While the Caped Crusader will live on in new ways through James Gunn's retooled DC Universe in the next few years, the iconic character's next big screen appearance is set to come in The Flash alongside Ezra Miller's Barry Allen.
The most exciting part is that more than one Batman will be utilized in this story as it takes fans through the DC Multiverse for the first time.
Who Plays Batman In The Flash Movie?
Below are all six of the names that could make their way into The Flash as Batman.
Michael Keaton - Confirmed
First brought up in rumors nearly three years ago, Michael Keaton is officially confirmed to reprise his role as Batman after two appearances in Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992). Not only will this be his first time in the cape and cowl in more than three decades, but he's even set to play a pivotal role alongside Ezra Miller as the main Batman in the movie.
The second full trailer for The Flash finally showed Keaton in action as he delivered the iconic "I'm Batman" line and flew around fighting bad guys just like in the old days. And with Keaton delivering much of the narration throughout the trailer, expect him to be one of the most important heroes that will drive the film's overarching narrative forward.
Ben Affleck - Confirmed
After playing the role for seven years, Ben Affleck will suit up for his penultimate appearance as the original DC Extended Universe Batman. The hero built a mentor/mentee relationship with Barry Allen in both versions of Justice League, which should make for an already established bond between them once this new plot gets underway.
Bruce Wayne is confirmed to be the benefactor of the Flash's superhero efforts, providing him with his iconic Flash ring that was seen in the trailer that aired during Super Bowl LVII. And while Affleck's time in the role is likely coming to an end by the time 2023 finishes, The Flash will help send him off on a high note as he pushes Barry Allen further down his path as a hero.
George Clooney - Rumored
Recently, a bizarre rumor indicated that George Clooney would be reprising his role as Batman in the upcoming The Bold and The Brave more than a quarter century after his ill-fated efforts in 1997's Batman & Robin. Even though he's regarded as one of the least popular actors to play the Caped Crusader, the rumor set the fandom ablaze, especially once there was a chance he could appear alongside Affleck and Keaton in The Flash.
Quickly taking to social media, DC Studios co-CEO James Gunn debunked that rumor and noted that the new Batman would be played by somebody much younger than Clooney. But that still leaves the door potentially open for a comeback in The Flash, which would certainly make up for a historically maligned effort from the days of superhero movie past.
Christian Bale - Rumored
Shortly after the initial rumors about Keaton became public, another report indicated that Warner Bros. would pursue Christian Bale from The Dark Knight trilogy if discussions with the 1989 star fell through. There was even a moment in The Flash's first trailer that supposedly showed Bale's version of the hero driving his classic Bat-Cycle from his movies, leading to hope that he'll make an appearance in the new DCU.
Bale would seemingly be the most likely ex-Batman star to make a comeback in this movie since he's the most recent non-DCEU star to play the role, having last appeared in a DC movie in 2012's The Dark Knight Rises. And with many wanting to get the memory of his time in the MCU's Thor: Love and Thunder out of their heads, an appearance in the DCU's new Multiversal outing could be just the thing to put him back into favor amongst comic-book movie enthusiasts.
Val Kilmer - Rumored
Val Kilmer had his time in the Bat-spotlight in 1995's Batman Forever, a movie that is most famous for the off-camera drama between Riddler star Jim Carrey and Two-Face actor Tommy Lee Jones. But two years ago, a rumor noted that Warner Bros. planned to reach out to all of the old Batman stars about an appearance in The Flash, including Kilmer's take on the hero from the mid-'90s.
Unfortunately, Kilmer has struggled with a throat cancer diagnosis since 2015, although he was able to come back for a meaningful appearance on the big screen as Iceman in the 2022 worldwide phenomenon Top Gun: Maverick. Should he actually pop up in The Flash, his role would likely be minimal, although it would be an emotional moment for many fans who look back fondly on his time with DC Comics.
Adam West - Rumored
Adam West played one of the earliest versions of Batman in his 1966 solo movie, opening the door for future portrayals of this iconic character over the following 60 years. The original Bruce Wayne star has been rumored to be part of The Flash in some kind of legacy cameo, delivering something of a full-circle moment for Batman's legacy in movies.
While West actually passed away in 2017, a cameo featuring him would likely use archival footage or voiceover from his past appearances in the role, giving him a moment to shine amongst the new crop of heroes. But should he actually show up in this new movie post-mortem, he'd make for an emotional blast to the past while the story explores alternate futures and realities.
Which Batmen Stars Will Actually Return?
While Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton are already confirmed to be part of The Flash's cast, all of the other options would most likely be considered long shots to make comebacks to their individual roles as Batman.
The highest odds would probably be for somebody like Christian Bale after playing the role so recently, especially with the actor still being in superhero movie shape after his appearance in Thor: Love and Thunder. He also had the best-reviewed Batman movies of the group, which would make him one of the more popular choices to come back to the DCU, although fans would certainly be happy to see any of these iconic stars suit up in the black super suit once again.
The Flash will debut in theaters on June 16.