For an entire generation, Michael Keaton was Batman. When he growled the words, “I’m Batman” in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman, you sure the hell better know that we believed him, all apologies to Lewis Wilson and Adam West. Keaton, up until ’89 better known as a gifted comedic actor, took the Gotham City baton and ran with it up through 1992’s Batman Returns, bowing out finally and ceding his superlative Bruce Wayne to such actors as Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, Ben Affleck and, soon enough, Robert Pattinson.
And now it looks like Michael Keaton will be returning to the character that made him a global star. Word ‘round campfire from our mustachio-twirling pals over at The Hollywood Reporter has it that Keaton is currently in talks to bring his spin on the Caped Crusader and Millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne back to glorious celluloid life. Keaton’s return would ostensibly be for the upcoming Warner Brothers movie The Flash which is being helmed by IT maestro Andy Muschietti and which would presumably explore the idea of a shared DC Universe (think the MCU but with much cooler, stylized cities).
If the deal is signed off on, scuttlebutt has it that not only would Keaton share screen time with the cinematic version of the Flash, Ezra Miller, but his Bruce Wayne might just extend off into even more DC related films. The Hollywood Reporter’s gremlins also mentioned that Keaton’s return as Bruce Wayne across a wide spectrum of interconnected movies (say it ten times fast, kiddies) would be akin to the Samuel L. Jackson role of Nick Fury over in that other cinematic comic book universe.
The plotline of Warner’s upcoming The Flash reportedly revolves around such fun comic book tropes as time travel (a big mainstay in The Flash comic book) and inter-dimensional travel, akin to DC’s 2011 universe resetting mini-series, Flashpoint, allowing for Keaton’s presumably alternate earth Batman to exist quite comfortably with Miller’s old JLA pal, Ben Affleck, who essayed his own interpretation of the Dark Knight through three films (Affleck has since hung up his utility belt, presumably forever.).
Checking my handy Roswell 1947 reverse engineered Toshiba laptop, ye olde intrepid reporter notes the following upcoming DC films in the pipeline in which Keaton could conceivably be dropped into (this is, of course, sans the finished and forthcoming Suicide Squad 2 and Wonder Woman 1984 flicks): Batgirl, Joker 2, Untitled Jared Leto Joker Film, Untitled Joker/ Harley Quinn Film, The Batman, Aquaman 2, Black Adam, Shazam! 2, The Trench, Green Lantern Corps, New Gods, Blackhawk, Supergirl, Nightwing, Justice League Dark, Gotham City Sirens, Blue Beetle, Plastic Man, Untitled Man of Steel Sequel, Untitled Deathstroke Film, Untitled Lobo Film, Cyborg. Whew! Quite a list and this Glass Half Full fan can see plenty of opportunities for Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne to fit quite nicely into these stories.
For an entire generation, Michael Keaton was Batman; time to brush off and rework our prefixes and welcome the most dynamic of all of the many fine actors who have played Bruce Wayne to the party. Michael Keaton is Batman. We believed it in 1989 and 1992 and now a whole new generation will believe it, too.