The future of the DC Films world has shifted radically in recent months, from the confirmation of Justice League's "Snyder Cut" being released on HBO Max, to the filming of projects like The Suicide Squad and The Batman, to early announcements surrounding future blockbusters like Black Adam. On Thursday, fans got an unexpected announcement with regards to the upcoming The Flash movie, with news that both Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton will be reprising their roles as Bruce Wayne/Batman in the upcoming movie. Affleck's return is particularly interesting, as he has yet to play the character since Justice League, and he claimed in February of 2019 that he was definitely done with the role. But according to The Flash director Andy Muschietti, Affleck was definitely was open to returning this time around, and his role in the first movie will be "substantial" and emotional.
“He’s a very substantial part of the emotional impact of the movie," Muschietti explained to Vanity Fair. "The interaction and relationship between Barry and Affleck’s Wayne will bring an emotional level that we haven’t seen before. It’s Barry’s movie, it’s Barry’s story, but their characters are more related than we think. They both lost their mothers to murder, and that’s one of the emotional vessels of the movie. That’s where the Affleck Batman kicks in.”
That emotional resonance between both Barry and Bruce Wayne is set to have an interesting impact on the universe-hopping adventure that Barry goes on, with Affleck's Batman essentially being “the original Batman" for Barry and the audience to have a frame of reference on, before characters like Keaton enter the fray.
“He’s the baseline. He’s part of that unaltered state before we jump into Barry’s adventure,” Muschietti revealed. “There's a familiarity there.”
While Affleck's Batman has divided the Internet almost from the first moment he debuted, "Batfleck" has developed a pretty passionate following of fans, many of whom are drawn to that particular interpretation of the character. According to Muschietti, that interpretation brings a unique vulnerability to the plot of The Flash.
“His Batman has a dichotomy that is very strong which is his masculinity—because of the way he looks, and the imposing figure that he has, and his jawline —but he’s also very vulnerable,” Muschietti added. “He knows how to deliver from the inside out, that vulnerability. He just needs a story that allows him to bring that contrast, that balance.”
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