The Flash (2023) will be racing into theaters this June, and it’s set to “reset” the entire DC Universe, giving DC Studios’ new co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran the opportunity to start over and bring in new actors to play the likes of Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman and Bruce Wayne/Batman, while retaining some elements from previous films in the series.
But the film will also serve as DC’s answer to Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), giving us more than one version of Batman, by bringing back both Michael Keaton’s and Ben Affleck’s versions of the iconic character. Surely the film won’t draw the line with Keaton and Affleck, though, so what other versions of Gotham’s caped crusader will make an appearance?
Here are three Batmen who could appear in The Flash, and three who definitely won’t…
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Our list might be off to a bit of a strange start, but hear us out. While it might seem like a silly idea to feature Batman (Will Arnett) from The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) in The Flash, there is one way the film could make it work.
Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) might have missed the opportunity to show the animated What If…? (2021) universe while Dr. Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is passing through multiple universes, but we still see one that’s animated.
Well, what if the DC Multiverse is no different? And as such, what if there’s a LEGO universe? The chances are it would probably feel far too comedic to feature Will Arnett’s LEGO Batman in the film, even in a brief cameo, but on the other hand, it could offer some light relief.
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Even decades on, fans still don’t really know whether director Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever (1995) and Batman and Robin (1997) are actually sequels to the first two films from director Tim Burton, Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992).
But while Schumacher’s films opt for a complete stylistic overhaul, going from quasi-gothic to quasi-futuristic (while also featuring two new Batman actors in Val Kilmer and George Clooney), Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Cough) and Commissioner Jim Gordon (Pat Hingle) are played by the same actors in all four films.
But either way, could George Clooney’s caped crusader from Batman and Robin show up in The Flash? Well, unfortunately the answer is no, as recently confirmed on Twitter by DC co-CEO James Gunn when responding to some fan speculation. Sorry, George.
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While we could easily repeat the same answer for Batman Forever‘s Val Kilmer as we have for George Clooney, this entry gives us an opportunity to delve deeper into whether or not Batman Forever and Batman and Robin are canon with Batman and Batman Returns.
As The Flash is set to “restore” Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman, finding him some 30 years older than when we last saw him, it’s possible that Joel Schumacher’s two films are indeed generally considered to take place in a different timeline to the Tim Burton films.
But seeing as the film will open the DC Multiverse, having Val Kilmer show up would still make sense. Unfortunately, though, the beloved actor continues to struggle with his health, which is why he only appears briefly as Tom “Iceman” Kazansky in last year’s Top Gun: Maverick (2022).
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Adam West sadly passed away in 2017, however, the legacy he left behind cannot be overstated. Best known, of course, for playing Bruce Wayne/Batman in both the ’60s show and the film of the same name, West will forever be synonymous with the caped crusader.
A Dark Knight he wasn’t, though, as his version of the Gotham crime-fighter was cheesy, campy, and huge fun. It’s very unlikely his Batman will make an appearance in The Flash, though, but where digital technology in film is concerned, never say never.
So, will West be digitally re-created in the film? Well, either way, his Batman continues to inspire even the darkest versions of the character, as can be seen in The Flash trailer, with one of Ben Affleck’s costumes sporting that iconic blue, purple, and yellow color pallet.
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While speculation that Christian Bale makes an appearance as Bruce Wayne/Batman in The Flash trailer has now been put to rest, much to the disappointment of many fans, it’s fair to say that the jury is still out on whether or not he has returned for the film.
When The Flash trailer premiered last week, many eagle-eyed viewers thought they spotted Bale’s Batman tearing through Gotham City on his motorcycle the Batpod. However, despite looking almost identical, it turned out to be Ben Affleck’s version of the caped crusader.
It’s possible, though, that these scenes were deliberately made to resemble something out of one of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight films. Is The Flash keeping some of its cards close to the chest where Batman is concerned? Let’s hope so.
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Robert Pattinson’s version of Bruce Wayne/Batman, as seen in last year’s The Batman (2022) from director Matt Reeves, is the most “current” version of the iconic character, and he’s set to return in the sequel to the critically-acclaimed box office hit.
But while fans will naturally expect to see Pattinson appear in The Flash, it has already been confirmed that this simply won’t happen. In announcing the new DC Universe last month, James Gunn labelled The Batman as being part of DC’s Elseworlds, alongside Joker (2019).
Keeping Pattinson’s Batman quite literally out of the picture does make sense, though, largely because it would interfere with The Batman timeline before the first sequel is even released, and it’s obvious that this timeline has nothing to do with “Gods and Monsters” — the first chapter in the new DC continuity.
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Check out the official trailer for The Flash below:
The Flash releases in theaters on June 16. As per Wikipedia, here’s the synopsis for the film:
Barry Allen/The Flash travels back in time to prevent his mother’s murder, which traps him in an alternate reality without metahumans. He enlists the help of Batman and the Kryptonian castaway Supergirl from alternate realities in order to save this world from the restored General Zod and return to his universe.
The Flash stars Ezra Miller (Barry Allen/The Flash), Sasha Calle (Kara Zor-El/Supergirl), Michael Shannon (General Zod), Ron Livingston (Henry Allen), Michael Keaton (Bruce Wayne/Batman), and Ben Affleck (Bruce Wayne/Batman).
The Flash releases in theaters on June 16.
Which versions of Batman would you like to see return in The Flash? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!