The actor’s agent has confirmed that he will once again don the cowl as the superhero vigilante in an upcoming movie that’s bound to be a nostalgia trip.
“Batman Returns” isn’t just the title of Michael Keaton’s second film as the caped crusader, it’s also what’s on every DC fan’s lips now that it has been officially confirmed that the actor will reprise his role.
The actor’s talent agency, ICM Partners, confirmed to The Wrap that Keaton will return as Batman in the DC movie The Flash, which has just entered production. This solo movie will flesh out the backstory of Barry Allen, the super-speedy superhero played by Ezra Miller in Justice League. (Incidentally, fans might be equally surprised to see Miller also returning to his role, following a widely-publicised violent altercation with a fan occurred just last year.)
It is unclear exactly how Keaton’s Batman will make his appearance, seeing as the movie presumably takes place in the same universe as Ben Affleck’s incarnation of the vigilante anti-hero, but we’d guess that’s there’s some clever trickery with time travel or alternative futures involved. If so, it wouldn’t be the first superhero project to attempt such a mind-bending concept, and it probably won’t be the last either.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was a memorable animated movie that combined different interpretations of the arachnoid Avenger in a shared multi-verse, so that characters as wacky as Nicolas Cage’s Spider-Man Noir and John Mulaney’s Spider-Ham could share the stage with Miles Morales and Peter Parker. What’s more, forthcoming film Spider-Man: No Way Home is rumoured to star veterans Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield reprising the title role, shoulder to shoulder with Tom Holland.
Even though there isn’t yet a molossus multiverse comparable to that, it does sometime feel as though there already is. No sooner than Christian Bale concluded the Dark Knight trilogy, we had Ben Affleck take up the mantle — and although he’s only just quit the franchise, there’s already a new solo film starring Robert Pattinson due to be released in 2022. All the while, Kevin Conroy has of course reliably voiced the character in cartoons and video games.
It’s getting to the point where declaring “I’m Batman” will sound less like a statement of intimidating intent, and more like a throwaway line from half of Hollywood’s leading men’s CVs.
Despite all these varyingly successful interpretations, many purists hold that Michael Keaton’s version of the batty billionaire is the very best there ever was, and they’ll surely be thrilled to see him back in the role. I just hope the poor guy can wear a suit that allows him to turn his head this time around…