Michael Keaton said that his return as Bruce Wayne/Batman in the upcoming The Flash helped him understand Batman on a whole new level. Keaton first donned the Caped Crusader’s costume for Tim Burton’s Batman (1989), reprising the role in 1992’s Batman Returns. His casting drew some controversy at the time, as he was seen as primarily a comedic actor. Ultimately, however, Keaton drew praise for his performance of the tormented Bruce Wayne, to the extent that over 20 years later, he will reprise his role in The Flash.
Directed by Andy Muschietti, 2022’s The Flash sees Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen travel back in time to prevent his mother’s murder, which leads to changes in his timeline. Drawing on the Flashpoint storyline from the comics, the film will introduce different incarnations of well-known superheroes. Alongside Keaton, Ben Affleck will return as Batman, and Sasha Calle joins the DCEU as Supergirl. As with the MCU did with Loki, DCEU may set up its own version of the multiverse, allowing heroes and villains past and present to return.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter about reprising one of his most famous roles, Keaton said that returning the character in The Flash helped him understand Batman much more. The 69-year-old described his understanding of the character as on a “whole other level.” Keaton also noted how his respect for the character had increased with the realization that the role had “iconic” and a “giant thing, culturally.” Read the full quote below:
“What’s really interesting is how much more I got [Batman] when I went back and did him. I get this on a whole other level now. I totally respect it. I respect what people are trying to make. I never looked at it like, ‘Oh, this is just a silly thing.’ It was not a silly thing when I did Batman. But it has become a giant thing, culturally. It’s iconic. So I have even more respect for it because what do I know? This is a big deal in the world to people. You’ve got to honor that and be respectful of that. Even I go, ‘Jesus, this is huge.’”
Keaton is not the first superhero to reprise his role after time away. In 2019’s Arrowverse crossover, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Brandon Routh reprised his role as Superman, 14 years after donning the red cape in 2006’s Superman Returns. Kevin Conroy also appeared as an aged Bruce Wayne in live-action for the first time. Many rumors are swirling around the MCU’s Spider-Man: No Way Home about the return of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield as multiverse incarnations of the web-slinger. At the same time, Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock is confirmed 17 years after Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2.
While it remains unclear how big of a role Keaton will have in The Flash, his feelings of increased respect for and understanding of the character might bode well for a return beyond The Flash. Keaton has also spoken about the emotion he felt when shooting his Batman’s reintroduction in The Flash. While Batman may have become a “big deal,” in Keaton’s words, compared to when he originally donned the cowl, Muschietti’s film will pay homage to Burton’s Batman beyond bringing back Keaton. Burton and Keaton’s batmobile and Batcave will also return in The Flash. Keaton will next be seen in the action thriller The Protégé before reprising his role as Adrian Toomes/Vulture in the MCU’s Morbius.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter