Daniel Waters is an American screenwriter and film director. Waters was hired by director Tim Burton after the script written by Sam Hamm for Batman II was disappointing for him. Burton originally wanted Waters for a potential Beetlejuice sequel, after seeing Heathers. When given the opportunity to write the Batman sequel, Waters left his position as on-set writer for Hudson Hawk, where he was having a frustrating experience. Waters ended up being removed from the production of Batman Returns prior to shooting and was replaced by Wesley Strick, who wrote the shooting script and stayed as the on-set writer throughout filming. Strick normalized virtually all of Waters' dialogue, greatly expanded Penguin's story and motivations, including Shreck's desired power plant.
The studio was always adamant about Penguin being used as the main villain. Burton and Waters were interested in Catwoman. Generally all of Waters's drafts revolved around Penguin running for Mayor. Originally the Harvey Dent character was supporting his campaign rather than Max Shreck. Dent would have been disfigured by Catwoman during the climax of the film, when tries to kill him with an electrical explosion from Penguin's generator, turning him into Two-Face. Waters originally conceived Max as a brother for the Penguin, the one who was treated as "the golden boy" by the Cobblepot family, as opposed to Oswald that was treated like a monster. Alexander Knox was also killed early in the story and "crucified" to the Batsignal, an idea that was later used in Batman Begins. Originally the Penguin's lair was in an abandoned World's Fair, turning on all the old rides to attack Batman rather than the Old Zoo. This influenced the World's Fair finale seen in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. WB also insisted on a version of Robin being included.