If there's one thing that is integral to the DCU on the page that hasn't been fully explored on the big screen it's the multiverse. Done countless times in DC Comics and recently on television with an expansive crossover, the World of DC on film hasn't tapped into that resource just yet, but it will in a big way with the upcoming The Flash movie. It was previously reported that Michael Keaton's Batman would play a role in the upcoming film but today brought the news that he's not the only caped crusader that will appear as Ben Affleck will return as Batman once again.
The use of multiple Batmen is a signal that the film will explore the multiverse on the big screen, but filmmaker Andy Muschietti outright name dropped the narrative concept in the same interview where he confirmed Affleck's reprisal.
"This movie is a bit of a hinge in the sense that it presents a story that implies a unified universe where all the cinematic iterations that we've seen before are valid," Muschietti said while speaking with Vanity Fair. "It's inclusive in the sense that it is saying all that you've seen exists, and everything that you will see exists, in the same unified multiverse."
What's unclear about this film and Warner's other DC productions is how they'll interact or be acknowledged on a large scale. Keaton's Batman appearing seems to imply that the film will tease his other appearances as the character in Tim Burton's two films. From there though the movie can blow the doors off the DC film multiverse in some way as there are countless DC adaptations that have previously been disconnected and in their own continuity.
All four of the Christopher Reeve Superman movies and the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy seem like the most obvious connections to be made. Other less-popular films like Steel, Catwoman, Jonah Hex, and Green Lantern could also be connected in some way, but the big question mark is how (or if) the film will also acknowledge separate universes like 2019's Joker and the upcoming The Batman (which will be in theaters by the time The Flash is released. The beauty of how this movies and the multiverse as a narrative device work is that all that needs to happen is an acknowledgement of these other worlds. Characters don't have to appear, a flash on the screen or dialogue recognition will go a long way. Here's hoping it happens.
The Flash is currently scheduled to be released on June 2, 2022, the film's panel at the DC FanDome digital event will take place at 2:40 PM ET on Saturday, August 22.