The only thing better than Batman is Batmen, something that the producers of the upcoming film The Flash know all too well. That’s why they’ve already secured the services of Michael Keaton, who will reprise his role as the Caped Crusader for the first time since 1992’s Batman Returns.
And yesterday, news broke that Ben Affleck will don the cowl again for The Flash, just 18 months after he retired from the role on national television, much to the delight of the #Batfleck hive. Alongside the news that Affleck would be returning to the role he cast aside was the detail that his return wasn’t without conditions — he requested changes to the script that were implemented before he signed on — but it’s still surprising to (almost) everyone that he’s returning to the role.
The Flash will draw heavily from Flashpoint, a 2011 comic book series that takes place in an altered DC Universe. Keaton and Affleck can both be Batman because in the film they will exist in different dimensions. It’s all very Into the Spider-Verse.
But Affleck’s involvement was crucial, as he is “the original Batman” to Barry Allen a.k.a. The Flash, since the two characters appeared in Zack Snyder’s previous DC films together. But it wasn’t just story considerations that made securing Affleck a priority. Director Andy Muschietti, who also helmed It and It Chapter Two, praised Affleck’s previous performances in an interview.
“His Batman has a dichotomy that is very strong, which is his masculinity—because of the way he looks, and the imposing figure that he has, and his jawline — but he’s also very vulnerable,” he said. “He knows how to deliver from the inside out, that vulnerability. He just needs a story that allows him to bring that contrast, that balance.”
“He’s a very substantial part of the emotional impact of the movie. The interaction and relationship between Barry and Affleck’s Wayne will bring an emotional level that we haven’t seen before,” the director added. “It’s Barry’s movie, it’s Barry’s story, but their characters are more related than we think. They both lost their mothers to murder, and that’s one of the emotional vessels of the movie. That’s where the Affleck Batman kicks in.”
And don’t look now, but there are rumors that Val Kilmer is in talks to play yet another Batman in the film.
In other words, Christian Bale and George Clooney should be probably expecting a call if they haven’t already received one already.
The Flash is due for a theatrical release on June 2, 2022.