At one point, Michael Keaton’s Batman seemed like a lock for The Flash. Word had it that the deal was all but done, with concept art appearing and Warner Bros. positioning the character as a DC Universe equivalent of Nick Fury. But Keaton recently poured cold water on the idea, saying he’d hadn’t read the script, that he was concerned about travelling to the UK during COVID-19 and he’s very busy at the moment.
Apparently, if he’s unable to return, WB want a previous Batman to appear alongside Ben Affleck instead, and a new report says that Christian Bale is their plan B right now (though George Clooney coming back would certainly turn some heads). But could this happen?
Well, there are a lot of obstacles in the way. First up is that his Batman/Bruce Wayne ended his superhero career nicely, as due to his body bring damaged by years of crimefighting, he handed down the mantle to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s John Blake and retired to a peaceful life sipping cocktails in the sun with Selina Kyle. So, if he was to come back, they’d likely have to retcon that story.
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Secondly, Bale has been adamant that he considers his Batman a partnership with Christopher Nolan and that he wouldn’t get back into the cape and cowl without him behind the camera. In a 2019 interview, he was asked about whether he’d ever do another Bat movie and said:
“Chris [Nolan] had always said to me that if we were fortunate to be able to make three we would stop. ‘Let’s walk away after that,’ he said. Then when they inevitably came to us and said, ‘How about a No. 4?’ I said, ‘No. We have to stick to Chris’ dream, which was always to, hopefully, do a trilogy.”
But stranger things have happened and I don’t doubt that there are any problems that the studio couldn’t solve by driving a dump truck full of money to Bale’s house. Still, given how grounded the Nolan trilogy was, it’s difficult to imagine how his realistic Batman would fare in The Flash‘s world of genuine superpowers, magical creatures and alien invasions.