The Flash Ignores Batman Forever and Batman & Robin With Michael Keaton's Return

When Michael Keaton reprises his Batman role as a 30-years-older Dark Knight in The Flash, the DCEU-set movie will ignore the two '90s franchise installments that did not star Keaton as the caped crusader: 1995's Batman Forever and 1997's Batman & Robin. Both Joel Schumacher-directed sequels shared continuity with Tim Burton's Batman and its 1992 follow-up, Batman Returns, but Keaton declined to return to the role and was replaced by Val Kilmer in Forever. Another recast would put George Clooney into the Bat-cowl in what would be the franchise's final installment before being rebooted with Christopher Nolan's more serious Batman Begins in 2005.

Keaton will portray the same Bruce Wayne from the Burton films and The Flash will "disregard" the latter two entries of the '90s Batman franchise, according to a recent report from The Wrap. The 68-year-old actor will step into the Batsuit for the first time since 1992, when his costumed crime-fighter battled Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) and the Penguin (Danny DeVito).

Per The Hollywood Reporter, this Batman is being positioned for a mentor role and will appear across multiple movies, including Batgirl. That role — traditionally filled by Barbara Gordon — has not yet been cast in the DC Extended Universe, home to Ezra Miller's Flash and previously Ben Affleck's Batman.

The Flash was once rumored to include a different Batman — the Flashpoint Batman — but the alternate reality Thomas Wayne does not appear in the most recent version of Flash scripted by Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey scribe Christina Hodson.

In the DCEU, the Wayne patriarch was portrayed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who appeared in a brief flashback sequence depicting the traumatizing murder of the Waynes in Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Keaton stepped away from Batman with Burton, who departed the franchise after push back over the darker tone of Batman Returns. For his replacement, Burton tapped Schumacher, who in a 2015 interview said Keaton "was very dissatisfied with me as director. I think he didn't like the way it was going."

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The famously campier Batman Forever pit Kilmer's Batman and new partner Robin (Chris O'Donnell) against Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones) and the Riddler (Jim Carrey). The dynamic duo returned, this time with rookie superhero Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone), in Batman & Robin, where Gotham City was menaced by a trio of villains: Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger), Poison Ivy (Uma Therman) and Bane (Robert Swenson).

The Flash will open in theaters June 3, 2022.