Will We Ever See Michael Keaton As Batman? Here’s Everything You Need To Know!

MOVIE NEWS – It looked like Michael Keaton’s Batman would be getting a big role in the DC movies. After the cancellation of Batgirl and the fall of The Flash, what will happen to the character?



With last year’s shock cancellation of Batgirl, starring Leslie Grace and directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, the future of DC films under Warner Bros Discovery was mainly in question, including the fate of Michael Keaton’s Batman. Although CEO David Zaslav has tried to reassure fans that DC is moving forward with a 10-year plan similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it seems that DC’s strategy so far has been thrown entirely out the window. Now it appears that a plan is taking shape with James Gunn and Peter Safran in charge of the DCU. But now, the plans for the franchise are changing drastically.

Before the cancellation of Batgirl, all signs for DC’s future pointed towards a semi-re-booted cinematic canon, with Michael Keaton stepping back into the role of Batman after Ben Affleck’s departure from the franchise.

With the announcement of a new DCU Batman movie, The Brave and the Bold, it seems that all the plans for Keaton’s return as Batman are just a one-off guest appearance in The Flash.



MOZI HÍREK - A Warner Bros. úgy tűnik, hogy példátlan lépésre szánta el magát, és teljesen törölte a Batgirl-filmet, amely mostantól nem jelenik meg sem a mozikban, sem az HBO Max-on... Michael Keaton



What was the plan?


The original plan for the future of the DCEU was apparently to be a reboot of sorts of the DC cinematic universe, moving the franchise well away from the Snyderverse and the mixed bag of films that followed the financial failure of 2017’s Justice League. This reboot would likely have taken place during the events of The Flash. The film’s overall concept is a loose adaptation of the comics’ iconic Flashpoint story, in which The Flash travels back in time and rewrites reality to save his mother. By the film’s end, a new DC Cinematic Universe is created that retains some elements of the Snyderverse while erasing others entirely.

In this new universe, Sasha Calle would take on the role of Supergirl, with Keaton replacing Affleck as Batman. The first film to truly explore the new continuity of this universe would have been Batgirl, with Keaton’s Bruce Wayne/Batman existing as the older mentor to the new Batgirl, played by Leslie Grace. From here on out, Keaton’s Batman would likely continue to pop up occasionally, but the central Batman character of the universe would have been Batgirl, as played by Grace.

If the WB had planned to base the rebooted universe on the Justice League movie, the new team would probably have consisted of Calle’s Supergirl, Grace’s Batgirl, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, Zachary Levi’s Shazam, The Flash (probably with Ezra Miller), and any new characters like Blue Beetle or Black Adam.

Grace’s Batgirl stepping into the lead role in the new DCEU would have made sense, given that Robert Pattinson’s Batman successfully launched a completely separate story for this hero. Having Batgirl as the central Bat-figure of the DCEU and Keaton’s older Batman as a supporting character would have allowed the two franchises to coexist without stepping too far on each other’s toes.

Superman’s plans were different. One of the planned endings to The Flash included Cavill reprising his role as Superman alongside Gal Gadot as the Flash, where Superman would meet his cousin Supergirl. This ending was never filmed, but with Cavill being brought in for a tease by Dwayne Johnson at the end of Black Adam, it became clear that DC may have finally started to formulate a half-plot for the connected universe.



MOZI HÍREK - A Flash után kap-e Ezra Miller valaha is újabb főszerepet egy nagy hollywoodi filmben? Egyáltalán akarja-e Miller folytatni a színészkedést...? Michael Keaton



The Flash changed everything


The Flash was linked to Batgirl. The film had been in development limbo for quite some time and, after repeated delays, finally arrived in cinemas on June 16 2023. The decision to release the film was controversial, given the headlines surrounding lead actor Ezra Miller. While Warner Bros. Discovery rejected Batgirl altogether, believing it would hurt the brand, they had full faith in The Flash. Ultimately, The Flash became one of the studio’s biggest bombs of all time, grossing less than Green Lantern.

The Flash was an essential part of DC’s future plans. They wanted to use it as a multiverse reboot of their new plans, and it was supposed to come out before Batgirl to explain why Michael Keaton was now playing Batman.

Various changes were made to the film during the many years that The Flash was in development.

DC movies have changed their release dates many times. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom was set after The Flash, and Michael Keaton filmed a scene as Bruce Wayne for the film to maintain the continuity established by The Flash. Then Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom was scheduled before The Flash, which meant that Keaton’s cameo as Bruce Wayne had to be replaced by Ben Affleck. Still, when Shazam! Fury of the Gods was delayed from the original March 17, 2023 release date of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, the film was moved to December 2023, again putting it after The Flash. This would suggest that they could use the original Keaton scenes, but now there’s a problem.

The Flash, as it hit theatres, changed the originally planned ending. While Keaton and Salle were supposed to appear at the end, showing how Bruce Wayne and Supergirl were incorporated into the central DC universe, when James Gunn and Peter Safran were signed on as the new heads of the franchise, those plans were scrapped. Gunn had plans for Batman in the DCU and didn’t want to confuse audiences, so the ending of The Flash changed drastically.

The ending now does not include Keaton and Calle. Instead, the Bruce Wayne that Barry Allen meets at the end is George Clooney, who previously played Batman in Batman & Robin. This was meant as a funny joke and a friendly wink to the audience about how many actors have played Batman. But now it has had a domino effect.

Since the exact status of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is currently unknown as to whether it will be set in the original DCEU or the new DCU timeline, Keaton’s Batman may not appear at all as it wouldn’t fit in with either existing version.



MOZI HÍREK - Michael Keaton Sötét Lovagja ma már ikonikus; mint kiderült, Tim Burtonnak konkrét oka volt arra, hogy a rajongók felháborodása ellenére őt szerepeltesse az 1989-es Batmanben.



The chances of Michael Keaton returning are now slim


Keaton’s return as Batman would have been a triumphant return for the actor in his most iconic role. He was probably inspired by the success of the actors he brought back in legacy roles. Seeing how the Star Wars sequel trilogy did so well with the return of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, or how Creed brought back Sylvester Stallone, and Halloween brought back Jamie Lee Curtis, all of which brought in big box office returns, it made sense for Keaton to return.

But this decision was taken at a very different time. In fact, since it was announced that Keaton would return as Batman in 2020, a lot has changed both in Hollywood and at Warner Bros. The failure of The Flash at the box office signals a potential change in Hollywood. While legacy sequels have been box office successes, and since Keaton’s return was announced, the two biggest films post the COVID-19 outbreak have been legacy sequels Top Gun: Maverick and Spider-Man: No Way Home; however, the novelty is wearing off. Despite the amount of marketing Warner Bros. put behind Keaton’s return as Batman, it didn’t move box office. The same happened with Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones, and even Tom Cruise returned as Ethan Hawke in another Mission: Impossible film. Perhaps the novelty is wearing off.

The decision was also made many years ago, when Warner Bros. was a very different company. It was created when AT&T still owned Warner Bros., but in 2022, the studio was sold to Discovery. Massive changes like this at the executive level mean that there will be huge changes starting from the top down. This has clearly had an impact on DC films.

Although they seemed to have a plan: a soft reboot of The Flash, with Keaton as the new Batman, and mixing older, established heroes like Wonder Woman and Aquaman with new, younger heroes like Shazam, Blue Beetle, Batgirl and Supergirl, all of these were made before David Zaslav took over the studio.

Zaslav clearly wanted to compete with Marvel Studios. To this end, he brought in a Marvel veteran, James Gunn, to head DC Studios.

Gunn is clearly planning an interconnected DC universe. The Flash was still used as a reset, but is now more as a conclusion to the original DCEU and a transition into the newly titled DCU. It is currently unclear who or what will be included in the DCU, as conflicting reports have now emerged regarding Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman future. But with the announcement that Brave and the Bold is in the works, it was pretty much the final nail in the coffin that Keaton’s Batman will be more than a one-off return. In the three years since Keaton’s casting was announced, a lot has changed, from one of the franchise’s main characters to a nostalgia hit to a blockbuster.

Source: The Direct

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