Batman fans were thrown into an excited frenzy earlier this year when it was revealed that Michael Keaton would be returning to don the cape and cowl in director Andy Muschietti's The Flash. Though it is believed that Keaton's triumphant return is confirmed, the actor himself has poured a little cold water over proceedings when asked about the role in a recent interview.

"I can't confirm anything."
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Michael Keaton continued saying, "So, we're having discussions as they say. We're talking about it. We'll see if that happens." Suddenly, Keaton's involvement in The Flash does not sound as nailed down as previously thought. Keaton then went on to joke that "all 127" previous "Batmen" will appear in the movie before declaring himself to be the best Batman.

Now, before you let disappointment crush you like a hydraulic press, Keaton not confirming his return as the Dark Knight is not a major surprise considering that The Flash has not started production yet (that's due to begin in March) and a lot of things can change between then and now.

Rumors of Keaton's Batman comeback began to circulate back in June, with director Andy Muschietti seemingly providing confirmation of the wonderful news in August. While he has never gone into specifics, Muschietti has said that Keaton will have a major role in The Flash, which sees Justice League's Ezra Miller reprising the role of The Scarlet Speedster.

The Flash will reportedly take inspiration from the comic arc The Flashpoint Paradox, which sees Barry Allen travel back in time in order to save his mother. However, his meddling with time finds the Flash emerging in a bleaker universe in which the Amazons and Atlanteans are at war. This alternate version of the DC universe finds Bruce Wayne dead, killed at the hands of the same criminal who murders his parents in the original timeline. This leads to Thomas Wayne taking up the mantle of Batman, and applying his own, much more violent tactics.

How closely The Flash will stick to these elements of the source material is largely unknown, but it is likely that the movie will use this alternate universe to introduce all sorts of DC easter eggs, which, according to recent rumors, will include Nicolas Cage as Superman as well as the return of George Clooney, Christian Bale, and Val Kilmer as Batmen.

The real excitement for The Flash though is the inclusion of both Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck as different iterations of Batman. Fans have been left to wonder how the two very different versions of the Dark Knight will factor into proceedings, with director Andy Muschietti stating that Affleck's role will provide a lot of the movie's emotion. "The interaction and relationship between Barry and Affleck's Wayne will bring an emotional level that we haven't seen before," he said previously. "It's Barry's movie, it's Barry's story, but their characters are more related than we think. They both lost their mothers to murder, and that's one of the emotional vessels of the movie. That's where the Affleck Batman kicks in."

Almost the entire DC movie roster, including The Batman and Shazam! Fury of the Gods, has been pushed back with movies like Black Adam now removed from the release schedule entirely. The Flash has been delayed from June 3rd, 2022, to a few months later on November 4th, 2022, while Wonder Woman 1984 has (for now at least) stood firm on its release date of December 25, 2020. Keaton made these comments while appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Jon Fuge at Movieweb
Jon Fuge