'The Flash' Movie: What We Know About Michael Keaton's Return as Batman

The Flash is not set to come out until November 2022, but fans are already getting excited about the Ezra Miller-starring movie. As well as being the long-awaited solo cinematic debut of the character, the movie is also set to star a superhero legend: Michael Keaton.

The Oscar winning-actor, who recently joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming, played Bruce Wayne in 1989's Batman and 1992's Batman Returns before being replaced by Val Kilmer for Batman Forever. Now, 30 years after he last donned the cowl and cape, he is set to return as an older version of the vigilante ready to help Barry Allen fight crime.

What we know about Michael Keaton's role in The Flash

News that Keaton may be involved in The Flash was first announced in June 2020, when The Wrap reported that the Beetlejuice actor was in talks to return.

Though at that point few details were known about what role Keaton would play in the new movie, it had been announced that The Flash would introduce the concept of the DC multiverse. As such, it is thought that Keaton's Bruce Wayne is a different character from a parallel universe to the Wayne played by Robert Pattinson in the upcoming The Batman. He also exists in parallel to Ben Affleck's Batman, not to mention Joaquin Phoenix's Joker.

Coincidentally, Marvel will explore its own multiverse in 2022 to in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, which was set up by a recent episode of Disney+'s Loki.

michael keaton batman in the flash
Michael Keaton is set to play Bruce Wayne/Batman for the first time since 'Batman Returns' in the upcoming 'Flash' movie. Warner Bros

In August 2020, it was confirmed that director Andy Muschetti was adapting a version of the Flashpoint arc of comic books, in which Allen travels through the multiverse and meets multiple incarnations of Bruce Wayne. This was previously teased by the Crisis on Infinite Earths Arrowverse crossover on The CW, in which Miller's Flash met the TV version of the character, as played by Grant Gustin.

This was all confirmed by the director, who told Vanity Fair that The Flash would include not only Keaton's Batman but also Affleck's. In that interview, he confirmed Keaton would not just cameo but would play a "substantial" role in the plot.

In that interview, Muschetti said of the movie: "This movie is a bit of a hinge in the sense that it presents a story that implies a unified universe where all the cinematic iterations that we've seen before are valid.

"It's inclusive in the sense that it is saying all that you've seen exists, and everything that you will see exists, in the same unified multiverse."

In June 2021, meanwhile, fans got their first view of the Keaton Batman since he defeated the Penguin in the early 1990s. A few days after set photos revealed the costume of Sasha Calle's Supergirl, another photo showed Keaton as Wayne, with the actor wearing a grey wig styled similarly to his haircut in the original 1989 Batman.

Keaton returns to the DC fold three decades after walking away from the role during the development of what became Batman Forever. After ideas to make the third Batman movie a prequel were nixed by the studio, director Joel Schumacher started planning a movie with psychotic Riddler, as well as Scarecrow and the return of Catwoman.

The love interest, meanwhile, would be played by Rene Russo. As the script began to be made more palatable for children than the darker Batman Returns, however, Keaton dropped out, with Kilmer taking his role and Nicole Kidman playing the part originally set to be played by Russo.

The Flash is released onNovember 4, 2022.