Unsurprisingly, the youngest actor to ever play Batman in a live-action blockbuster is Christian Bale, who was 29 when he was first cast as Christopher Nolan’s Bruce Wayne for origin story Batman Begins, and 31 when the movie was released in the summer of 2005.
Ben Affleck, meanwhile, remains the only name to have been hired after their 40th birthday, but he’ll be losing his crown as the oldest cinematic Caped Crusader after the 71 year-old Michael Keaton returns for the first time in 30 years when The Flash hits theaters in November 2022. On the other end of the spectrum, Robert Pattinson will be 35 when The Batman arrives, with the reboot set to pick up during the hero’s second year on the job as Gotham City’s resident vigilante, but insider Daniel Richtman now touts that Warner Bros. wants another young version of the character for the DCEU.
It’s a vague statement to be sure, and it’s unclear how an additional and much more youthful spin on the Dark Knight would factor into the studio’s shared mythology, given both the dearth of details and current complexion of the franchise. Pattinson’s Batman will operate outside of main DCEU continuity, but has been heavily rumored to cross over, while both Affleck and Keaton remain part of official canon.
The most obvious explanation, of course, would be Batman Beyond, which has been rumored for years and now seems more likely than ever before given that Keaton’s elder statesman is set to operate in a mentor-like role, as opposed to suiting up and getting his hands dirty on a regular basis. Protagonist Terry McGinnis is typically depicted anywhere from his teens to early 20s, and with the Keaton connection now in place, there’s a ready-made storytelling opportunity to finally bring the fan favorite into the fold.