The Flash: Michael Keaton's Return Will Settle Burton's Batman Canon Controversy

Michael Keaton's return as Batman in The Flash will provide definitive answers to a classic Burton Batman mystery that's been around since Batman Forever.

Michael Keaton's Batman is back in The Flash, a movie that could settle all of Tim Burton's arguments about the Batman canon. While plans for the future of the DC Universe have changed several times, The Flash remains one of the most important DC releases in years, as it's not only a Barry Allen story, but a multiverse adventure as well. The Flash of the DCEU will enter the world of Tim Burton's Batman in some way, and classic elements such as Keaton's Batcave and Batmobile have been confirmed to appear in The Flash.

How The Flash will meet Keaton's Batman, and what role that version of Batman the Dark Knight will play in Barry's story is hard to say, but The Flash is already a celebration of Keaton and Burton's Batman legacy. For example, the footage of Keaton's Batman in the Batcave in The Flash's DC FanDome trailer captures the aesthetics of Batman (1989) and Batman Returns. However, The Flash isn't the first time Keaton's Batman story has continued beyond Batman Returns.

There Are 3 Versions Of Keaton’s Batman After Batman Returns

There are three different answers to the question "What happened to Michael Keaton's Batman after Batman Returns". The first was supposed to be Tim Burton's Batman 3, and the Batman Returns sequel never happened. Burton's Batman 3 It will reportedly be called a Batman sequel, and will see Keaton's Batman face off against The Riddler, Two-Face, and Catwoman. The second answer comes from Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, long considered sequels to Batman Returns. Finally, the Batman '89 comics offer an alternate version of what happened to Keaton's Batman after Batman Returns by revisiting some of Burton's ideas.

Therefore, whether Batman Returns has a sequel comes down to semantics. Revisiting Michael Keaton's live-action Batman for the first time since Batman Returns, The Flash will provide more solid answers to classic questions about Tim Burton's Batman timeline. With Keaton now reprising his role as Batman, something he didn't do in Batman Forever, it will be difficult for Schumacher's Batman movie to continue as a Batman Returns sequel. Likewise, whether Michael Keaton's Batman had a Robin named Drake Winston after Batman Returns will answer whether the Batman '89 comics are considered "Burton Batman canon."

Will Michael Keaton’s Batman Return After The Flash?

Initially, Michael Keaton's return to Batman in The Flash appeared to be a long-term DCEU storyline. Michael Keaton could have been Batman in Batgirl Movies, after all. Additionally, J.K. Simmons, who was Ben Affleck's Gordon as Batman in Justice League, will also play Batgirl, suggesting Keaton will replace Affleck as DCEU Batman. A Batman Beyond movie starring Michael Keaton is also reportedly in development (via The Hot Mic Podcast). However, with Batgirl's cancellation and DC Studios seemingly rebooting the DC Universe, Michael Keaton's Batman return may now be a one-off thing.

Oddly enough, if Michael Keaton's Batman was added to the main DCEU timeline as Batgirl suggested, there would be four different versions of Tim Burton's Batman universe. Keaton's role as the DCEU's original Batman would retroactively change his entire movie story, as the character now exists in a world where Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Justice League exist. While this would make the DCEU timeline even more confusing, it would be interesting to see Michael Keaton interact with other DC superheroes. Whether Michael Keaton's Batman will still have a place in future DC movies after The Flash remains to be seen.

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