Although we ended up with a lot of cameos in The CW’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” there were many that were cut, either for time or due to scheduling conflicts and other reasons. In this context, we missed out on Michael Rosenbaum’s return as Lex Luthor, while it seems other rumors, like Tom Welling appearing in costume, just couldn’t be worked out. One of the more disappointing absences from “Crisis” though was Michael Keaton cameoing as Bruce Wayne, which wasn’t out of the question given some early teases from the production.
According to FandomWire, The CW were keen to bring in Keaton to reprise his role from Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns, even if only for a cameo. In the end, we only received a tantalizing glimpse of Earth-89’s Gotham City skyline, Danny Elfman’s iconic score and Robert Wuhl’s Alexander Knox wishing that the “big guy” was aware of the red skies that are approaching the city. Wuhl was also reading a paper with the headline “Batman Captures Joker,” which doesn’t seem to make sense with the continuity of the Burton movies, but is still pretty satisfying nonetheless.
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However, that newspaper could have shown a different headline, courtesy of a leaked photo, available above, of the front cover with Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne, and the story ‘WayneTech CEO – Bruce Wayne to Marry Socialite Selina Kyle.” While this cut shot wouldn’t have been a cameo from Keaton, with the image taken from his original turn as Bruce Wayne, it would arguably have enhanced the all-too-brief scene we eventually received with Wuhl.
In the end, it seems that The CW were unable to make a deal for Keaton, although they were able to bring in Kevin Conroy for an extended performance as a future Batman. All’s not lost, though, for fans wanting to see Keaton return to an iconic character, with the actor reportedly expected to appear in the long-gestating Beetlejuice 2. Furthermore, Keaton is regularly linked to a live-action Batman Beyond movie, so “Crisis on Infinite Earths” may not be the last opportunity to see him suit up again as Batman, although it’s less likely it’ll be the Burton version of the character.