It’s been nearly three decades since Michael Keaton last played Batman, having previously donned the cape and cowl for 1989’s Batman and 1992’s Batman Returns. The Batman film franchise has come a long way since then, but we’ll soon be reuniting with the incarnation of Gotham City’s Caped Crusader that established that cinematic foothold, as it was announced back in June that Keaton will star in The Flash.
With The Flash movie still two years away (assuming there aren’t any more delays), details are being kept close to the proverbial chest about how Michael Keaton’s Batman fits into the Scarlet Speedster’s first solo movie. However, those of you jazzed about Keaton’s return to the DC fold can now display that proudly in shirt form, as there’s an official shirt on sale at Design By Humans featuring Keaton’s Batman and Ezra Miller’s Flash together, as seen below.
This concept art debuted during the main DC FanDome convention, a.k.a. “Hall of Heroes,” last month, giving us not only our first taste of the DC Extended Universe’s Barry Allen and Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne teaming up against mysterious foes, but also of Barry’s new suit, which is far sleeker than the one he wore in Suicide Squad and Justice League. While Keaton’s Batman is largely shrouded, he looks to be wearing the same Batsuit from Batman Returns, although I wouldn’t be surprised if the design ends up looking different within the final version of The Flash.
It’s also worth mentioning that Michael Keaton’s Batman won’t be the only version of the Dark Knight to appear in The Flash. Ben Affleck will also return as the DCEU’s Batman, with director Andy Muschietti describing him as “a very substantial part of the emotional impact of the movie,” particularly because they both “lost their mothers to murder, and that’s one of the emotional vessels of the movie.”
So how are we getting two versions of Batman in The Flash, if not more? Well, the movie is adapting the Flashpoint storyline, which saw Barry Allen drastically changing the main DC Comics timeline when he traveled back in time to save his mother from being killed. That said, The Flash’s take on Flashpoint will be quite different than what went down in the comics, and going off the information available so far, the movie looks like it will be playing around more with the multiverse angle.
As such, rather than Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen changing the DCEU timeline, resulting in Ben Affleck’s Batman being replaced by Michael Keaton’s Batman (though I’m not willing to rule that out entirely just yet), it seems like Barry will instead travel to the reality where Keaton’s Batman lives, a.k.a. Earth-89, an official classification thanks to the Arrowverse’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover. Beyond that though, we’re in the dark on how Keaton’s Bruce Wayne will help the Fastest Man Alive.
Still, with other heroes from elsewhere in the DC multiverse expected to show up alongside these Batmen, it’s looking like The Flash will be quite the cinematic event. Furthermore, this may not be Michael Keaton’s swan song as Batman, as it was reported that he could end up serving in a “mentor capacity” in other projects, such as Batgirl. However, that tidbit of news came out before Ben Affleck’s Batman return was announced, so if plans are made to feature more of Batfleck in the DCEU, it’s unclear if that will interfere with what was being hashed out for Keaton.
The Flash races into theaters on June 3, 2022, so keep checking back with CinemaBlend for updates on its progress. Don’t forget to look through our DC movies guide to learn what else this corner of the superhero movie market has coming up, including The Batman, which stars Robert Pattinson in the eponymous role and will take place in its own universe.