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Michael Keaton’s Return as Batman Confirmed for “The Flash”

Way back in January we first heard the reports that Michael Keaton would be reprising his role as Batman. The news came from an in-depth interview that DC Films president Walter Hamada gave to the New York Times, explaining how Keaton, Ben Affleck, and current Batman Robert Pattinson would all portray Gotham’s greatest hero in films set in parallel worlds. Now The Wrap has confirmed at the Keaton portion of those initial reports, with Keaton’s talent agency, ICM Partners, telling the outlet the actor is joining the production in London. The Flash began filming there yesterday, with Ezra Miller reprising his role as Barry Allen from Justice League. Keaton had recently expressed concerns about jumping into The Flash due to concerns over the COVID-19 situation in the UK.

This marks Keaton’s return to a character he first brought to the big screen 32-years ago, in Tim Burton’s 1989 game-changer Batman. It was Burton’s bold vision and Keaton’s risky casting that ultimately set the stage for the superhero dominance of our current cinematic landscape. Keaton was primarily known as a comedic actor then, and some Batman fans bristled at the idea of him playing such an iconic superhero. Yet Keaton’s portrayal of a witty Bruce Wayne fits right into today’s superhero films, where one-liners are almost as important as superpowers. Now Keaton is portraying an older Batman, one living in a parallel universe from Pattinson’s version, who we’ll see in Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman. This version of Keaton’s Batman we’re seeing will be based on an imagined trajectory for the character after his second (and last) turn as Bruce Wayne in Burton’s Batman Returns in 1992. Keaton left the franchise after Burton was forced out and Joel Schumacher was brought in to direct Batman Forever (1995) and then Batman & Robin (1997).

It’s also now known that The Flash will be loosely based on the DC Comics crossover event from 2011, “Flashpoint,” which sees Barry Allen travel back in time to try and prevent his mother’s death. The result of Barry’s trip is that he ends up creating another universe, one in which Keaton’s Batman will be a crucial protector.

The Flash director Andy Muschietti (It, It: Chapter Two) generated a bunch of buzz when he revealed the film had begun production via Instagram, which we’ve embedded below. The Flash is due in theaters on November 4, 2022.

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Featured image: Michael Keaton attends the premiere of Columbia Pictures’ “Spider-Man: Homecoming” at TCL Chinese Theatre on June 28, 2017 in Hollywood, California. Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

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