Michael Keaton may return as Batman in a Flash Movie
In yet another strange, but not unwelcome, move from Warner Bros.'s chaotic DC superhero universe, it's being reported that Michael Keaton—the best Batman—might return as the Dark Knight in the studio's upcoming Flash movie. According to The Hollywood Reporter:
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.
After a number of twists and turns—with overlapping and sometimes independent movie universes containing multiple Batmen and Jokers—adding another Batman, played by the man who famously dawned the cowl in 1989, is deeply confusing and unexpected.
It's a weird move from a studio that lacked any consistency in its tentpole superhero properties throughout the 2010s. Let's recap:
In 2013, one year after Christopher Nolan completed his groundbreaking Dark Knight trilogy, DC launched its new era of interconnected comic book movies to compete with Marvel's MCU. This consisted of Man of Steel (2013), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Suicide Squad (2016), Wonder Woman (2017), and Justice League (2017). During that time, DC introduced both a new Batman (Ben Affleck) and a new Joker (Method Actor Jared Leto). But, after only two movies, Justice League marked Ben Affleck's final movie, and after the disappointing results of DC's first Avenger's-like film, the studio switched gears. From there, the next DC superhero films consisted of Aquaman (2018), Shazam! (2019), Joker (2019), and Birds of Prey (2020). Some of these took place in this greater interconnected universe, others did not. Some of these starred returning characters, others starred new characters, and one starred an old character played by a new actor set decades in the past.
From there, DC has a confusing list of films coming out, including the "Snyder Cut" of Justice League, a different Batman movie starring Robert Pattinson, and sequels for Aquaman, Shazam!, and Wonder Woman. Then, there's also this Flash movie, which marks the return of Ezra Miller as the titular character, and, reportedly, Keaton returning as Batman, but not Affleck as Batman (even though Miller and Affleck both starred in Justice League).
I'm not sure how that will work out, but I also don't entirely care. After the rigid, predictable consistency of the MCU, it's nice to see that DC doesn't give a single fuck! And if it means Keaton as an old, grizzled Bruce Wayne, then I'm not going to complain.
Some movie studios just want to watch the world burn, and maybe that's kind of fun.