The road to The Flash movie has been long, but the Ezra Miller-led film is finally in production, and it has gradually become a must-see on the list of upcoming superhero movies. The movie will see Barry Allen travel back in time to prevent the murder of his mother and, along the way, it looks like he’ll cause some ripples across the multiverse. What’s arguably most exciting about this is that Miller’s Barry Allen will eventually cross paths with Michael Keaton’s Batman, who is said to serve as a mentor to him. A recent set photo finally revealed Keaton’s Wayne, and it’s already enough to get you nostalgic about his classic Batman movies.
Tim Burton introduced audiences to a very distinct Gotham City when Batman hit theaters back in 1989. It’s been a while since they were fully able to explore it, but they were recently treated to a taste of it when the timeline (dubbed Earth-89) briefly popped up in the Arrowverse’s Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event. The Flash has the opportunity to dive back into that continuity in full force, and there are a few Easter eggs from the Michael Keaton era that I would love to see. So let’s dive in and talk about some potential treats for the fans:
A Tribute To Michael Gough’s Alfred
Tim Burton’s Batman recently celebrated its 32nd anniversary and, for some, it may still be hard to believe that the film has been with us for so long. Unfortunately, this long gap in time means there are also a number of cast members that are no longer with us. This includes the legendary Michael Gough, who played loyal butler Alfred Pennyworth to Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne. While there are many actors who’ve played Alfred over the years, Gough certainly stands as one of the best and was one of the few constants throughout the four Batman films that released from the late-’80s to the mid-’90s.
By the time we revisit this world in The Flash, it’s more than likely that Michael Gough’s Alfred will have passed on, and the movie could pay tribute to the actor and his character in a sweet way. The easiest way would be to include a photo of him in Wayne Manor. And since it looks likely that Barry Allen will visit the iconic location, he could stumble upon the image, leading him to ask Bruce who it is. The result could be a sweet exchange in which Bruce briefly, but fondly, remembers his old friend, with Barry adding that he also knows a loyal Alfred.
The Batwing Must Rise Again
So this is a big one but, seriously, how can you not bring the Batwing in if you have the opportunity to use it? Fans love that classic Batmobile (which is rumored to be making a comeback), but Batman’s custom air combat vehicle is as cool today as it was when audiences saw it on the big screen decades ago. The vehicle was iconically used by the Dark Knight during the third act of Tim Burton’s Batman, during which the hero sought to foil Joker’s plans to kill the citizens of Gotham during the city’s 200th Anniversary Parade. And of course, there’s that iconic shot that shows the Batwing’s silhouette against the moon.
To put it quite simply, it would be great if Andy Muschietti were to take advantage of the fan-favorite vehicle in The Flash, if it fits into the story, of course. Muschietti can also take the opportunity to show off capabilities we never knew the vehicle had. And I honestly wouldn’t mind if he winked at the fans by recreating that silhouette shot.
A Batcave Filled With Trophies Of The Past
Anyone who’s read a Batman comic book or seen one of the various animated series knows that Bruce Wayne is actually quite nostalgic when he wants to be. This is evidenced by the amount of momentos that he likes to keep in the Batcave. Whether it be one of Joker’s giant playing cards or one of the Ventriloquist's Scarface dummies, he likes to hold onto things. So why not have Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne do the same?
In Tim Burton’s Batman timeline, Bruce Wayne can have a few different mementos from his crime-fighting history. Seeing items like Joker’s signature long-barreled revolver (which could’ve been recovered later on) or an Oswald Cobblepot for Mayor poster. And there could even be additional keepsakes that represent villains we didn’t see on screen, indicating that Michael Keaton’s Wayne has taken on a large assortment of famous rogues in his time.
C’mon Let’s Get Nuts… Again
It’s arguably one of the most controversial elements within any Batman movie, though many fans still seem to enjoy and quote it. I’m talking about Michael Keaton’s famous “You wanna get nuts?! C'mon, let's get nuts!" line. The phrase is eccentrically uttered by Bruce Wayne when he’s confronted by Jack Nicholson’s Joker in Vicki Vale’s apartment. It’s been debated as to why exactly Bruce attempted to challenge the Clown Prince of Crime but, whether people like it or not, it still seems to come up during many fan discussions about the movie.
If Andy Muschietti could find a way to have Michael Keaton organically say that line again, it would be a true treat. Even if the director were employing it just to poke fun, it would still be entertaining. Imagine Bruce Wayne saying the line again while he and Barry Allen are in a dangerous standoff. And with Allen being as witty as he is, he might be inclined to humorously ask Wayne why he’s suddenly acting like a lunatic.
Prince’s “Partyman” Needs To Be Added To The Soundtrack
There are plenty of things that stand out about Batman ‘89, and the soundtrack, curated by music legend Prince, is definitely one of the elements that stands out most. The late musician really outdid himself, adding a number of signature tracks like “Batdance” and “Scandalous!” But the track that arguably gets the most love is “Partyman,” which, in the film, is blasted by the Joker and his goons as they infiltrate and vandalize works in the Gotham Museum of Art.
To put it simply, the track is a banger, and could give The Flash’s soundtrack a nostalgic jolt. It’s honestly hard to say where the song could fit into the movie, but adding it shouldn’t be too hard a task. For instance, how funny would it be for Barry Allen to stumble upon and jam out to the tune while messing with the radio in the Batmobile?
Michelle Pfeiffer’s Selina Kyle Makes Her Triumphant Return
Again, this is another big one, but we know we all want it. We’ve had many Catwomen over the years, from Eartha Kitt’s flawless portrayal to Anne Hathaway’s shifty iteration. Yet for many, Michelle Pfeiffer’s turn as the character is the definitive version of the character. The actress put everything she had into the role, and those with doubts need only look to her skills with that whip.
As mentioned, Tim Burton’s Batman continuity was previously featured during the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover. While it didn’t appear in the actual episode, an Easter egg that was teased on the set revealed that Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle were set to get married. The chances of it happening are slim, but maybe The Flash can take this into consideration. It’s also worth mentioning that Pfeiffer did express interest in returning. The chances of it happening may seem slim, but crazier things have happened, right?
One can only imagine what Andy Musicheittti and co. have planned for their return to the world of Tim Burton’s Batman. But based on the teases we’ve gotten so far, it’s sure to be something that will please fans of multiple generations. We’ll see Michael Keaton return to his famous role when The Flash races into theaters on November 4, 2022, and be on the lookout for other upcoming DCEU movies.