The Flash’s trailer revealed an extended look at Michael Keaton’s Batman return, and it strongly suggested that Val Kilmer and George Clooney’s Batman is not the same as Keaton’s after all. After starring in Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1991), Keaton decided not to return for a third Batman film following Tim Burton’s exit from the franchise. Batman Forever recast the role with Val Kilmer, meaning that The Flash will be the first time Keaton plays Batman since Batman Returns.
While concepts like shared universes and continuity are essential to modern superhero franchises like the MCU and the DC Universe, those were not a priority back when Tim Burton didn’t return for Batman 3. Batman Forever was never an official reboot as it brought back Michael Gough’s Alfred and Pat Hingle’s Commissioner Gordon from the Burton movies, yet it had pretty much no connections to Michael Keaton’s Batman apart from those two returning actors. Now, The Flash is revisiting the Burton/Schumacher canon debate, as Barry Allen will somehow travel to or perhaps even create Keaton’s Batman timeline.
Keaton’s Batman Suits In The Flash May End The Burton/Schumacher Debate
The Flash’s Super Bowl spot revealed Michael Keaton’s Batman suits, and none of them were similar to anything Val Kilmer or George Clooney wore in their Batman films. Both Batman Forever and Batman & Robin introduced a few new Batman and Robin suits, yet none of those were referenced in Michael Keaton’s Batcave – at least in the shots from The Flash’s trailer and spot. If those seven Batman costumes are all that Keaton’s Batman used between Batman Returns and The Flash, then this version of Batman never experienced the events of Batman Forever. For the first time in decades, DC will have given an official answer regarding the Burton/Schumacher Batman canon.
Usually referred to as “Batman Anthology,” the four Batman movies released between 1989 and 1997 all work as standalone Batman adventures. Still, the fact that Alfred and Commissioner Gordon are the same in all of those films suggested that the studio wanted audiences to know that Batman Forever and Batman & Robin were continuations of Batman and Batman Returns. While there is nothing in either Batman Forever or Batman & Robin that absolutely contradicts the Burton Batman movies other than the recast roles, Michael Keaton’s return as Batman in The Flash allows DC to pick up the story from where Batman Returns left and bring some closure to that particular version.
Will Val Kilmer & George Clooney Appear In The Flash?
If Michael Keaton’s Batman is not the same as the one from Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, that means Val Kilmer and George Clooney’s Batman also exist somewhere in the DC multiverse. That said, neither Val Kilmer nor George Clooney has been cast in The Flash as far as the film has officially announced. The Flash confirmed some major DC returns, such as Michael Shannon’s Zod and Ben Affleck’s Batman, but nothing regarding a third returning Dark Knight actor. Still, If The Flash wants to give Batman his own Spider-Man: No Way Home moment, seeing other Batman actors would add a lot to the film’s multiverse experience.
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