It’s official! The Bat is back! Both of them! Following on from rumours earlier this year, director Andy Muschietti (Stephen King’s It) has now confirmed to Vanity Fair that his upcoming The Flash movie – which will see Ezra Miller reprise his Justice League role as the Scarlet Speedster aka Barry Allen – will be featuring both Ben Affleck and Micheal Keaton as Batman.
The Oscar-winning Affleck had played the Caped Crusader on-screen in Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, and Justice League, and would have written and directed his own solo Batman movie. However, the pressures of the role combined with personal troubles – not to mention a horror-show of a production on Justice League – saw the actor hang up his cape and cowl for good and walk away from it all. Since then, he has repeatedly said he won’t return to the role again with the stress it placed him under. However, Affleck is reportedly “now in a very different time in his life” and “in a place where he can actually enjoy being Batman” as he doesn’t have to carry the whole movie. And Muschietti indicates that after receiving the script for The Flash last week, the actor agreed to reprise his role one last time.
He’s a very substantial part of the emotional impact of the movie. The interaction and relationship between Barry and Affleck’s Wayne will bring an emotional level that we haven’t seen before. It’s Barry’s movie, it’s Barry’s story, but their characters are more related than we think. They both lost their mothers to murder, and that’s one of the emotional vessels of the movie. That’s where the Affleck Batman kicks in.
Continuing, Muschietti appeared to indicate that it was also the strength of this script from Christina Hodson (Birds of Prey, Bumblebee) that got Affleck to change his mind.
His Batman has a dichotomy that is very strong, which is his masculinity—because of the way he looks, and the imposing figure that he has, and his jawline —but he’s also very vulnerable. He knows how to deliver from the inside out, that vulnerability. He just needs a story that allows him to bring that contrast, that balance.
This is fantastic news, not only because Affleck made a fantastic Batman (even though the movies he was in wasn’t always up to that same level), but it would have been really awkward for Muschietti and co to write around his disappearance. Especially, since to Miller’s Barry Allen he was ““the original Batman” who brought him into the superhero life.
He’s the baseline. He’s part of that unaltered state before we jump into Barry’s adventure. There’s a familiarity there.
We had heard in previous reports that the plan for The Flash was to properly introduce the DC Comics multiverse on-screen with Miller’s superhero hopping around between different timelines. One of these would be the timeline of the classic Tim Burton Batman movies, which is where Keaton comes in, reprising his role as a new older, grizzled Dark Knight, 30 years after the events of Batman Returns.
The reports at the time indicated that the events of The Flash would see Keaton eventually take up a sort of senior mentor role in the main DCEU timeline replacing Affleck. While that last aspect has not been officially verified, Muschietti did indicate that Keaton will play a “substantial” role in the upcoming movie and confirmed that The Flash will be setting up the multiverse.
This movie is a bit of a hinge in the sense that it presents a story that implies a unified universe where all the cinematic iterations that we’ve seen before are valid. It’s inclusive in the sense that it is saying all that you’ve seen exists, and everything that you will see exists, in the same unified multiverse.
It’s the “everything that you will see” part that is the most pertinent to me here, as besides for Affleck and Keaton, there’s a third Batman still out there as well. Robert Pattinson is set to play a much younger version of the Caped Crusader in Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman, and I wouldn’t be surprised if The Flash briefly checked in on whatever alternate timeline the Patt-man existed on so that he could be called up for future Justice League team-ups.
We’ll get to see and hear more of both The Flash and The Batman tomorrow during the DC FanDome online event. We may even get a trailer for The Batman which is scheduled for release on 1 October 2021. It’s still very early days for The Flash, which is only set to debut on 22 June 2022, so don’t expect too much other than maybe further cast reveals.
Last Updated: August 21, 2020