“I’m Batman.” When you hear the line, you think about Christian Bale’s Dark Knight in the Christopher Nolan series, but the title of most iconic Batman may arguably still rests with Michael Keaton. So, we’re guessing, “Actually, I’m Batman,” might be a line uttered recently by Keaton in his discussions with Warner Bros. about putting the cowl and cape on again and reprising his role as Batman.
Yes, that’s right. According to The Wrap with the official word —but other sources too (look it appears to be a poorly kept secret that many have already heard the whispers of)—Keaton is in early talks to return to the world of DC superheroes and become Bruce Wayne, aka Batman again. But this time he’ll be introduced through the new “Flash” movie starring Ezra Miller. Directed by Andy Muschietti (“It Chapter Two,” “Mama“), the upcoming untitled “Flash” movie will be based on the time-traveling Flashpoint comic storyline from the DC Comics and will now be written by Christina Hodson, one of the go-to writers of the DCEU who also penned “Birds Of Prey.” Note the Wrap says, “it is far from a sure thing, and can go either way” in terms of Keaton’s negotiations. Fingers crossed because there’s a potential big plan there apparently.
Keaton famously portrayed Batman in Tim Burton’s two features, “Batman” and “Batman Returns,” both of which are fan favorites. We’re also hearing that Keaton’s role won’t just be a one-off appearance and negotiations could be for multiple appearances as an older Bruce Wayne.
In the “Flashpoint” storyline Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) goes back in time to save his murdered mother — her death leads him to be interested in fighting crime and working with the police — and when he does save her, a “Back to the Future“-like effect happens and the rest of the DC timeline is altered by that one action, creating an alternate universe where things go kind of crazy. Wonder Woman and many other members of the Justice League are involved in the storyline, but it’s unclear if DC Films and Warner Bros. will go that far.
Fans have already logically speculated that a Flashpoint movie would help the DCEU reset its timeline given that Ben Affleck has left the role of Batman, but much of the “Justice League” cast remains, and this is sound reasoning (and this doesn’t bode well for fans hoping that “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” will somehow permanently bring both Snyder and Affleck into the fold and regular continuity).
There’s more too. While it’s still unclear what the ultimate end game is, we’re hearing that Keaton could stick around in the Batman role left behind by Affleck and become the aging Batman that helps mentor younger heroes. More to this end, Christina Hodson seems to be being groomed for a bigger role at the DCEU and perhaps a kind of de facto lead writer or producer. She’s written “Birds Of Prey,” this upcoming “Flash” movie, and is working on an adaptation of “Batgirl.” We’re hearing the ‘Flashpoint’ movie could lead to Keaton’s Caped Crusader turning up in the “Batgirl” movie acting as her guide and counselor (Fwiw, THR’s Borys Kit says the same thing).
Additionally, as you might have already expected, this basically ensures that Matt Reeve’s upcoming “The Batman” is being positioned as a stand-alone “Joker”-esque film, existing in its own universe separate from the DCEU. I.e., Robert Pattison won’t be seen alongside Ezra Miller, Gal Gadot, and maybe Henry Cavill, etc. This gives Reeves more free-reign to tell his own story and not have to slot it into the existing, already-convoluted DC film continuity. And by allowing for Keaton to mentor Batgirl, this also opens up the chance for Reeves to finally tell the definitive Robin story that has yet to really be explored on film should the film go on to create a trilogy.
Comic book fans will likely read this and think, “Wow, that sounds like DCEU’s version of ‘Batman Beyond’” and they’re not totally wrong. In the animated universe of ‘Batman,’ ‘Beyond’ was a spin-off that showed an aging Bruce Wayne groom a young Terry McGinnis to become the new Batman in a future Gotham. While comic book fans and ‘Batman Beyond’ fans would have liked to see McGinnis perhaps get introduced, Batgirl is a logical replacement.
Keaton’s return to Batman isn’t without plenty of build-up. It seems as if the last decade or so, he’s been slowly warming up to the idea, as he appeared as an actor coming to terms with his superhero film role in “Birdman.” And he ventured into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and the upcoming “Morbius.” So, we can’t be too shocked that he’d be willing to return to the DCEU.
Note, ‘Flash’ producer Barbara Muschietti recently said on social media that Ray Fisher would reprise his role as Cyborg in this new “Flash” movie, but apparently, Fisher already denied this news on his now ephemeral Instagram story, so who knows, but keep an eye out.
Right now, “The Flash” is scheduled to arrive in theaters in June 2022. So, brace yourself fans, we could be pretty close to the DCEU coming full circle and Keaton becoming the next big face to join the superhero universe.