We learned earlier this summer that Michael Keaton would be reprising his role as Batman in DC’s highly anticipated upcoming The Flash movie, but now we have confirmation that it’ll be more than a cameo.
Warner Bros. has been developing a Flash movie for years now, and has gone through four different directors, but it finally appears as though this thing is actually, truly going to happen. Fresh off the success of New Line Cinema’s It movies, director Andy Muschietti is onboard to take the helm with a screenplay by Christina Hodson (Birds of Prey) and a release date set for June 2022. And that screenplay adapts the Flashpoint comics storyline to find Ezra Miller’s Flash entering the multiverse, in which he comes across multiple Batmen from different universes.
One of those is Michael Keaton’s Batman, who made his triumphant debut in the blockbuster 1989 film Batman. As directed by Tim Burton, that film put an art deco twist on the DC Comics world of Batman while also introducing audiences to a much darker Caped Crusader than Adam West’s previous iteration. Keaton reprised the role in the Burton-directed sequel Batman Returns, which was released in 1992 and is arguably a better, more “fully Tim Burton” movie than the first. Burton wasn’t asked back for a third movie due to WB’s discomfort with how dark Batman Returns got, and while Keaton was originally supposed to play Batman again for director Joel Schumacher in an adaptation of Batman: Year One, Warner Bros. rejected the idea of a prequel and Keaton bowed out.
This will mark Keaton’s first time playing Batman since that 1992 film, and the big question on my mind is if Muschietti will recreate the world of Tim Burton’s Batman movies as well if The Flash is visiting the universe in which Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne is Batman. Speaking with Vanity Fair, Muschietti said Keaton’s role is a “substantial” part and went on to explain how his Flash movie brings together all the disparate DC Comics adaptations:
“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,” Muschietti said. “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.”
In addition to the size of Keaton’s role, Vanity Fair broke the news that Ben Affleck will be reprising his role as Batman from Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League movies. Affleck was originally supposed to lead and direct his own Batman spinoff, but grew fatigued with the role as both films were beset by second-guessing from the studio that made their productions and releases difficult.
We’ll no doubt learn more about this new The Flash movie during the film’s DC Fandome panel this Saturday, August 22nd.