Batman Returns? Michael Keaton’s Role in Flash and Beyond

Batman Returns? Michael Keaton’s Role in Flash and Beyond

The caped crusader is back thanks to alleged talks between Michael Keaton and Warner Bros. regarding the reprisal of the role in the upcoming Flash film.

Keaton was initially ridiculed when cast as the Dark Knight, but following 1989’s release of Tim Burton’s Batman, he was anything but that. Michael Keaton (who can play both good and bad) as Bruce Wayne in Batman was a beloved success and still considered a sensation to fans of the character today.

As we know, Michael Keaton was so good in the movie, he starred in the sequel Batman Returns alongside Danny DeVito and Michelle Pfeiffer. Regardless of its popularity, its been nearly 30 years since Michael Keaton dawned the Bat’s cape and cowl, so why now?

Back in a Flash

Source: Consequence of Sound

Here’s what we know about The Flash so far:

Seemingly, the only confirmed news that we have is that Ezra Miller will reprise his role as Barry Allen from Justice League. The film’s release has been pushed back a number of times. The project has also seen many directors’ names attached to it. Today, we have Andy Muschietti set to direct the film, so at least, we have some reason to stay excited about this movie.

In addition to the turnover of directors, the film has also changed its title twice. It was originally titled The Flash, altered to Flashpoint, and back again to The Flash. The second title is what really had comic book fans stirring, as Flashpoint is a popular DC Comics story line where Barry’s ability and poor decision to time travel results in chaos for heroes and recurring characters in the DC universe alike.

While it is doubtful that we’ll see this exact timeline come to fruition onscreen, Muschietti confirmed in and interview on ‘The Hashtag Show‘ the film will be “a different version of Flashpoint than you’re expecting.”

Whatever that means, with Muschetti at the helm, count us in.

Endless Possibilities

Robert Wuhl in Crisis on Infinite Earths
Robert Wuhl as ‘Alexander Knox’ on Crisis on Infinite Earths
Source: DC Comics/Warner Bros. TV/Berlanti Productions

This leaves us with a number of possibilities on our hands regarding how Michael Keaton’s Batman will play a role in this upcoming film. At the very least (and certainly most disappointing), we will see Keaton dawn the classic immovable cowl one last time in a brief cameo where Barry finds himself in the nostalgic Burton-esque Gotham, to share a brief moment with Keaton’s Batman.

Incidentally, Robert Wuhl (pictured), who played Gotham Globe reporter Alexander Knox in the 1989 classic appeared in a cameo during the CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earth’s television event. God willing, this won’t be the extent of Keaton’s role in the upcoming film. Instead, we could see Michael Keaton take on a similar role to Samuel L. Jackson‘s as Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In my opinion, this could play out in one of two ways.

  • The first would be allowing Michael Keaton to become a mentor to Ezra Miller’s Flash. As Barry discovers the multiverse, he may need assistance in both understanding and navigating the multiverse. He may also need help acknowledging the responsibility he carries with his unique powers. After all, it will be vital for Barry to understand how consequential his actions among parallel universes will be and how his actions could affect them all as a whole.
  • Secondly, its no secret that the 2021 HBO Max premiere of Zack Snyder’s Justice League will most likely be Ben Affleck‘s last appearance as Batman. Additionally, Robert Pattinson‘s anticipated version of the hero is clearly separate from the DCEU, leaving a massive hole in our heroic ensemble moving forward.

As a result of Barry’s time travel, there is a possibility that he could reboot the DCEU completely. That creates a world where a Batman or even a Justice League doesn’t exist. Rather, we could discover an older Batman portrayed by Michael Keaton, who has been fighting crime on Gotham streets for years.

In this role, Bruce Wayne knows his days are numbered, so he’s searching for someone or a group of people to step up to the challenge. In this scenario, Keaton would quite literally be the “Godfather of the DCEU.” What a better person to assemble a team to carry on his legacy? He could also help Barry to rally his teammates and do more than the Bat alone ever could.

Go beyond

Source: Warner Bros. Animation/DC Comics

Last but certainly not least, the possibility that I am most excited about: Michael Keaton’s appearance could set up a live-action Batman Beyond film.

Batman Beyond is an animated series that features a teenage Terry McGinnis, who takes on the mantle as Batman. This is 20 years after Bruce Wayne retired from fighting crime in Gotham. Bruce eventually sees similarities between himself and the young teen. He allows Terry to assume the role of Batman under his tutelage, as well as hiring Terry as his personal chauffeur and assistant to make money for his family.

With Keaton reprising his role as Bruce Wayne, I cannot think of a more fulfilling and effective way to reintroduce the character.


This film would offer a fresh, new story to fans unfamiliar with this version of the character. We would be granted a nice break from the abundance of live-action Bruce Wayne we have seen in recent years.

Batman Beyond would explore a futuristic Gotham with so many creative possibilities in terms of characters, weaponry, societal norms, and the city itself. This is something we’ve never seen from DC films. Not to mention, it will be the first time we see Batman portrayed by a teenager, which is a chance for younger viewers to relate to the character. similar to the way they are able to associate with Peter Parker and Spider-Man.

The cast actually reunited just last year at New York Comic Con to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the series, announcing a new remastered series BluRay and DVD set,so a live-action film should be imminent.

With all these possibilities, there are still many questions to be answered before any of these can come to fruition. While its not likely that Ben Affleck will return to the role of Batman, there is a slim chance that Zack Snyder‘s version of the Justice League can be so successful that he is brought back.

Who knows? Warner Bros. could strike a new deal for Batfleck to play the character in the future, possibly even in Muschietti’s The Flash film? Also, could the Snyder Cut be considered canon for the DCEU moving forward? Would this change anything about the 2022 film or Keaton’s involvement in future DC projects?

Again, so many questions. Can’t wait to find the answers.

Michael keaton: the icon

Credit: Andrew H Walker/WWD/REX/Shutterstock

The real question remains, where does Michael Keaton fit in? The answer: It doesn’t matter.

We have never been disappointed by Michael Keaton’s performance in any film. Name one. From his hilarious comedic presence and timing in films like Beetlejuice and Multiplicity, to his shivering cold and calculating performances in films like Pacific Heights, the man simply delivers.

Michael Keaton is easily one of the best actors of the past generation and he will long be remembered as one of the greats, whether it’s for his Bruce Wayne or others.

With the hype and nostalgia revolving around Keaton returning as Bruce Wayne, how could DC and Warner Bros. not capitalize in a major way? Hopefully we will get some answers later this summer during the DC FanDome, DC’s own virtual con event. Until then, we eagerly await to hear Michael Keaton remind us just exactly who he is in chilling and dramatic fashion.

Say it with me…


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