Last week, we received the mind-blowing news that Michael Keaton is in talks with Warner Bros. to reprise Bruce Wayne in The Flash movie and beyond, a role he hasn’t played since 1992’s Batman Returns. If you discount Forever and Robin from continuity, as the DCEU will apparently do, there’s a lot that Tim Burton’s cult film leaves hanging that we would want addressed when Keaton comes back to the role. For one, The Flash has the opportunity to fill in a 30-year-old plot hole.
Returns features Penguin (Danny DeVito) and Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) teaming up to destroy Batman’s reputation. Oswald Cobblepot does so in a particularly heartless way, by murdering the Ice Princess – a Gotham beauty queen – and framing the Dark Knight, by planting a bloodied batarang at the crime scene. This forces the vigilante to lay low until he can clear his name.
The thing is, while the film acts like he does, this isn’t necessarily the case. Batman manages to ruin Penguin’s chances of being elected mayor by playing a mean-spirited confession to his adoring crowd – “You gotta admit, I played this stinking city like a harp from hell” – but this doesn’t implicate Cobblepot in the Ice Princess’ death. Likewise, Penguin also took control of the Batmobile and plowed through the town. So, while Oswald is outed as a crooked politician, Bats remains a suspected murderer.
One way that The Flash could finally address this plot hole is if Pfeiffer returns as Selina Kyle, particularly if she’s redeemed. If Selina turned away from crime following Returns, she may have testified in Batman’s defense to the police. Or else given them some anonymous tip-off. It’s also possible she could’ve falsified evidence linking her evil boss Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) to the crime, who she killed at the end of Returns.
It’s unlikely The Flash would directly address such a specific detail of a 30-year-old movie, but it’s possible its presentation of Keaton’s Batman, Pfeiffer’s Catwoman or Gotham’s relationship with its hero could help explain this Batman Returns mystery after so long.