[RUMOR] Michael Keaton’s Possible Return to Batman

Artist depiction of Micheal Keaton’s Batman 30 years later

“Batman Returns”?

As stated in a previous TCN article, Michael Keaton has been in talks to take up the cape and cowl again. Since these early talks that were reported on in June, more details have emerged from sources close to WB regarding a possible storyline, suit and even Catwoman!

On the Lightcast podcast, TCN Editor-In-Chief Taylor Murphy gave details he has come across regarding Michael Keaton’s possible return.

START AT 4:54 MARK

Notable details revealed in the clip above mention Keaton’s return would be a continuation of the Batman role he originated in 1989. This would run concurrently with the Robert Pattinson depiction of the character in Matt ReevesThe Batman (2021) and also would be independent of the Ben Affleck appearance as the caped crusader in the upcoming Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021). Bringing back this Keaton depiction of the role in its own separate continuity and universe seems to follow the template set by the CW’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover event that aired this past December. Among the many callbacks and Easter eggs in this event, a certain Earth 89 showed up in a montage, possibly hinting to the setting of upcoming Keaton-led projects. The clip below includes actor Robert Wuhl reprising his character Alexander Knox from 1989’s Batman.

Interestingly the specific Bat-signal in the sky is eerily similar to the logo of the much lauded Batman Beyond.

This suggests Keaton’s return as Batman would have him shift to a mentor role in a possible Batman Beyond project. Batgirl was brought up as the possible apprentice at one time, but the most recent talks seem to center around the fan-favorite Terry McGinnis as Bruce Wayne’s apprentice.

Talks of Keaton’s potential contract were said to be for multiple projects, including a cameo in the Andres’ Muschiettis The Flash and follow-ups in their own branch of the DC Multiverse. The WB source did state that 2023 would be the aim for a possible Batman Beyond film. There is no script or treatment yet for this project, as it is in the pitch phase at the moment.

Sources reportedly pointed to talks of this Batman Beyond direction as early as 2017, prior to the company being purchased by AT&T. Since its acquisition, WB has apparently been able to resume these talks, yet it is unclear if these talks still include the appearance of Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman, as it was a part of the initial pitch of the project in 2017. Notably, Pfeiffer posted a video in 2019 showing off the iconic Catwoman whip.

The Suit

How we all remember the cool, iconic suit from the 1989 Batman!

With the potential story of that Batman continuing thirty years later, what about the suit? Early talks of this project in 2017 had the suit revolving around another rendition of The Dark Knight Returns mech suit. With the recent depiction of this very suit in 2016’s Batman V Superman, we were glad to find out that more recent talks of this suit centers more towards Kingdom Come era Batman mech suit.

Batman as shown in ‘Kingdom Come’ story 1996

Kingdom Come‘s take on Batman is one of the most famous versions of an older Bruce Wayne in all of comics’ history since Frank Miller‘s Dark Knight Returns (1986). Beaten in body but not in spirit, time may have slowed this Kingdom Come Batman down, but it hasn’t dulled his wits. That era’s Batman relied on more technology than previously shown before and would be a welcome addition to the Batman movie mythos.

Talks Not Yet Final

The latest update from WB sources state a positive trend in the talks with Keaton. Future appearances by Keaton would be a more supportive role, mentoring like in the Batman Beyond, with a new apprentice. At the time of this article, sources say talks were 80 percent done and Keaton absolutely wants former 1989 and 1992 Batman film director, Tim Burton, to be involved in the deal. Whether this is in a director or producer role is unknown, but he would have certain executive producer credits regardless if WB chooses to use his Keaton/Batman character due to licensing rules. It’s pure speculation at the moment, so we shouldn’t expect an announcement soon, though the upcoming DC FanDome would be an appropriate time.

“It’s a wonderful time to be a DC fan” is the mantra repeated here at TCN along with DC fans worldwide. The return of Michael Keaton to the Batman role would be truly priceless to fans who closely followed this story in the 90’s, and to continue this with Batman Beyond stories would be equally special to the generations that followed.

Most details from the WB sources are touched on in the video posted below, by FilmSpeak on Youtube.

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