Reports that Michael Keaton has entered early talks to reprise his role as Batman in the DECU have sent the rumor mill into overdrive. We initially learned that the veteran actor’s first movie back in the cape and cowl would be 2022’s The Flash, but it wasn’t long before he was linked with the live-action Batman Beyond film that Warner Bros. is said to have been plotting for a while. Furthermore, we’ve just gotten word that an A-list star is allegedly being lined up for the villain role in the pic.
According to notable leaker Mikey Sutton and the folks at Midnight’s Edge, none other than Tim Burton is in the frame to direct the live-action Batman Beyond movie, and his long-time collaborator Johnny Depp could join the project in the role of the Joker. Indeed, this isn’t the first time Warner Bros. is said to have eyed up the Pirates of the Caribbean star to play Gotham’s Clown Prince. In fact, WGTC told you months ago that he might be playing the Joker. Though at the time, we had heard that he was being eyed for Matt Reeves’ trilogy. However, it seems the idea of casting him in Beyond instead appears to have just dawned on them.
“[We’ve] been hearing about discussions for Johnny Depp as the Joker so much lately that he was convinced they were targeting him for Matt Reeves’ Batman trilogy,” says Sutton. “That might not be the case. They haven’t negotiated with Depp yet but WB [could be] planning on nabbing him for Batman Beyond as the world’s most famous psychotic clown.”
Sutton’s latest leak also lines up with our previous report that Batman Beyond will be an adaptation of Return of the Joker, the animated feature film released in 2000. No doubt Bat fans are now getting excited about the prospect of Keaton as an aged Bruce Wayne, Depp opposite him as the Joker and a younger actor playing Terry McGinnis, with Burton back in the director’s chair. Apparently, the project was originally being lined up for HBO Max, but it sounds like the possibility of having Keaton on board has convinced the powers that be to upgrade it to a theatrical release.
These plans could, of course, completely unravel if Keaton turns down the chance to play the Caped Crusader again, but if he does sign on the dotted line, the possibility of Burton also returning to the character isn’t completely out of the question, nor is Depp following him in tow. Here’s hoping there’s something to these rumors, because it sure sounds like DC and Warner Bros. may have found their dream team for a live-action Return of the Joker.