Michael Keaton is Not Becoming the Default DCEU Batman

Following a day of speculation, a clarification has made clear Michael Keaton is only expected to return as Batman for one film.

Batman Michael Keaton
Photo: Warner Bros.

Just who is under the Batman’s mask? It’s a question that’s bedeviled many a Gotham City villain, and for a short time it taxed even the most loyal DCEU fans this week, with a recent remark on a New York Times report appearing to suggest Michael Keaton’s reprise of the Dark Knight in The Flash could be more than a one-off. These concerns turned out to be overhyped.

Times reporter Brooks Barnes unintentionally generated the social media chatter when he elaborated this weekend on a profile piece he filed last month. In the earlier report, DC Films head Walter Hamada revealed DC is embracing a full-throated vision of the multiverse, with Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman cited as occupying what Hamada described as “Earth 1,” and Robert Pattinson’s upcoming interpretation of Bruce Wayne in Matt Reeves’ The Batman existing in “Earth 2.” Presumably this means “Earth 1” is the DCEU since Gadot previously starred opposite Ben Affleck as Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and Justice League (2017)—and all of which excludes Michael Keaton’s iconic performance as the Caped Crusader in Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992).

However, in a recent tweet, Barnes was asked to clarify what he meant in his feature by writing, “Warner Bros. will have two different film sagas involving Batman – played by two different actors – running at the same time.” Was he referring to Keaton appearing as the other Batman, separate from Pattinson’s “Earth 2” Dark Knight?

“Keaton,” was Barnes’ one-word reply.

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Fans immediately took this to imply Keaton could become the permanent Batman of the DCEU going forward past The Flash. Initially, we considered it a possibility*, but in an earlier version of this story, we also said to take that vague idea with a grain of salt, noting it was likely Barnes was referring only to Keaton’s appearance as Batman in The Flash. We also reached out to Barnes to request clarification. Barnes eventually quelled fan speculation late Monday evening when he Tweeted out a blanket reply to all inquiries and what he dubbed “this Michael Keaton craziness.”

“I was referring to the *one film* that Keaton has been announced as being in,” Barnes wrote, “not a set of his own Batman films. If I had info on him beyond ‘The Flash,’ I would have obviously put it in my article.”

So it would seem speculation of Keaton’s re-return to Batman movies were greatly overstated. Those desperate to keep DCEU continuity, such as it is, in tact can rest easy.

*This article was updated to reflect Barnes’ latest statement regarding the online chatter.