Batman: The pros and cons of having two live-action Dark Knights at the same time

Michael Keaton is expected to return as Batman, but can two Caped Crusaders exist in parallel with one another?

The world was shocked when it was revealed that Michael Keaton will reprise his role as Batman in the upcoming DCEU movie The Flash. Many fans were elated to hear this news as many became fans of Batman through the 1989 movie Batman and its sequel Batman Returns.

Many reports have indicated that Keaton’s return will not have any effect on Robert Pattinson’s The Batman that is set to release in 2021 – one year before The Flash will be released. Though The Hollywood Reporter has reported that Keaton might play a bigger, Nick Fury-type role in upcoming films like Batgirl.

This presents an interesting conundrum for Warner Bros. Keaton is a beloved actor, but he may fall in similar category as Samuel L. Jackson in the MCU where they play pivotal parts in their franchise, but they aren’t the lead actor and feature attraction of their own movie.

Pattinson’s casting as The Caped Crusader in the standalone film initially received mixed reviews despite little footage of the film outside of small teasers actually being shown. Pattinson has also not been able to rid of himself of the reputation that the Twilight Saga carries with it, as many of his best roles post-Twilight are from smaller, independent films.

There’s a lot to dissect and analyze as Warner Bros. tries to build a universe that can at least be successful outside of one-off hits like Joker. Here are some broad pros and cons of having Keaton and Pattinson co-exist as Batman in different DCEU films.

Pros of having two Batmen

The opportunity to have both Pattinson and Keaton as Batman provides an interesting storytelling opportunity for Warner Bros. You’re able to tell stories from his younger years with Pattinson while also telling stories from hiss older years – like how we were supposedly going to get with Ben Affleck’s vigilante.

Far too often are fans subjected to the same origin story and tropes of a Batman learning how to be Batman. Affleck’s Dark Knight gave fans a glimpse of what an older hero could be, but he was presented as too brooding and nihilistic to actually enjoy.

If Warner Bros. is insistent on this style of aged hero, then you need a balancing act. This would provide a great opportunity to have a Batman Beyond movie in live action. It’s been 20 years since the Bruce Timm series aired, and Terry McGinnis is still a beloved character.

A Batman Beyond movie gives you the appeal of a Batman origin story that isn’t about Bruce Wayne – but one that still incorporates him into the story. It would also be a nice image of Keaton passing the torch to the next generation other than a younger version of himself or a multiverse version of himself.

Whether or not Pattinson’s Batman will just be a younger version of Keaton’s Batman or the two will be from different Earths, two Batman movies will also provide the opportunity for much more villains.

Rumors indicate that a new Joker might be introduced in The Batman. If this is true, it would clearly just be Warner Bros. trying to capitalize on Joker’s success, but we’ve seen The Joker so many times.

Keaton’s Batman doesn’t need his own Joker to fight. Batman has a huge rogues gallery – maybe even the best in all of comics. Let’s use this opportunity of having two Dark Knights to bring in different villains like Clayface or Mr. Freeze.  Yes, Mr. Freeze was in Batman & Robin, but there’s a lot more potential with the character than just ice jokes.

Cons

Introducing a multiverse is not an easy task. The Arrowverse had the benefit of being a television universe so that the-powers-that-be could properly expand and explain how their multiverse functions.

It took Marvel over a decade to feature time travel and multiverses as a main plot point, and even then, some of those aspects were very vague and confusing, but there was a lot more epic moments that made fans ignore some logic holes.

The DCEU has neither of those benefits. They could bring some Arrowverse characters into The Flash, similar to how Ezra Miller was brought in to that universe, but how much crossover is there in viewership?

Another Batman might confuse a general audience member especially with Pattinson possibly only having one movie under his belt once The Flash releases. As mentioned before, Pattinson hasn’t convinced a general audience that he is without a doubt Batman – at least not in the way that Christian Bale and Keaton have.

It’s possible that fans may revolt against Pattinson and just want Keaton as Batman. It’s too soon to tell if that critique will be warranted, but fans have not been afforded their chance to choose their favorites just yet.

Also, with the lackluster storytelling that has been shown in the DCEU thus far, it’s possible that the wrong people will be put in charge of handling two Batmans in parallel with one another.

A fair critique of the DCEU is that many of the recent movies are aimless and just one-shot adventures. If there is no commitment or explanation as to how these two Batmen exist at the same time, there is a reasonable concern that that Warner Bros. will just have different Batman movies, telling random stories – with different actors as an illusion of something different.

Again, this is all very early in the process. Warner Bros. has not earned the trust of fans that Disney/Marvel has, but this recent news along with the potential of the Snyder Cut of Justice League may give some hope for a better cinematic universe in the future.

Next: All 8 DCEU films ranked from worst to best

What do you think about having two Caped Crusaders existing at the same time? Can Warner Bros. make it work for the DCEU’s sake? Let us know in the comments below.