Batman Forever Designer Explains Choice to Free the Nipple

When the Joel Schumacher-led Batman Forever film was released back in 1995, it was initially designed to be a somewhat lighter depiction of both Batman and Gotham. Despite mixed reviews, the film was a box office success given its budget but offered one pop culture moment that still finds its way into a conversation from time to time – Batman's choice of a suit in Batman Forever and the introduction of the dark knight's choice to #FreeTheNipple.

More recently, the designer behind the official batsuit in Batman Forever had a chance to explain the choice and the inspiration behind it, which obviously had an actual intention that wasn't just for internet jokes.

Val Kilmer as Batman in Batman Forever. Image courtesy of Warner Bros
Val Kilmer as Batman in Batman Forever. Image courtesy of Warner Bros

In a conversation with Mel Magazine, costume designer Jose Fernandez opened up about the suit, explaining, "With Val Kilmer's suit in Batman Forever, the nipples were one of those things that I added. It wasn't fetish to me; it was more informed by Roman armor — like Centurions. And, in the comic books, the characters always looked like they were naked with spray paint on them — it was all about anatomy, and I like to push anatomy. I don't know exactly where my head was at back in the day, but that's what I remember. And so, I added the nipples. I had no idea there was going to end up being all this buzz about it."

The suit would eventually return with some changes in Batman & Robin, showing that Batman has always been ahead of his time. When then asked about the evolution between films, Fernandez shared, "Well, in the first one, they were just a little blob of clay. It was subtle — it was a blip. But for Batman & Robin, Joel Schumacher loved the nipples, so he said, 'Let's showcase them.' Schumacher wanted them sharpened, like, with points. They were also circled, both outer and inner — it was all made into a feature of the batsuit. I didn't want to do it, but he's the boss, so we sharpened them, circled them and it all became kind of ridiculous."

And the rest was superhero history!

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About Aedan Juvet

A self-proclaimed pop culture aficionado with a passion for all forms of storytelling. Likely to be found watching everything horror-related, or revisiting Buffy the Vampire Slayer. For pitches, email me at aedanjuvet@gmail.com.
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