Holy unlikely returns, Batman!
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Micheal Keaton is reportedly in talks to reprise his role as Bruce Wayne in Warner Bros. Pictures’ upcoming The Flash feature film. The long-delayed project has gone through many iterations — including one based on DC Comics’ Flashpoint event — and it seems the latest will see Barry Allen (Ezra Miller, who is still slated to star despite attacking a fan a few months ago) take a trip through the Multiverse, introducing film-goers to the key DC Comics concept. Presumably, it will also revisit film Barry’s meeting with Arrowverse Barry (Grant Gustin) during The CW’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover event.
Of course, all of this is early goings and negotiations could fail. Keaton has no problem walking away from projects. Indeed, he walked away from Spider-Man: Homecoming after word of his part in the film broke to industry trades. He eventually came back to the table and ended up playing Adrian Toomes in the film, but the episode illustrates how easily a rumor about the actor’s participation in a film can fall apart.
All that said, the report has certain echoes of The Flash‘s development during its brief time as Flashpoint. In that iteration of the project, Barry would make certain changes to the universe and be greeted by a Thomas Wayne version of Batman (with Jeffrey Dean Morgan linked to the part either by rumor or wishful thinking). When Barry set things right, certain things would still be changed; explaining away the differences in the DC film universe before and after Justice League — like a recast Bruce Wayne Batman, Diana’s (Gal Gadot) adventures in Wonder Woman sequels, and a more Marvel-ized tone overall. These plans, of course, never came to fruition as The Flash often loses directors due to creative differences.
Reportedly, these creative differences come from Miller himself, who wants The Flash to be dark and even conscripted Grant Morrison to write his vision of a dark Flash — an idea we find ludicrous as the entire concept is bathed in the hope and optimism of 1960s New Frontier America. And while we don’t need Miller to play the more Peter Parker-like Barry he played in Justice League, something more akin to the tone of the television series is the right way to go.
THR further suggests Keaton’s return may see him become the DC films’ answer to Nick Fury; popping up in subsequent films as mentor, shadowy agent, and, possibly, organizer of heroes down the line. That possibility also give the notion that The Batman will not be in-continuity with heroes featured in Justice League more credence
The Flash, to be directed by It‘s Andy Muschietti, is currently set for release in June 3rd 2022, but considering this project’s history, we’ll believe it only when we see it.