Michael Keaton was first announced to be returning to the DC universe last June, with Tim Burton’s Batman set to suit up for the first time in 30 years to play what was described as a substantial supporting role in The Flash. However, the actor recently cited his jam-packed schedule and COVID-19 concerns as a reason why it’s not a guarantee quite yet, even though the Scarlet Speedster’s solo debut is looking to launch headfirst into production before the end of this month.
That would be a fairly hefty roadblock to navigate given that Keaton is no doubt pivotal to the story, and rewriting the script so close to the start of shooting is a potential nightmare waiting to happen. Shortly after the 69 year-old cast doubt on his involvement, though, various rumors began circulating that said it was simply a negotiating tactic designed to wring some extra cash out of Warner Bros., while other reports claimed that Christian Bale was being considered as Plan B.
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We’ve now heard from our own sources – the same ones who told us the Joker was getting a new look in Zack Snyder’s Justice League long before it was confirmed – that Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight is also being eyed for Batman Beyond should the Keaton deal fall through. While the project hasn’t been officially announced, most people are expecting it to happen given Keaton’s veteran status setting him up perfectly as the wizened mentor to the youthful exuberance of Terry McGinnis.
Of course, saying you want Christian Bale is a whole lot easier than actually getting him given that he’s never shown an inclination to return to Gotham City and he’s not motivated by money in the slightest. It would also require a refit of Batman Beyond‘s concept as well, given that the Academy Award winner is younger than Ben Affleck never mind Keaton, so the elderly Bruce Wayne would need to be significantly aged down. Still, we’re told that it’s an option WB is considering should Keaton ultimately pass on the opportunity.