That New Michael Keaton Batman Rumor Just Got Debunked

The Internet, by and large, is often filled with rumors and speculation. This is true of news in virtually every field: politics; sports; and especially entertainment -- specifically comic book movie news. Fans sometimes read or hear what they want to read or hear, despite the veracity of a given fact. Which allows rumors to spread like wildfire until they are snuffed out at the source.

This recently happened after DC Films President Walter Hamada told the New York Times that there will be two Batman characters, one played by Robert Pattinson and one played by Michael Keaton, in the DCEU. We knew that. Fans however took it one step further, and translated that to mean Keaton was permanently taking over the Batman role, and potentially squeezing out Ben Affleck. Well, that’s not the case… at least, not yet, as the reporter mentioning the news, Brooks Barnes, clarified this week:

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The NY Times reporter whose words were being twisted to fit narratives posted on Twitter that his reporting, in context, ONLY referred to Michael Keaton in the one movie, The Flash. It was announced during DC FanDome last year that Keaton would return to a role he made popular in 1989, as well as in a 1992 sequel, Batman Returns. Keaton hasn’t played the Caped Crusader since, though he’s a fan-favorite for his iconic portrayal, helping to launch the cinematic interpretations of The Dark Knight and paving the way for such actors as Val Kilmer, Christian Bale and, yes, Ben Affleck.

The Flash director Andy Muschietti even showed off concept art that had Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen alongside Michael Keaton’s Batman, which would happen (we assume) because Barry accesses the Multiverse and steps into the realm of Tim Burton’s Batman.

Brooks Barnes’ latest Tweet means that Michael Keaton is not staying on in the Batman role… at least, not for now. If he were to stay on as a mentor role in the DCEU (as has been rumored), this could lead into an adaptation of the popular DC story Batman Beyond, where a much-older and grizzled Bruce Wayne trains and oversees the actions of crimefighting teenager Terry McGinnis in a futuristic Gotham City. That’s something DC fans likely would LOVE to see in live-action.

But then there are the Zack Snyder fans who are clamoring for a #RestoreTheSnyderVerse push that returns Ben Affleck to the centerpiece of Batman stories. Can both happen? Of course, but jumping to conclusions based on one line in a NY Times report is undisciplined.

The future is still being written at Warner Bros. and DC, and thanks to the introduction of the Multiverse concept, the possibilities are endless. Given the fact that Walter Hamada wants to balance both theatrical and HBO Max in the DC storytelling options, there’s even more room for Batman (and women) of all shapes and sizes. We shall see how Batman returns to action in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which is coming to HBO Max in March.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.