It would be safe to say that nobody was expecting yesterday’s bombshell announcement that Michael Keaton had entered talks with Warner Bros. to reprise the role of Bruce Wayne for the first time since 1992, and now we have some new details about what this could potentially mean for the future of the DCEU.
Along with the news that Keaton could be stepping into a Nick Fury-like role as a veteran mentor to the franchise’s younger generation came the confirmation that the DCEU is fully embracing the idea of the multiverse, beginning with The Flash. Not only would this technically make The CW’s Arrowverse canon with the movies, but it also helpfully allows the Snyder Cut of Justice League, Matt Reeves’ The Batman and Joker to coexist as part of the same universe without having to awkwardly tie everything together.
Furthermore, The Flash will have the hero going back in time to prevent the death of his mother, which leads to the creation of another universe. This new reality will apparently be “protected by Keaton’s version of Batman, and both Batman Forever and Batman & Robin will be forgotten about, with The Flash revealing what this Dark Knight has been up to in the thirty years since we last saw him face the Penguin in Batman Returns.”
Although it marks an unfortunate coincidence that Batman Forever and Batman & Robin were confirmed to be getting wiped from continuity on the same day their director passed away, it acts as a better tribute to the memory of Joel Schumacher to leave them as their own standalone adventures for the Dark Knight, with Robert Pattinson now positioned to lead the character’s solo series into the future.
This doesn’t just confirm the long-standing rumors that The Flash’s fourth incumbent of the director’s chair will still be adapting the Flashpoint storyline, but it also lets the studio clear up an increasingly messy and confusing big screen timeline, with unconnected spinoffs like Joker still a part of the DCEU’s multiverse.
Many people thought that Warner Bros. and DC were just throwing ideas at the wall to see what would stick, but in one fell swoop Michael Keaton’s return as Batman looks to have established the comic book franchise as a sprawling universe of infinite possibilities connected by several key elements that will all be traced directly to the events of The Flash.