1995's Batman Forever was far from the most popular movie in the Dark Knight's big-screen tenure. But would the movie have been more or less popular if the iconic Batmobile featured in the film was designed by the same person that created the creature from Alien?
After Batman Returns, Michael Keaton and Tim Burton bowed out of the franchise, passing the reins to Val Kilmer and Joel Schumacher for the sequel. However, Schumacher took the movie in a different direction than Burton did. Although the film was dark and moody, there were unmistaken elements of camp and silliness that many fans didn't embrace, and another element that could have made it into the film was a new Batmobile designed by H.R. Giger, the same man responsible for designing the main creature from the Alien franchise.
Wow! H.R. Giger was contacted to design a new Batmobile for Batman Forever in 1994 not exactly sure what they were expecting?🤔😄👌 pic.twitter.com/1SXvDyCiPz— Trash Can Dan (@TrashCanDanpt3) May 8, 2019
In a 2015 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Production Designer Barbara Ling recalled her initial collaboration with Giger, saying, "We had early discussions with (Alien designer H.R.) Giger about the Batmobile. He had these insane, fabulous, weird scribbles that were very like Alien. It was exciting that this strange mind briefly touched upon us, but it didn't work out. We hired this fabulous team of builders, this young team who had never done a movie before, Trans-FX. From our drawings, we went in to doing little 3D clay and shaping that. It's amazing how much the design of that morphs. As it becomes more 3D, you go back in and keep redesigning. Drawing a car is one thing, but it doesn't ever really look like that. Once you 3D that, it's like "Oh my God. That fender looks gigantic." TFX said, "We'll build everything from scratch. We won't try to work this onto a Ford chassis." And you couldn't have."
At first glance, the proposed Batmobile design feels more like a vehicle that would have been featured in the 2012 film Prometheus or its sequel, 2017's Alien: Covenant, which makes sense, given Giger's involvement in the Alien series. Images posted by Twitter user @TrashCanDanpt3 also include design notes that Giger wrote, clearly showing a pair of scissors as a stylistic reference for the design (apparently he wasn't interested in modeling it after a bat). His handwritten notes also mention the vehicle would change shape while turning, which -- while impractical when fighting crime -- would probably have made for beautiful cinema.
Ultimately, the design is unrecognizable as a vehicle piloted by Batman, but it does feature external guns -- something that would be used by Ben Affleck's Batmobile in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
It's not clear whether audiences would have embraced Giger's radical departure from previous Batmobile designs. However, if this was the vehicle George Clooney drove in Batman & Robin, it might have at least distracted audiences enough to avoid a complete reboot of the franchise.
Directed by Matt Reeves, The Batman is scheduled for release on June 25, 2021.