Written by John Squires
We love fan theories. The crazier the better.
In the late 1980s, visionary director Tim Burton brought two iconic characters to the big screen in the form of Beetlejuice (1988) and Batman (1989). Michael Keaton of course played both characters, and reprised the latter role in 1992’s Batman Returns, and that’s about where the similarities begin and end. Or is it? According to one (probably high) fan, Batman IS Beetlejuice.
Writer David Lee posted an amusingly insane article on the website Cracked over the weekend that details the specifics of the batshit theory, and the basic gist is that Burton’s Batman – who exists in the Burton-verse, rather than the Bat-verse – was not only killed by Scarecrow, but turned into the very personification of all his worst fears: essentially making him, well, Beetlejuice.
“A key part of Beetlejuice mythology is that the way you die affects your existence in the afterlife,” explains Lee. “But Beetlejuice stands out. He has weird clowny makeup, is rotting (despite the fact that none of the other ghosts seem to decompose), has no morals whatsoever, and loves terrorizing innocent people. Batman, on the other hand, battles evils clowns, refuses to take anyone’s life, pretends to be a fun-loving playboy in his off time, and uses fear as a weapon in his fight against crime. Beetlejuice is therefore the evil Batman — he’s everything the Dark Knight fears, both about himself and the world, rolled into one wacky, loud, prank-happy sonofabitch.”
“So imagine Batman battling the Scarecrow, when suddenly the villain manages to dose our hero with his newest concoction: a drug that doesn’t just expose you to your fears, but also forces you to perceive yourself as the scariest thing you can imagine,” he continues. “Bruce Wayne then becomes a mish-mash of everything he fears: an undead clown who parties hard and can’t help but try to destroy families. Then, right as Batman is overcome with the kind of existential terror that can only come from watching yourself transform into the things you hate and fear the most, he dies.”
Lee further bolsters his wacky theory (or at least tries to) by pointing out that Batman and Beetlejuice visually appear to be set within the same universe, though that can of course be chalked up to the simple fact that they were both directed by Tim Burton. In Batman Returns, for example, Max Schreck wears a suit similar to the one worn by Beetlejuice, but that’s just Burton’s style for ya.
Is he onto something here? No, not at all – Beetlejuice actually came out before Batman, which kinda kills the whole thing right off the bat. But the theory is nonetheless totally amusing, and right about now we can’t help but think that Beetlejuice would’ve made for a PERFECT Burton Batman villain.
Hm… maybe he’s the reincarnation of The Joker?
Okay. I’ll stop now. I promise.