Apparently Ben Affleck's Aquaman 2 Appearance Is Tied To An Issue With Michael Keaton's Batman

Side-by-side pictures of Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton's versions of Batman
(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

For years, it looked like Ben Affleck’s time as Batman was done following the release of Justice League’s theatrical cut, but we haven’t seen the last of the actor in the cape and cowl just yet. Along with having shot new scenes for Zack Snyder’s Justice League and taken part in The Flash (which contains Affleck’s favorite Batman scenes), Jason Momoa revealed last week that Affleck will appear in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. But why is Bruce Wayne popping up in this particular upcoming DC movie? Evidently it’s tied to an issue with Michael Keaton’s Batman.

In a report providing more information on Batgirl’s release being cancelled, THR noted that Michael Keaton was set to appear as Batman in the Leslie Grace-led movie, and he would have been featured “at the center of a splashy action sequence.”Additionally, the outlet mentioned that Keaton also filmed a scene for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, but test audiences reportedly found his presence “confusing” because "it was unclear what Keaton’s Batman was doing in this universe.” As a result, that scene was set aside and reshot with Ben Affleck’s version of Bruce Wayne.

While Michael Keaton’s presence in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom might sound confusing since Ben Affleck has been the DCEU’s Batman since 2016, it makes sense when you consider that The Flash was originally supposed to come out before the Aquaman sequel. There was a time when The Flash was slated for November 4, 2022, and The Lost Kingdom would have followed on December 16 of the same year. With The Flash seeing Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen exploring the multiverse, the DC movie is expected to make some big changes to the DCEU continuity, including Keaton taking over as the DCEU’s Batman, as evidenced by his presence in Batgirl.

However, that’s no longer the case thanks to a DC film slate shakeup earlier this year; Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is now slated for March 17, 2023, while The Flash will come out on June 23, 2023. THR does mention in the same article that it’s rumored Warner Bros. is considering pushing back Aquaman 2 and Shazam! Fury of the Gods, which would presumably mean The Flash being delayed too. The big takeaway for now, though, is that the plan now is for Aquaman 2 to arrive before The Flash. As such, it doesn’t make sense for Michael Keaton to be present in The Lost Kingdom anymore, hence why Ben Affleck was brought in. 

All this still doesn’t clear up how Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne will fit into the Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom picture, but we likely won’t learn that until the movie is actually out. Jason Momoa will also be joined in the next Aquaman movie by Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Willem Dafoe, Dolph Lundgren, Nicole Kidman and Temuera Morrison, among others. Behind the scenes, James Wan and David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick returned to respectively direct and write the screenplay. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates on The Lost Kingdom and other forthcoming DC movies.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.