Michael Keaten is reportedly reprising his role as Batman in DC’s upcoming Flash movie. Keaten, who famously played the Caped Crusader in Tim Burton’s Batman, may be returning as Bruce Wayne next to Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen, who we last saw in his debut film Justice League as forced comic relief Flash, who saved the world against the unfortunately forgettable Steppenwolf beside Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman, and, most importantly, Batman, who was played by Ben Afleck, which brings us to the obvious question: how could the same Flash interact with two different Dark Knights? I believe there are two possible explanations.
The first theory is that the 2022 The Flash will be based on the Flashpoint comic series, in which Barry Allen wakes up to discover that he’s traveled to a parallel dimension, one where Superman is held captive as a lab-rat by the United States government, Aquaman and Wonder Woman are waging war against each other in western Europe, and the Justice League have never been established. Out of my two theories, this one is supported by more evidence, as during the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con, it was announced that the DCEU will be adapting the Flashpoint comics into a film with Gal Gadot and Ray Fisher reprising their roles as Wonder Woman and Cyborg, respectively.
Image via Singlo Coahuila
This may already seem like the obvious direction that the filmmakers will be taking, but there’s one fault: in the alternative universe Barry Allen finds himself in, Bruce Wayne is the one shot dead in the alley. Instead, the Batman persona is taken by Thomas Wayne, and the Joker is replaced with Martha Wayne, who goes insane after seeing her son killed before her. If Michael Keaton is to appear in The Flash, and if The Flash is an adaptation of the Flashpoint comic series, then he’d most likely be playing Thomas Wayne rather than Bruce, which would make sense, considering his age.
The other theory of mine is, admittedly, supported by less, but still one that I find exciting to entertain, and one that makes me feel like quite the sleuth to piece together: that the Flash travels back in time to meet Michael Kheaton’s Batman. Not only has it been established in the comics multiple times that the Flash possesses such an ability, but there’s evidence in Justice League that the Tim Burton Batman films exist in the same continuity as the DCEU.
In the scene when Bruce Wayne and Alfred are discussing their hunt for the superhumans that will make up the Justice League, the butler laments the good ol’ days, where, “one’s biggest concern were exploding wind-up penguins”. This is a direct reference to Batman Returns, where the Penguin unleashes an army of penguins to destroy Gotham City. Not only that, but, when Batman reveals himself to Commissioner Gordon, Danny Elfman’s signature Batman tune plays. Yes, I know that it’s entirely possible these were just intended to be homages and nothing more, but even the timeline is consistent, once you do the math, because if Bruce Wayne was, say, 25 in the 1989 Batman, then he would be only 53 come Justice League.
Regardless, it’s not even confirmed if Keaton is going to be returning as Batman, so I won’t be holding my breath, but it’s possible we might find out shortly, as DC Comics’ upcoming FanFare event is scheduled for August 22nd, and will likely include news about the broader DC Universe.
Featured image via Joblo