For Robin Williams, it all started in comedy, as he worked in stand-up during the 1970s. Soon enough, he made the jump to television, appearing on ‘Mork & Mindy’. He would ultimately shine in film, adapting to roles of all genres, whether it be a pure comedy or a serious drama.
Williams had one project in particular that he was very attached to. In 1989, he was linked to Tim Burton’s Batman, taking on the role of The Joker.
He was so close to becoming a part of the memorable film, though he was eventually pushed aside to make way for Jack Nicholson.
Williams would be attached to the project in future renditions and he would even accept another role in the film as another villain. Ultimately, it wasn’t meant to be, and fans aren’t happy about it.
Let’s take a look at exactly what went down behind the scenes and how Williams got snubbed. We’ll also take a look at why fans are angry with the decision not to cast the late legend in the role.
Nicholson Gets The Role
It is arguably the greatest Batman film of all time, created by Tim Burton back in 1989. The film was a monster hit at the box office, bringing in $411 million. Things could’ve looked much different, as Williams was not only considered for the role but he was told that the part was his.
It is said that Warner Brothers used this approach as a tactic to further entice Jack Nicholson to take on the role. The goal worked, as Williams was replaced by another iconic actor.
Robin admitted alongside Yahoo Entertainment that he would’ve loved to have taken on the role, “Oh God, I’d love to do that one,” he said. “I think you can really explore how bright and how nasty-funny he is, just like I guess what Kevin [Spacey] did with Lex Luthor [in Superman Returns], made him really funny, but yet still damaged.”
In fact, Williams would also state that he was open to playing any type of role in the Batman films, including The Riddler, “I would work with Chris again in a second, playing anyone in anything,” he told Empire. “I’d play the Riddler in the next Batman, although it’d be hard to top Heath as the villain, and I’m a little hairy for tights.”
Nicholson would feel a similar sentiment to Williams years later, when the role of The Joker went to Heath Ledger.
Clearly, Jack wasn’t pleased, “Let me be the way I’m not in interviews. I’m furious. I’m furious. [He laughs.] They never asked me about a sequel with the Joker. I know how to do that! Nobody ever asked me.”
“The Joker comes from my childhood. That’s how I got involved with it in the first place. It’s a part I always thought I should play.”
We can say without hesitation, Ledger was tremendous in his place, the late actor truly revolutionized the role.
However, despite the success, fans are still wondering what things would’ve been like with Williams at the helm.
Fans Wanted Williams In The Role At Least Once
Reddit and Twitter both have fans discussing what could’ve been. On Reddit specifically, fans can’t believe there wasn’t any type of role for Williams, even something rather than The Joker.
“He had so many chances and no one bet on him. Joker, Penguin, Riddler Hugo Strange, Riddler again… Dude really wanted to be a part of the Bat-Fam…”
“One of my all-time fav actors. I think he would have been great as Joker. Some of his best work was when he surprised you. One Hour Photo is a perfect example.”
Fans also believe he could’ve brought out a different version to the character.
“I couldn’t see him playing a violent Joker. I could see a trickster Joker, but not violent.”
Twitter felt the same way, with most fans believing he could’ve thrived if given the chance.
Robin Williams should've had his chance to play the Joker. He wanted it— Dusty Summer (@DustyHorror) May 14, 2020
They’ll always be so many, “what ifs?” At the very least, those in his place thrived in the role and we really can’t imagine anyone else in their spots.
Though Williams will always be remembered as an interesting option for that character. Without a doubt, he would’ve brought his own unique spin and thrived in the spot.