Over the summer there were huge waves made when it was reported that actor Michael Keaton was going to reprise the Bruce Wayne/Batman role for Andy Muschietti‘s upcoming Flash movie, after previously playing the role in Tim Burton‘s Batman and Batman Returns.
Ben Affleck is also expected to appear in the film thanks to a Multiverse storyline allowing two Batman actors to appear on the big screen at once.
However, it’s starting to sound like Keaton is going to be the one continuing the role within the DCEU and Robert Pattinson playing his version from The Batman in Earth 2. This comes after an excerpt from a New York Times article from last month and a follow-up comment made by the reporter Brooks Barnes on Twitter clarifying he was talking about Michael Keaton, not Affleck being that second Batman.
To make all the story lines work, DC Films will introduce movie audiences to a comics concept known as the multiverse: parallel worlds where different versions of the same character exist simultaneously. Coming up, for instance, Warner Bros. will have two different film sagas involving Batman — played by two different actors — running at the same time.
The answer is the multiverse. Boiled down, it means that some characters (Wonder Woman as portrayed by Ms. Gadot, for instance) will continue their adventures on Earth 1, while new incarnations (Mr. Pattinson as “The Batman”) will populate Earth 2.
UPDATE: Barnes says that he doesn’t know Keaton’s fate beyond The Flash and also doesn’t dismiss the previous reporting that suggests Keaton will have bigger role beyond that film.
The inference is that Keaton could play a mentor version of Bruce Wayne in things like Christina Hodson’s Batgirl movie that might head to HBO Max and something else like a Batman Beyond live-action adaptation. Allowing other characters in the Batman franchise to take over the crime-fighting mantle be it Barbara Gordon, Terry McGinnis, Dick Grayson or others given Keaton’s advanced age.
The Hollywood Reporter essentially reporting this last year when first revealing Keaton was in talks with the studio.
If a deal makes, Keaton wouldn’t just return for Flash but possibly for several other DC-oriented film projects. Sources tell THR that the role being envisioned for the veteran actor is akin to the role played by Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, something of a mentor or guide or even string-puller. Batgirl is one the projects in development that could fall into that category.
I also wouldn’t put it past DC Films to eventually make an authentic version of Frank Miller‘s The Dark Knight Returns having Michael Keaton in the lead role even if it was a standalone project within that particular version of Gotham, which would more than likely land a mature rating (something perfect for HBO Max audiences). This could allow them to do more mature stories without conflicting with Matt Reeves‘ Batman trilogy starring Robert Pattinson, while dark happens to be it’s own thing in the PG-13 realm. I’d even enjoy seeing a limited-series similar to HBO’s Watchmen.
The more interesting part will be if Keaton is expected to show up in other “Earth 1” movies moving forward that aren’t directly connected to Batman franchise characters or spinoffs.
There had been plenty of fan speculation that after walking away from the Batman role that Affleck would be jumping feet first into new projects because his appearance in The Flash, leading to extremely unreliable rumors of future Batman projects with Ben attached in the role being in the works. The impression from the New York Times stuff is that the studio is more or less pivoting from Ben’s version of the DC Comics hero, which isn’t terribly surprising since this has been the narrative since his exit from the solo film.
We’ll likely get more official word from Warner Bros. and DC Films but its looking like Michael Keaton will be sticking around longer than we have original thought back in the summer.
SOURCE: NEW YORK TIMES