The Bat is back! That was the utterly shocking but even more utterly awesome news that broke yesterday morning when reports emerged that the OG movie Batman actor Michael Keaton was in talks to reprise his iconic role as the Caped Crusader in Ezra Miller’s upcoming Flash movie. But exactly how will this work?
Since we’ve known for ages that The Flash will tackle the timeline-rebooting Flashpoint storyline, this led me down a so-crazy-it-just-may-be-true rabbit hole of fanboy theorizing yesterday. Luckily, I can remove the tinfoil hat just a bit today as The Wrap, one of the publications who broke the news of Keaton’s potential deal, has updated their original article with more details from their sources.
According to the report, Warner Bros has intentionally been seeding the idea of alternate universes in their DC Comics TV shows and The Flash movie will continue that trend to “introduce general audiences to the idea of the multiverse, one of the of core concepts underpinning DC Comics”. To do this, it will stick closely to the original Flashpoint comic book crossover by having Miller’s Barry Allen travel back in time to attempt to stop his mother’s murder, but with his interactions then triggering huge changes to the current timeline. This will eventually lead to him inadvertently creating a new universe… which is protected by Keaton’s Batman.
And here’s where this gets even more interesting as The Flash film will reportedly ignore the events of Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever and Batman & Robin (which starred Val Kilmer and George Clooney respectively) and instead we will see what Keaton’s Batman has been up to in the 30 years since we last saw him tussling with Catwoman and the Penguin in 1992’s Batman Returns.
And speaking of which, Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman – which sees Robert Pattinson’s younger Dark Knight also facing Catwoman and the Penguin – won’t really be affected by this, as the multiverse introduced in The Flash will allow “several different versions of the same characters to simultaneously exist and, occasionally, interact.” This means that The Batman can exist outside of the already established DCEU continuity, but “still [be] viewed as the future of the franchise” for Warner Bros as they can pull him in at any time. Just like I predicted!
There’s still no word though on how all of this will address the departure of Ben Affleck who gave up on playing Batman in the DCEU after the misfire of Justice League. There’s also nothing yet on the other intriguing possibility that the introduction of Keaton as an older Bruce Wayne could lead to a Batman Beyond feature film adaptation, or how Keaton’s Batman will be positioned as the central mentor figure in this new big screen multiverse as some reports have claimed. Either way, I’m still giddy with excitement over this.
Last Updated: June 24, 2020