The DC Extended Universe may be having its fair share of issues that its working currently working through, but the franchise's upcoming future should bring a signal of hope. Warner Bros. is currently enjoying the successes from Wonder Woman 1984's release on HBO Max, and the team is also preparing for the highly anticipated release for the Snyder Cut of Justice League in about two months.
Just like what is happening within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, DC is about to embrace the concept of the multiverse that has been utilized in the pages of comic books for decades. This will mostly be seen in 2022's The Flash, which will bring two different Batmen to life via the talents of Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton.
Recently, an interview with Warner Bros.' head of movie production confirmed that there will be multiple Batmen running at the same time in the DCEU. However, a new social media blast indicates that the second Batman will not be the one previously expected.
In his latest interview with the New York Times, Warner Bros. head Walter Hamada was quoted as saying there will be multiple versions of Batman coexisting within the DC Extended Universe.
"Coming up, for instance, Warner Bros. will have two different film sagas involving Batman — played by two different actors — running at the same time."
The writer of this piece, Brooks Barnes, took to Twitter to confirm that the second of these two Batmen will be Michael Keaton, alongside Robert Pattinson.
Hi @brooksbarnesNYT. Based on your Hamada piece, some have interpreted that WB is doing 2 franchises starring Batman, one with Pattinson, one with a new actor. Is that correct, or you were referring to Keaton as a second Batman, being part of a non-Batman-centric saga? Thank you!— Nestor Cine (@NestorCine) January 2, 2021
Update: In response to Barnes' reply and the fan response from it, The Hollywood Reporter editor Aaron Couch took to Twitter to recall a report from one of his colleagues from Summer 2020 that already detailed Keaton's long-term role in the DCEU:
From June: "If a deal makes, Keaton wouldn’t just return for Flash but possibly for several other DC-oriented film projects. Sources tell THR that the role being envisioned for the veteran actor is akin to the role played by Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury..." https://t.co/1ozBPnQlT4— Aaron Couch (@AaronCouch) January 4, 2021
Update 2: Barnes has offered clarification to his initial reply, stating that he was only "referring to the *one* film [The Flash] that Keaton has been announced as being in, not a set of his own Batman films."
Been offline (moving apartments) and return to see this Michael Keaton craziness. I was referring to the *one film* that Keaton has been announced as being in, not a set of his own Batman films. If I had info on him beyond "The Flash," I would have obviously put it in my article— Brooks Barnes (@brooksbarnesNYT) January 5, 2021
WHAT THIS MEANS
Although there have been so many contrary reports about the different Batmen within the DCEU, it seems as though Ben Affleck is slowly being phased out as the Caped Crusader.
The news from last summer that Affleck would return for 2022's The Flash came as a shock to fans and critics alike, especially considering his unceremonious exit from the directors chair on a previously planned Batman solo movie a few years ago. It's unclear whether The Flash will be his last time in the DCEU, but his time as the Caped Crusader seems to be coming to an end sooner rather than later.
As for Michael Keaton, Warner Bros. seems to have big plans for the man who first took on the cowl over 30 years ago. Rumors have pointed to him serving in a sort of Nick Fury role for the DCEU as a whole, and his return is gaining hype over a year and a half before it officially arrives.