Well, here’s an update most people probably never thought they’d see! Michael Keaton is reportedly in talks to return as Batman in ‘The Flash’ movie, which is in development. But wait! There’s more! According to sources (courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter), Keaton is actually eyed to appear in multiple films, in a role compared to Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as a “mentor” or possibly even as a “string-puller” to a younger generation of heroes. THR cited the long-in-development ‘Batgirl’ movie as one potential picture that could feature Keaton’s Dark Knight in this mentor capacity.
This is somewhat similar to a recent RUMOR regarding Henry Cavill‘s ongoing involvement with the DC movies. Reportedly, plans were for him to take on a “Hulk-like” role as a supporting character in upcoming movies as opposed to starring in his own solo pictures.
If this happens, there will officially be two cinematic Batmen running around, as Robert Pattinson is playing Batman/Bruce Wayne in Matt Reeves’ in-production film ‘The Batman’.
Andy Muschietti is directing ‘The Flash’ and has stated previously that this movie will borrow elements from the “Flashpoint” comic book storyline. In a parallel universe created by The Flash’s mucking around with the timestream, Bruce Wayne was killed in the alley as a child, leading his mother, Martha, going insane and becoming The Joker, and his father, Thomas, to becoming the Batman. Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan appeared as Thomas and Martha Wayne, parents to Ben Affleck’s Bruce, in ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice’. Morgan has all but admitted that plans were in place for him to return as the “Flashpoint” Batman in a movie. (Geek Tyrant reports that this plan could still be in the works.)
Keaton could be in talks to play Bruce, but there is also the possibility he will appear as the Thomas Wayne version.
Keaton played Bruce/Batman in 1989’s ‘Batman’ and in its sequel, 1992’s ‘Batman Returns’. Keaton was perhaps the first example of fandom’s immediate negative reaction to a superhero’s casting. Even in the days before the internet, comic readers were immediately horrified by and furious at Keaton’s casting, as he was not the typically handsome leading man-type nor was he a muscular action hero. His work had been largely comedic starting out on sitcoms, then starring in comedy films like ‘Beetlejuice’ and ‘Mr. Mom’.
But not only did Keaton prove naysayers wrong, ‘Batman’ changed the course of his career, as he was sought for more serious projects. He received his first Oscar nomination for ‘Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)’ in 2014, which, coincidentally, was a film that drew inspiration from ‘Batman’.
As for ‘The Flash’, Ezra Miller stars as Barry Allen, a role he previously played in ‘Justice League’. Reportedly, his costar Ray Fisher will also be back as Cyborg. Kiesey Clemons was hired to play Barry’s love interest, Iris West, but her one scene was cut from ‘Justice League’. It may be restored as part of “The Snyder Cut” coming to HBO Max next year, but it is known that Clemons (and Fisher for that matter) are no longer under contract to return to their DCU roles. But that doesn’t mean they WON’T be back.
At one point, it was heavily rumored that Warner Brothers planned to use the “Flashpoint” comic book story as the basis for a film which would reset its movie universe, but it is unknown what the approach will be at this point, as there have been a few big hits– ‘Wonder Woman’, ‘Aquaman’, ‘Joker’. So it’s possible that things are going well enough to leave alone.
WB recently moved ‘The Flash’ from its July 4, 2022 release date, to June 3, 2022.
What do you think of Michael Keaton returning as an older Batman? What role would you like to see him play in the DC film universe?