actors: Michael Gough and Pat Hingle.
Gough played the role of Bruce Wayne’s trusty butler, Alfred Pennyworth in Batman, continued the role in Batman Returns and followed this up with a turn in Batman Forever. Hingle took on the part of Commissioner Gordon in Batman, and like Gough he reprises his role for Batman Returns and Batman Forever.
Both actors continued in their roles for the fourth entry in the Batman Anthology, Batman & Robin. Gough and Hingle were the only actors to play the same parts across all four movies.
The Catwoman connection
While references across the movies are few and far between, there are a couple of links between Batman Forever and Batman Returns. One of these is a nod to Catwoman, who was one of the main characters of Batman Returns.
In an exchange between Batman and Dr. Chase Meridian, Meridian mentions Catwoman by referencing the romance that existed between the two costumed characters.
Dr. Chase Meridian: “You like strong women. I’ve done my homework. Or do I need skin-tight vinyl and a whip?”
Batman: “I haven’t had that much luck with women.”
Dr. Chase Meridian: “Maybe you just haven’t met the right woman.”
This is a throw-away exchange, but makes it clear to audiences the events of Batman Forever take place after Batman Returns.
The Joker connection
In addition to the line about Catwoman, Batman Forever also includes a mention for the Joker. During a flashback sequence the film re-enacts the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne, as previously seen in Batman ’89.
The scene is not an exact recreation, and features David U Hodges in the role of Napier (credited as ‘Shooter’), instead of Hugo Blick (young Napier in Batman ’89), but it does share similarities. This scene is a reminder to the audience of what has happened previously in the movie series.
Batman Forever is the third entry in the Batman Anthology and was written as a sequel to Batman Returns (1992). The movie retains two actors from the previous film – Michael Gough and Pat Hingle – and makes references to Catwoman (Batman Returns) and Jack Napier (Batman ’89).
Batman Forever differs in tone and feel to its predecessor, but this is due to new writers and a new director being involved with the movie. Tim Burton directed Batman and Batman Returns, while Joel Schumacher directed Batman Forever (and Batman & Robin).
Schumacher ensured there were links between the movies, even going so far as lighting the film in such a way that when Val Kilmer first appeared on screen he looked like Michael Keaton in the Batsuit, but then took the film in a new direction. However, Batman Forever is, was, and always will be a sequel to Batman Returns.
Thank you for stopping by I’ll Get Drive-Thru. Should you want to read more about the films within the Batman Anthology, please click on the links for one of the recommended posts below.