When it comes to the comic book movie industry, Michael Keaton returning as Batman is as big of a piece of bombshell news as you’ll find.
Not only is it a piece of genius stunt casting — Keaton, now 68-years-old, family starred as the Caped Crusader in the iconic duo of Tim Burton-helmed films three decades ago — but it’s also a revolutionary development for the comic book movie industry as a whole, as it marks a clear shift towards embracing the concept of the multiverse.
The multiverse is a pillar of comic book storytelling, as it embraces the idea of multiple versions of characters existing across various universes, thus allowing for more varied and creative storytelling. Don’t like this version of Batman, don’t worry, we’ve got another one over here.
While multiverse storytelling has yet to break its way into mainstream live-action comic book movies, the concept was heavily featured in the 2018 Academy Award-winning hit Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. The concept will also be debuting in the MCU in the next few years, most likely through WandaVision and Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness.
What makes this all the more awesome is that when Keaton’s Batman does make his return, reports indicate he will, in fact, be gearing up in a Batsuit. However, further rumors seem to indicate it may not be the Batsuit we expect.
According to a reliable source, Keaton’s Batsuit in The Flash will be heavily inspired by Batman’s look in the seminal Kingdom Come mini-series. I don’t know if we’ll also see Bruce Wayne’s exoskeleton like we did when Kevon Conroy appeared in Crisis on Infinite Earths, but when we see him suited up as Batman the suit will be similar to the armored one we saw in Alex Ross’s Kingdom Come art.
Drawing inspiration from Kingdom Come for his suit could also give us a clue of what the DCEU could look like following the soft-reboot in The Flash that brings the Burtonverse Batman into the same universe as the other heroes. In Kingdom Come, an aging Batman forms and leads a team of younger heroes to protect the world. [via DCEU Mythic]
Given that reports indicate Keaton’s Batman will be operating in a Nick Fury-esque mentor role, the rumors of the Kingdom Come suit being used would fall in line with that sort of approach to the Dark Knight.
Eric is a New York City-based writer who still isn’t quite sure how he’s allowed to have this much fun for a living and will tell anyone who listens that Gotham City is canonically in New Jersey. Follow him on Twitter @eric_ital for movie and soccer takes or contact him firstname.lastname@example.org