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There’s been a bit of confusion lately when it comes to what exactly the DC Multiverse is doing with the Batman character. To be certain, the Bob Kane/Bill Finger-created Caped Crusader is very much a going concern over at Warner Bros, but there’s a question as to how three actors linked to that legacy will be used going on. Robert Pattinson, Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton are all part of the Bat-Family, and the latter two are expected to be present in The Flash’s big multiverse story. But what happens after that point, and is there room for three Batmen in the DC Multiverse?
Quite simply, yes, there is, and DC has already put into motion a huge test case for why/how it’s all possible. Through that methodology, I’ve put together a case for why all three actors could, and should, be used after The Flash introduces the latest cinematic incarnation of its universe to the theory that there are infinite Earths. More importantly, there are also specific purposes for why each version of the Batman mythos should exist, as three different stripes of DC fan could be pleased in one multiversal move. Jump into the Batmobile with me, as we run down why a multiverse of three Batmen is definitely something to hope for.
The Main Reason For Three Batmen In The DC Multiverse
Batman is such a rich character in the DC Comics universe that all three potential portrayals listed above give the world something different. Robert Pattinson, Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton each have a specific Batman to their credit, and that allows the character to be explored in unique ways simultaneously. Their differences not only give them different stories to tell, but they also feed into one of DC’s long held strengths: the multiverse.
DC's crucial advantage has always been that it's played around with multiverse-style thinking, thanks to various reboots of storied heroes like Superman and Batman. Plus, the animated DC films have also given the world various actors taking up the mantles of said heroes, allowing folks like Keri Russell, Mark Harmon and Nathan Fillion to play around in the DC Comics sandbox. With Marvel Studios looking like it's about to go multiversal itself, this is the best time to let DC be DC and tell three different Batman stories.
How Robert Pattinson's Batman Fits Into The DC Multiverse
With three different Batmen on the table, the various purposes of each performer will be key in keeping audiences as in the loop as possible. In The Batman, we already have director Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson establishing a new "marquee" Batman, which we could see in numerous films and tie-ins like HBO Max’s GCPD series. Think of Pattinson’s Batman as the flagship, much as Christian Bale was during The Dark Knight era. As The Batman seems to operate as a free-standing incarnation of Bruce Wayne’s journey against darkness, this corner of the DC Multiverse would only come into play if a big crossover event was triggered. That’s a door that opens both ways though, as an already planned crossover gives us two more paths to pursue.
How Michael Keaton's Batman Could Fit Into The DC Multiverse
As if the rumors that Michael Keaton’s Batman could lead to a Batman Beyond adaptation weren’t heated enough, the mere mention of his participation in The Flash has consistently caused rumors that a full series of films with Keaton in the cape and cowl are on the way. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, and people hoping that Crisis on Infinite Earths’ nods towards Tim Burton’s Batman were leading to something bigger. But even in the light of such dismissal, there is a purpose for Michael Keaton’s version of Batman to endure. With the original Batman Beyond hitting HBO Max, there’s all sorts of nostalgia swirling in the air from reintroducing the world to Terry McGinnis’ time as Bruce Wayne’s student in the ways of costumed theatrics.
So whether HBO Max wants to make a film or a series cashing in on that, or if Warner Bros wants to go the full theatrical monty, keeping Keaton around would be another move that could cause fans to stand up and cheer. Should that fail, there’s always The Dark Knight Returns, which would help DC make some more R-rated gold, and give Michael Keaton one hell of a sendoff. In either case, there’s options to be had in the Batman ’89 universe.
How Ben Affleck's Batman Should Fit Into The DC Multiverse
Last, but not least, we have the curious case of Ben Affleck: a Batman who, sadly, never got to reach his full potential. While it’s all well and good that Affleck passed on his Batman project, which would have seen him serving as a writing/acting/directing triple threat, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways for the actor to return. Were Ben Affleck up to keeping playing Batman past his appearance in The Flash, the possibility would achieve something fans have been clamoring for: it could restore the Snyderverse.
Not only that, but should Ben Affleck be in the business for more Batman antics, he could help bring some other non-traditional Batman stories to life. Maybe Ben Affleck’s Batman plays out Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns cycle, since we’ve already seen allusions to the darker era of the character play out in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Or perhaps we could see the newly reformed relationship between Affleck and writer/director Kevin Smith forge ahead with adapting and completing Smith’s Batman story, which started in Batman: Cacaphony and continued in Batman: The Widening Gyre.
The existence of three different Batman narrative tracks only helps diversify the multiverse friendly presence that is DC Comics, and it couldn’t happen at a better time. Audiences are ready to get weird with multiple incarnations of heroes mixing it up, and potentially separating for their own adventures, on the big screen. If Marvel’s getting its ducks in a row for a big Spider-Man kerfluffle, then naturally DC should try and compete with this brave new world; especially when it looks like it's already been playing that hand for some time now.
As The Batman is set for March 4, 2022 and The Flash will release on June 2, 2022, we’ll see how the cards play out from DC Comics’ deck. Not to mention, Zack Snyder’s Justice League’s release in the first quarter of 2021 just might play a big part in helping one, if not all, of these scenarios come to pass. So keep a tab open on your browser for CinemaBlend, as we’ll keep digging into this infinitely intriguing story and report back on what turns up.