DC Films’ long-gestating Flash movie is finally in production after years in development. While it’ll be nice to see the speedster headline his own blockbuster for the very first time, there’s no doubt the picture’s biggest draw is the return of Michael Keaton as an older, wiser Batman poised to become a mentor to young Barry Allen.
Ever since the first reports of Keaton’s Gotham comeback dropped last June, fans have formed theories about what the actor’s return to the cape and cowl might entail as well as which Batman he’s playing. The answer might seem obvious but in a DC multiverse full of infinite earths and infinite versions of Batman, there’s always the possibility that Keaton could be playing an alternate version of the Bruce Wayne he first portrayed in the 1989 Tim Burton blockbuster.
But new photos taken from the set of The Flash seem to set the record straight: Barry Allen will find Keaton’s Bruce Wayne in a Gotham City very like the one in Batman ’89 as evidenced by the original big-screen Wayne Manor. Indeed, Warner Bros. has been spotted outside Burghley House, a 16th-century English country house in Stamford, England, which looks very similar to Keaton’s Wayne Manor in his first outing as the Bat. (The first film used Knebworth House in Hertfordshire as the exterior of the manor.)
We know little about Keaton’s return to the cape and cowl beyond that at the moment. In fact, until just a few weeks ago, the actor’s involvement in the movie was still very much in the air. In an interview with Deadline back in March, Keaton cast doubt that his return was a certainty, suggesting that he would have to see how the Covid-19 situation evolved in the UK before committing to the production.
“To be honest with you, you know what worries me more than anything about all this stuff? It’s COVID,” Keaton told Deadline. “I’m more concerned. I keep my eye more on the COVID situation in the UK than anything. That will determine everything, and so that’s why I’m living outside the city here on 17 acres, staying away from everybody, because the COVID thing has got me really concerned. So, that’s my first thing about all projects. I look at it and go, is this thing going to kill me, literally? And you know, if it doesn’t, then we talk.”
But in April, Keaton’s talent agency, ICM Partners, confirmed to The Wrap that the actor has signed on for the film, which will also see the return of Ben Affleck as the DCEU version of the Dark Knight as well as Ezra Miller as the Flash. The film is said to be based on the iconic DC storyline Flashpoint, which sees Barry go back in time to save his mother, completely altering the timeline with disastrous results. Presumably, it’ll be up to an older Bruce to help Barry fix the timeline.
The Flash hits theaters on Nov. 4, 2022.