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The Michael Keaton and ‘Batman Beyond’ rumors, explained

Fans are speculating that Keaton will star in a new 'Batman' franchise.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on Jan 5, 2021

DC fandom is in a tizzy thanks to new rumors about Michael Keaton’s role as Batman. The Batman Returns star will definitely reprise his role in the upcoming Flash movie, playing an older version of Bruce Wayne. But a recent New York Times report led many people to believe he’s also getting a new solo franchise.

Focusing on DC Films president Walter Hamada, the Times article briefly mentions that “two universes and two Batmans” will be a key element of The Flash. This was already public knowledge, but if you’re not keeping up with DCEU ephemera, here’s the deal: Ben Affleck (who previously quit the role after Justice League) will return for a supporting role in The Flash, appearing in a storyline involving parallel universes.

Affleck’s Batman originates from “Earth 1” (the main DCEU canon timeline) while Keaton originates from “Earth 2.” It’s a Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse kind of situation. Meanwhile, Robert Pattinson will star in a different Batman franchise reboot with no connection to the other films.

The Times article described Warner Bros. as having “two different film sagas involving Batman” running at the same time, prompting a flood of speculation that Keaton would get his own spinoff franchise alongside Pattinson. Basically, people really want a live-action adaptation of Batman Beyond, the animated series featuring an older Bruce Wayne in a futuristic setting.

However, the article doesn’t actually mention Batman Beyond or confirm anything about an expanded role for Keaton. Fans jumped the gun thanks to an ambiguous piece of phrasing about Warner Bros. having “two Batmans”—which was already confusing because the franchise will soon include three Batmans.

New York Times entertainment reporter Brooks Barnes took to Twitter to clarify the issue on Monday night, saying he’d been offline while moving apartments and returned to see “this Michael Keaton craziness” trending on the site.

“I was referring to the *one film* that Keaton has been announced as being in,” Barnes explained. “Not a set of his own Batman films.”

So no, there isn’t a Batman Beyond movie in the works, and Pattinson is still the franchise’s main Bruce Wayne going forward.

Watch next: The bizarre history of the Batsuit in live-action movies

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*First Published: Jan 5, 2021, 6:54 am CST