Well, anything is possible in the DCEU now. Whether it’s Zack Snyder finally getting to complete his legendary (or infamous) “Snyder Cut” of Justice League, or Ezra Miller showing up in full Flash costume for a cameo in TV’s Crisis on Infinite Earths, it seems that the walls that divide the various divisions of DC Entertainment are less stable than they were in the past. But nothing is perhaps more momentous than Ben Affleck returning to Batman, a role which he played in two movies and then left before he could appear in a solo film.
Affleck will return to the dual role of Batman and Bruce Wayne for the upcoming The Flash movie, directed by Andy Muschietti. That film has long been expected to be loosely based on the Flashpoint story by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert, which tells of how Barry Allen inadvertently enters an alternate reality after trying to change the past to prevent the murder of his mother. In the comics, he meets a different version of Batman, but for the film, that will be versions plural, with Affleck sharing screentime with Michael Keaton as a different, older Dark Knight from yet another corner of the DC multiverse.
“[Affleck’s] 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 told Vanity Fair. “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.”
That vulnerability, of course, comes with the much explored trauma of Batman’s past.
“He’s a very substantial part of the emotional impact of the movie,” the director said. “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.”
Affleck had been scheduled to star in and direct a Batman solo movie of his own after Justice League, but eventually left the project. That movie has since evolved into The Batman, directed by Matt Reeves and starring Robert Pattinson as a younger version of the Caped Crusader. But as we continue to see, never say never, and Affleck’s return to the role will be welcomed by fans.
“Right now he’s in a place where he can actually enjoy being Batman,” Barbara Muschietti said. “It’s a pivotal role, but at the same time it’s a fun part.”
It’s worth noting that in the comics, the Bruce Wayne version of Batman only appears at the very end, for an emotional moment with Barry in the Batcave. It’s not clear how large Affleck’s role is in The Flash movie at this time.
The Flash movie opens on June 3, 2022.