In a bit of a surprise announcement (although not entirely shocking), filmmaker Andy Muschietti told Vanity Fair that Ben Affleck would be reprising his role as Batman in the new DC Extended Universe stand-alone movie The Flash, which Muschietti (director of the IT films) will helm. Affleck will be joining Michael Keaton who, as previously announced, will be reprising his take on the Caped Crusader in the same movie.
The reason Affleck’s involvement isn’t completely shocking is because of the premise that is allowing Keaton to also return. The premise of The Flash movie, which will see Ezra Miller return as the red-costumed speedster he played in Justice League, involves a multiverse adventure adapted from the DC comics storyline “Flashpoint”. In it, Barry Allen (a.k.a. The Flash) travels to multiple parallel dimensions.
With that possibility confirmed, it didn’t seem too far a reach for Affleck to return as the Dark Knight he played in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League, (briefly in) Suicide Squad, and in director Zack Snyder’s upcoming Snyder Cut version of Justice League for HBO Max in 2021.
Among the dimensions that Barry Allen/The Flash will travel to is the Gotham City of Tim Burton‘s two films. There, Barry will find Keaton’s Bruce Wayne/Batman at a much older age. Meanwhile, Affleck’s Batman will appear in the existing DCEU timeline that Allen’s Flash also hails from.
While Muschietti didn’t delineate how much screen time Affleck’s Batman would have, he did say that the DCEU Batman would be crucial to “the emotional impact of the movie.”
Conversely, Muschietti confirmed that Keaton’s role will be more than a glorified cameo, saying that his part would be “substantial.”
Theoretically, the multiverse premise could also see Allen cross paths with the Batmans played by Christian Bale, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, and the upcoming Robert Pattinson, or even the Superman of Brandon Routh (who effectively was rebooting/extending the role originated by Christopher Reeve), but those possibilities seem much more unlikely. Not only would that require the story to likely cover too much territory, but it would also probably sideline its title character to a supporting role (something that the presence of Affleck and Keaton already threatens). Muschietti, however, emphasized that this will be “Barry’s movie, Barry’s story.”
The Flash (which still doesn’t have an official title) is scheduled to hit theaters in June of 2022.