Today has been a pretty monumental one for Batman fans, beginning with the first look at the marketing for Matt Reeves' upcoming The Batman movie, ahead of more surprises at this weekend's DC FanDome convention. If that wasn't enough, Vanity Fair also confirmed that Ben Affleck will be returning as Batman in the upcoming The Flash movie, reprising his role from Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League. But based on the report, Affleck's Batman won't be the only Caped Crusader fans can expect in the film. The Flash director Andy Muschietti confirmed something that fans have been speculating about for months -- that Michael Keaton will also be returning as Batman, reprising his role from Tim Burton's Batman and Batman Returns. Muschietti didn't say much about Keaton's role, but called his part in the film "substantial".
The possibility of Keaton returning as Batman first popped up in June, when reports indicated that he was "in talks" to reprise his role in The Flash. Fans quickly embraced the idea of Keaton reprising his role after nearly three decades away, especially as a sort of mentor figure to Ezra Miller's Barry Allen/The Flash. According to Muschietti, Keaton's appearance in the film actually has a surprising relationship to Affleck also returning for the role, as it will establish a sense of familiarity for both Barry and the audience with Affleck as "the original Batman".
"He's the baseline. He's part of that unaltered state before we jump into Barry's adventure," Muschietti explained. "There's a familiarity there."
The idea of Miller's Flash existing within a larger multiverse has already been played with, after he cameoed alongside Grant Gustin's Flash during The CW's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover earlier this year. According to Muschietti, the multiverse concept will only be further expanded on in The Flash movie.
"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. "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."
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