by Drew Kiess
In 1992, Tim Burton’ts Batman Returns hit theaters. It may have upset parent groups and McDonald’s who hoped the superhero film would be more family and Happy Meal friendly, but it has become something of a classic since. It is also the last time we saw Michael Keaton as Batman. Keaton would exit the role as Warner Brothers would move on from Burton’s world for a lighter take with the late Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever, and Val Kilmer would take over the role in a less than memorable performance.
Kilmer would only star in the one film before being replaced by George Clooney to disastrous effects in Batman and Robin, followed by Christian Bale in the beloved Batman trilogy from Christopher Nolan. The character would be rebooted again by Zack Snyder in Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, and the upcoming Zack Snyder’s Justice League next year. Robert Pattinson is also preparing to resume filming on Matt Reeves’ film currently titled The Batman, which appears set to be more of a Black Label film like Joker that won’t influence the main film continuity, also set for release next year. The fact that we are getting two Batman movies next year is due to Affleck’s struggles during the filming of Justice League– an infamously troubled production following the departure of director Zack Snyder due to a family tragedy which was almost entirely reworked and reshot by Joss Whedon mere months before release. That experience during a time when the actor was dealing with a host f his own personal demons, led Affleck to drop out of Reeves’ film, which then evolved into being something entirely different from the already established DCEU. While Affleck will get to have his original performance seen for the first time next year, his time as Bruce Wayne on the bigscreen is over.
With a continuity in crisis, DC and Warner Brothers, now under the steady leadership of Walter Hamada, are taking a page out of a comic book editor’s playbook- reset the timeline, keep what works and discard the rest. Enter Flashpoint. The 2022 film, directed by It director Andy Muschietti, and seemingly starring Ezra Miller as Barry Allen/The Flash, will introduced the concept of the multiverse to the DC films. This concept is not new to fans of DC, and was also explored to great success in Sony/Marvel’s Into the Spiderverse. In a world where there are beloved movies, serials, and television shows in different continuities spanning nearly 80 years, this is an amazing way of officially saying that everything matters.
To prove that point, Flashpoint is bringing back Michael Keaton. Reports are even suggesting that Keaton will not only appear in Flashpoint as a touchstone to a previous movie universe, but will somehow be included into the DCEU going forward as the new Bruce Wayne, effectively replacing the void left behind by Ben Affleck.
This is all exciting news, and as a Batman nerd, I immediately begin thinking about seeing and older Bruce Wayne kicking thugs around. After some rumblings that Keaton would only be playing old man Wayne, The Hollywood Reporter seemingly put that to rest by confirming that the plan is for him to indeed don a batsuit. The question remains, however, what will that suit look like? To celebrate this momentous Batman news, here’s five suits that I think would make sense for the return of Keaton’s Batman:
5. A version of Batman Beyond
With rumors of the potential for a Batman Beyond-like film on the horizon, be it with Terry McGinnis or Barbara Gordon as the mentee, an homage to Bruce’s suit in Batman Beyond would make sense. It could be as simple as the black and red suit, or it could be his later armored suit.
4. Kingdom Come
In the classic novel Kingdom Come, an aged Dark Knight dons a suit of armor that allows him to move with his previous grace and power. A take on this would look great standing next to Ezra Miller’s Flash suit.
3. Arkham Knight suit
Sticking with the mechanical suit theme, the suit from Arkham Knight self-assembled and could believably allow Batman to move in ways that his body would no longer be accustomed to moving.
2. The Hellbat
This is obviously wishful thinking, but the Hellbat as seen in Scott Snyder’s Court of Owls would be highly welcomed by this fan.
1. The 89 suit
Honestly, this is the one I want most of all. Yes, it’s a dated look, but it would be incredible to see again. Just make the damn neck move.