While there’s no shortage of modern superhero movies to enjoy, sometimes it’s nice to enjoy some of the classics. Long before this genre became a Hollywood staple, moviegoers watch Christopher Reeve’s Superman and Michael Keaton’s Batman fight the forces of evil. It says something that those actors’ take on the characters remain beloved these days, and now DC Comics has revealed an interesting fact about these earlier Superman and Batman movies: they take place on the same Earth.
The latest DC Comics crossover event, Dark Crisis, is starting to wrap up, and this week saw the release of a one-shot called Dark Crisis: The Big Bang. The majority of the tie-in issue sees the Barry Allen version of Flash and the Wallace West version of Kid Flash facing off against the Anti-Monitor across multiple realities, but towards the end, there’s a section called “From the Notes of Barry Allen,” in which readers can look over dozens of the Earths that make up the current version of the DC multiverse. Among them is Earth-789, in which "Superman and Supergirl are Earth’s only powered heroes; Batman’s parents killed by The Joker.” Next to the description, Superman ’78 and Batman ’89 are in parenthesis, referring to the two limited comic book series published within the last couple years that tie into the Christopher Reeve Superman and Michael Keaton Batman movies.
To put it more simply, in the current DC multiverse, these incarnations of Superman and Batman, as well as Helen Slater’s Supergirl, live in the same reality. Now, it is worth noting that because the Batman ’89 comic book series served as a sequel only to Batman and Batman Returns, namely by chronicling how the Billy Dee Williams version of Harvey Dent became Two-Face, then it can be presumed that Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, which respectively saw Val Kilmer and George Clooney wearing the cape and cowl, do not take place on Earth-789. Still, at least now fans of Reeve’s Superman and Keaton’s Batman can envision these two teaming up together, something that we’ll sadly never see on screen. Hey, why not make it happen in the comics with a Superman ’78/Batman ’89 crossover?!
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that DC Comics’ version of the multiverse doesn’t apply to all DC media. Namely, The CW’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” event from a few years back had different designations for these versions of Batman and Superman. It was indicated that Michael Keaton’s Caped Crusader lived on Earth-89 through the presence of reporter Alexander Knox, while Brandon Routh’s Man of Steel, who was implied to be the same version as Christopher Reeve’s (remember that Superman Returns was considered a spiritual sequel to the first two Superman movies), lived on Earth-99.
Honestly, it’s not worth overthinking; one just needs to make peace with the fact that there are different interpretations of the multiverse, and it’s ultimately up to the reader to pinpoint which canon they prefer. Still, since next year we’ll reunite with Michael Keaton’s Batman in The Flash, if his Earth is named, I’m interested to see if they go with the 89 or 789 designation, or even use an entirely different number.
Break out your HBO Max subscription if you’d like to rewatch the Christopher Reeve Superman and Michael Keaton Batman movies, and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all the biggest updates concerning upcoming DC movies.
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