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The Real Reason Nipples Were Added To Batman's Costume

Back in 1995, Joel Schumacher released "Batman Forever" and did something that no other movie director has ever done in Hollywood history — he put nipples on the batsuit. Schumacher did it again in his 1997 follow-up "Batman & Robin" and even chose to make them bigger and more noticeable. "Let's showcase them," said the legendary director in a conversation with lead sculptor Jose Fernandez, who spoke to Mel Magazine recently about the true inspiration behind the nipples. 

"Schumacher wanted them sharpened, like, with points," Fernandez explained. "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." Unfortunately, the ill-considered choice haunted Schumacher for years. In fact, Schumacher was still discussing the much-ridiculed costumes in interviews and behind-the-scenes specials decades after the fact.

"There's no way I can explain it to you other than I had no idea that putting nipples on the bat costume were going to [make] international headlines," Schumacher admitted in one special. "It never occurred to me not to put nipples on the men's suits because I didn't know the male nipple was a controversial body part." Interestingly, Fernandez reported a slightly different turn of events, explaining that the idea stemmed from conversations and brainstorming sessions between the two. According to Fernandez, the two had something very specific in mind when designing that part of the costume.

The batsuits were meant to resemble Roman armor

According to Jose Fernandez, putting nipples on Batman's iconic suit was Joel Schumacher's way of giving the Caped Crusader a more ancient, Centurion-like look that was intended to resemble what readers actually saw in the comics. "It wasn't fetish to me," Fernandez told Mel. "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."

Looking back, Fernandez has tried his best to not let the mixed reception over the batsuits get to him. But that doesn't mean he hasn't at least tried to explain why they added behind them. "I had no idea there was going to end up being all this buzz about it," he said. "Whenever I had a chance, I'd explain where the concept came from — from Roman armor — but after a while, it got its own life and I just let it be. I couldn't think of it much more after that." 

Recently, "Batman" and "Batman Returns" director Tim Burton offered his opinion on the Bat-nipples controversy, saying: "You complain about me, I'm too weird, I'm too dark, and then you put nipples on the costume? Go f**k yourself.'" The DC movie franchise was given new life in 2022 with the release of Matt Reeves' "The Batman," which — in case you're wondering — features a nipple-less batsuit. The movie is now available for streaming on HBO Max.