What the return of Michael Keaton’s Batman means for the DCEU

Holy multiple Batman’s! Michael Keaton is back as the Dark Knight, so that makes it three in the DCEU. What does it mean for the future?

No one knows what to expect from director Andy Muschietti’s upcoming DCEU movie The Flash, but rumors suggest that it will, in some way, extrapolate from DC Comics 2011 Flashpoint storyline. It’s a rumor fans have heard since the announcement of a Flash movie.

To make things even more bizarre, a week after rumors surfaced, again about Jeffrey Dean Morgan returning as Thomas Wayne (via the Flashpoint universe), the DCEU has seemingly dropped a cosmic-sized bomb.

It has now been reported that Michael Keaton has jumped on to return as the Batman. Yup, that’s right, the GOAT will come back as The Dark Knight. If things do go ahead and Keaton’s Caped Crusader returns, there are technically three different Batmans in the DCEU.

Maybe they believe you can never have too many Batmans. But don’t mistake either Batman for the other. As far as we know, Pattinson’s Batman has no connection to the DCEU, while Ben Affleck was a Snyder guy with a story that ended. And Michael Keaton hasn’t been Batman since 1992 — let that sink in.

What it could mean for the DCEU

The DC’s Extended Universe could finally have some continuity. Some hardcore DC fans may frown upon the idea of continuity and some love that Matt Reeves’ The Batman and Todd Philips’  Joker both exist in worlds of their own. Others, however, may wish to see Keaton’s returning Dark Knight be the older version of Robert Pattinson’s.

Not much is known about the direction of Reeve’s Batman aside from the fact that it’s a nor-inspired trilogy. Right now, there isn’t anything linking to the film to the current continuity of the DCEU. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Keaton couldn’t be portrayed as the older version of the youthful protector of Gotham. After all, there already similarities to Tim Burton’s Batman and Reeves’ upcoming film.

For example, they both include Selina Kyle, Penguin, and Riddler as part of Batman’s early exploits. There are also rumors of Harvey Dent potentially showing up – another character prominent in the Burtonverse.

Of course, it could all mean nothing. Again, Reeves said that his Batman isn’t tied to any universe — and we don’t need it. But there’s another Batman who needs his story told the right way.

Rebooting the DCEU’s Batman

It really seems like Ben Affleck isn’t coming back to the DCEU – no matter what some rumors say. He stepped down because he was, for lack of a better term, tired. And we thank him for his brief, albeit memorable performance as the Dark Knight. Batfleck was the Batman that Zack Snyder built, but his story was incomplete. This is a chance for Warner Bros and Walter Hamada to continue a story we thought died after the flop that was Justice League.

In case you haven’t heard, The Snyder Cut is coming to HBO Max. One way or the other, fans will have renewed interest in seeing that version of Batman continue — we should get it. But we don’t exactly need Snyder’s vision of it. He wanted Dick Grayson dead, sorry, but most of us do not. However, there’s a solid base set in place for an epic story.

Instead of a dead Dick Grayson, we could have a dead Jason Todd – who The Joker and Harley killed. A Death in the Family makes more sense in terms of familiarity, continuity, and a story that many desperately want to see play out on the big screen. This could even give Jared Leto another, well-deserved chance to get legit screen time.

Whether Keaton’s Bruce Wayne is a future version of Pattinson’s or Affleck’s, or neither,many believe he’ll be portraying an aged version of the character, ready to give up the cape and cowl. Others believe his Batman will be tied specifically to the Flashpoint as a one off thing (instead of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Thomas Wayne).

One thing’s for sure, if Keaton’s Batman is an aged version of Ben Affleck’s in the DCEU, his arrival could segue to those long-teased Batgirl and Nightwing properties, with those two taking over as the faces of the Bat-Universe. Perhaps we’ll even see him hand over the Batsuit to… Terry McGinnis.

Before that happens, however, we need Keaton to suit up as Batman in a solo film… one last time. Dark Knight Returns, anyone?

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What do you think the return of Michael Keaton’s Batman could mean for the DCEU? Let us know in the comments below!