Early in his career, Tim Burton stated his general distaste for sequels (via Last Movie Outpost):
“Sequels are only worth doing if they give you the opportunity to do something new and interesting. It has to go beyond that, really, because you do the first one for the thrill of the unknown. The sequel erases all of that, so you have to explore to the next level. I’m not ruling anything out if the challenge is exciting.”
Screenwriter Sam Hamm, who co-wrote “Batman,” had developed a script titled simply “Batman 2.” It largely continued from the events of the first film, following the blossoming romance between Bruce Wayne and reporter Vicki Vale, while also tackling two classic Batman supervillains, Penguin and Catwoman. Hamm originally wanted to chart the downfall of Harvey Dent when he became the evil Two-Face, but the studio considered Penguin to be Batman’s greatest foe after Joker.
While Hamm’s script was consistent with the original’s darker tone, it still worked to achieve a happy ending for the Dark Knight. He wrapped up Bruce’s marriage proposal to Vicki and also gave her some company at Wayne Manor in the form of Dick Grayson, poised to become Batman’s young sidekick, Robin.
It hardly sounds like the “next level” Burton spoke of. To appease him, Warner Bros. agreed to hire screenwriter Daniel Waters, whose work on “Heathers” Burton admired. He was tasked with completely rewriting the script to suit a more Burtonesque vision, and made significant changes to Hamm’s original concept (who still received story credit). He kept Penguin and Catwoman as the main baddies, but scrapped Vicki Vale and created an original character, tycoon Max Shreck, to replace Two-Face. He stuck with Grayson, but poor Robin was later cut due to the budget increase.