We can officially lay to rest one line of speculation regarding Michael Keaton‘s planned return to the cowl in the role of Batman in ‘The Flash’. The Hollywood Reporter has confirmation from unidentified sources that Keaton will be playing the Bruce Wayne version of Batman, the same role he played in 1989’s ‘Batman’ and its sequel ‘Batman Returns’ in 1992. The same source confirmed that Keaton will wear the costume. Or at least a costume. It’s not clear if he will squeeze back into that hard-to-move-in foam rubber from his previous films (or at least a modern recreation) or if he will be given a new Bat-Suit. According to this source, Thomas Wayne doesn’t appear in the script at all.
The news that Keaton was in talks to return as Batman in ‘The Flash’ caught fans off-guard last week. Now fans just need to figure out just what all this means. It was assumed that ‘The Flash’ would take place in the same continuity of ‘Batman V Superman’, ‘Justice League’ et al. But that reality had an entirely different Batman/Bruce Wayne, played by Ben Affleck.
‘The Flash’ director, Andy Muschietti has admitted that the movie will borrow from the comic book storyline “Flashpoint,” in which the DC Universe was completely altered after The Flash went back in time to prevent his mother’s murder. Among the sweeping changes to the timeline was the fact that it was young Bruce that was killed in Crime Alley on that fateful night, not his parents. Following his death, his mother Martha went insane and became that reality’s version of The Joker, while his father, Thomas adopted the guise of Batman.
So it was easy to speculate that Keaton might be playing Thomas and not Bruce but that theory can now, seemingly, be put to rest.
Another couple of completely-blind speculations is that Keaton is playing either the future Bruce from the ‘Batman Beyond’ reality (there has been talk that Warner Brothers is interested in making a ‘Batman Beyond’ movie) or maybe the grizzled version from Frank Miller’s graphic novel ‘The Dark Knight Returns’.
At the time that it was revealed that Keaton was negotiating with WB, it was also stated (but not confirmed) that the plan was for him to appear in multiple DC movies, in a capacity compared to that of Samuel L. Jackson’s Marvel Cinematic Universe character, Nick Fury. IF he is playing the Bruce from ‘Batman Beyond’ it makes sense that he will carry on in any further ‘Batman Beyond’ movies that WB makes. But once again, that’s just speculation.
Also, keep in mind, Keaton has not yet signed on.
‘The Flash’ will star Ezra Miller in the title role. It is also rumored that Ray Fisher will appear as Cyborg. The film is currently scheduled to open on June 3, 2022.