Is Michael Keaton's Batman Return Setting Up DC's Crisis Movie Event?

DC Fans were shocked by the news that Warner Bros. has cast Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman [...]

DC Fans were shocked by the news that Warner Bros. has cast Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman in the upcoming Flash movie. Keaton will be returning to his Batman role to act as a 'Nick Fury' type, appearing in various new DC movies - a development that raises a whole slew of new questions. Fans have begun speculating that Warner Bros. could be using The Flash movie and its "Flashpoint"-based storyline to start building the franchise towards an entire Crisis movie event. On a recent episode of the ComicBook Nation podcast, we broke down exactly why Michael Keaton's Batman return presents that opportunity.

ComicBook Nation host Kofi Outlaw sees something like a live-action DC Crisis movie could be the very thing that both straighten out the franchise's convoluted continuity, and open the franchise up by fully embracing its multiverse nature:

"It's like DC has this kind of big potential franchise to have a much more varied franchise than even Marvel does. They've been testing waters with things. You can make your Aquamans, your Wonder Womans, but you can also make your Jokers, and they kind of been doing that and we said, 'Well, you have all these weird continuity snags because of the half-finished Snyder stuff, and all that, and what do you do with all this?' And I think one of our options that Matt hit on the head was you basically gotta do Crisis as a movie event, right? Something that brings all these different franchises together kind of puts them through a bologna sheet that comes out the other end and says, 'Okay, now this is the real new established continuity,' and you can fix a lot of things on along the way. You can fix who your Batman is, who your Superman is. All that stuff, you can close off some of the old stuff, start some new stuff, and it seems like, I mean, this is all still early but it seems like that's kind of what we're putting together here."

Host Matt Aguilar sees another opportunity in DC doing Crisis as a franchise retconning movie: beating Marvel to the punch!

"I would love, and it looks like this is kind of the direction they're going in, but for DC to just swoop in and embrace the concept of the multiverse and just knock it out of the park because you know, you know when it works, 10 years later, Marvel's gonna do it. When it works, it's like those Crisis events, when they're great--"

Michael Keaton Batman DC Flash Movies Crisis Event Film

One clear example of that was the recent Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event that aired as part of the CW's Arrowverse. Kofi sees that as a small-scale test that could lead to big-screen success:

I think that's a good point because I think that was a testing ground where people were like, where they showed, there's a lot of testing DC loves to do. It used to be the animated wing, they used to test all kinds of stuff. They got us the Suicide Squad movie and things like that. The Crisis was a test, they put some money into it, they were like, okay, they allowed all the kind of crossovers, and there were even more... that we didn't get to see, that were even crazier that they were doing - including bringing Batman '89 into it and everything. And it was such a big event and people did kind of bite, and people didn't run away or have their head explode because of all the multiverse stuff. People got it and were able to hang with the comic-bookiness of all that. So yeah, I mean, it's easy to do. Just make whatever B movies you're making, and then at the very end, just have Michael Keaton's Batman show up and be like, 'Sorry to bum you out, but something's comin', gotta prepare.'... And then you do a Crisis movie that's like your Avengers: Infinity War, Endgame, like a two-parter... and just hop through all kinds of fun references. Get Ben Affleck back in here, get Cavill in here, get everybody in and at the end, you just have a new DC movie universe. Some things are the same, well, we get to pick and choose 'cause that's the greatest thing about Crisis: just cherry-picking exactly what you wanna keep from DC and exactly what you don't..."

As Matt points out, "Crisis" events are DC's time-honored way of cleaning the slate:

"Rebirth was essentially one giant Crisis. They just branded it a different name. But that's what DC does every four years, is like, 'Okay, well, let's wipe this off the board, let's pick the best parts of The New 52 or whatever, we'll keep that, that worked. The rest of this was trash...' whatever... But that's like that's so DC, right? When I think of DC Comics, the multiverse is so inherent to just DC in general that this is a no-brainer."

Catch new episodes of ComicBook Nation every Wednesday and Friday on You can listen to the full discussion below: