The news that Michael Keaton is in talks to return as Bruce Wayne/Batman in The Flash film sent shockwaves throughout the fandom. Undoubtedly, Keaton is one of the most beloved actors to portray the Caped Crusader, and his appearance would symbolise that the DCEU is made up of Multiverses where everything is canon.
While there is still debate about how large or small Keaton’s role will be in the DCEU, there has been speculation that he’d serve a Nick Fury-type of role where he’d mentor the younger heroes. Many have speculated that he could play a major role in the upcoming Batgirl film, which is being written by Christina Hodson, who also penned The Flash and Birds of Prey.
The potential for a new Batgirl origin is exciting, but a live-action Batman Beyond movie might be the one that truly hits the spot. For years, the fans have dreamt of seeing Keaton return as Old Man Bruce to mentor a young Terry McGinnis in a futuristic Neo Gotham. When Keaton joined the MCU as Adrian Toomes/Vulture, it seemed like that dream would never materialise.
Now, with active talks between Keaton and Warner Bros., the ultimate fan-wish fulfilment is back on the table. Quite frankly, it would be stupid for the studio to not even have discussed Batman Beyond with him yet. It’s the most logical progression of Keaton’s Batman character, and with the Multiverse in full flow, it wouldn’t mess with any other future plans or interconnectedness. In fact, it’s the perfect time to pull the trigger on the idea.
If Keaton does agree to Batman Beyond, then there’s just one other person missing: director Tim Burton. There’s no disputing that the two had a synergy that reinvigorated the Dark Knight for a new generation. While Warner Bros. robbed the audience of a third film with the pair, there’s an opportunity to right a wrong from 25 years ago.
Burton brought something new to the Caped Crusader’s mythology. Even today, his dark influence and imagination continue to shape how people see the tone of Gotham City. It’d be fascinating to see how he’d envision a futuristic version of the world he built in the late eighties.
While most studios tend to look forward and never back, Warner Bros. could be rewriting the rule book here. Fans have long accused the studio of not listening to what they want, but recent decisions and changes in leadership indicate that something has changed.
A Batman Beyond film that reunites Michael Keaton and Tim Burton wouldn’t just be nostalgia. It’d be the natural evolution of a concept that began three decades ago. If the DCEU truly embraces the Multiverse and its infinite possibilities, this could be a comeback to rival Michael Jordan’s in 1995.