DC Films president Walter Hamada believes moviegoing audiences are "sophisticated" enough to understand the multiverse, a concept allowing the studio to bring multiple versions of DC Comics superheroes to the screen — even at the same time, or in the same movie. That will be the case in The Flash, where the super-speedster (Ezra Miller) will encounter the Batman of his world (Ben Affleck) and a Dark Knight from another dimension (Michael Keaton). Yet another Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) will exist on a new Earth outside of the DC Extended Universe in the rebooted The Batman, which is separate still from Arthur Fleck's (Joaquin Phoenix) reality in the standalone Joker.
"I don't think anyone else has ever attempted this," Hamada told The New York Times. "But audiences are sophisticated enough to understand it. If we make good movies, they will go with it."
The DCEU — home to such superheroes as Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman and Jason Momoa's Aquaman — has already crossed over with the Arrowverse, home to television superheroes like Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) and Supergirl (Melissa Benoist). During TV's ambitious Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, Miller's big-screen Flash crossed paths with the Arrowverse Flash (Grant Gustin) to tease things to come.
"This really opens the door for us to do more crossovers, to really establish this idea that there can be a Flash on TV and a Flash in the movies," Hamada said during the virtual DC FanDome event over the summer. "You don't have to pick one or the other, you can love both. On one Earth, you have Gal and Jason and Ezra as this Justice League, and you can continue telling these stories. While on another Earth, you can have a more grounded, real, Year Two Batman [in The Batman]."
The move allows filmmakers like Matt Reeves the freedom to operate outside of a pre-existing continuity in The Batman, and filmmakers like Todd Phillips the opportunity to tell standalone stories like an R-rated villain origin in Joker. And Zack Snyder's Justice League, the filmmaker's long-awaited Snyder Cut, will exist "slightly elsewhere" in the ever-expanding multiverse.
"We're trying to keep it as simple as that, like there is that one Earth that exists in Justice League, and then the beginnings of another earth that is happening in its early stages of [The Batman]," Hamada said in August. "And then, obviously, there are outliers like Joker, which doesn't exist in either earth, but that's okay, it's all part of the multiverse. Matt Reeves can continue to build out his Gotham, and he's got great plans on how to build it out and build it out in a way that's innovative."