‘Batman’ (1989) “Direct Sequel” Will Recast Michael Keaton’s Dark Knight

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Michael Keaton's Batman without his cowl in 'Batman Returns' (1992)

Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

Michael Keaton’s Dark Knight will be recast in an upcoming sequel to Batman (1989).

After Michael Keaton firmly established an exciting new portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman in Tim Burton’s take on the Gotham vigilante in the quasi-gothic Batman (1989) and its sequel Batman Returns (1992), following Adam West’s camp-fueled Caped Crusader of the ’60s, no one ever imagined another actor taking up the mantle on the silver screen again.

Sadly, Keaton’s tenure didn’t go beyond than those two “Burton-Verse” flicks (although he did get a recent cameo in The Flash). Just three years after his second outing, he was replaced by Val Kilmer in Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever (1995). Schumacher returned for another movie, but Kilmer didn’t. He was succeeded by the world’s then-most famous bachelor (no, not Bruce Wayne) — George Clooney.

Michael Keaton firing his grapple-hook in 'Batman' (1989)
Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

Related: Upcoming ‘Batman’ (1989) Sequel: Every Returning Character Explained

But are Batman Forever and Batman & Robin (1997) even sequels to the Burton movies? According to last year’s Multiverse DC Universe (DCU) flick The Flash (2023), they are and they aren’t, so the jury’s still out. Either way, Clooney was not the last — far from it.

Speaking strictly to the silver screen, he would be followed by three more actors.

Batman (Robert Pattinson) on a bridge in 'The Batman'
Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

Related: Batman: Every Returning Version of the Dark Knight Explained

Christian Bale (The Dark Knight trilogy), Ben Affleck (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), and Robert Pattinson (The Batman) have all contributed to turning Bruce Wayne/Batman into a sort of James Bond/007-like figure in that there are now several iterations.

So, it’s fair to say that anyone can slip into the iconic cape and cowl (within reason, of course). But what if someone else wore Keaton’s? Well, that’s exactly what’s going to happen in an upcoming “direct sequel” to Tim Burton’s 1989 film, and it will see the return of several characters from both films.

Michael Keaton standing in front of the Bat-signal in 'Batman Returns'
Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

Related: Michael Keaton’s Batman History Explained as Official “Burton-Verse” Sequel Looms

Star Wars author John Jackson Miller is currently penning a brand-new novel titled “Batman: Resurrection” (2024) with Penguin Random House. Described as a “direct sequel” to Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) — it takes place between the 1989 film and Batman Returnsit will see the return of characters from both films, including Alfred Pennyworth, Max Shreck, Vicki Vale, Selina Kyle, and, of course, Bruce Wayne/Batman.

Penguin Random House’s official description for “Batman: Resurrection” reveals that it will revolve around the aftermath of The Joker’s death, adding, “[But] even after death, the Clown Prince of Crime’s imprint can be seen in more than just the pavement.”

It will also find Bruce Wayne wondering “whether there may someday be a future beyond skulking the city’s rooftops or the cavernous halls of his stately manor alongside the ever-dutiful Alfred Pennyworth,” but that his “obsession” with protecting Gotham City “has already driven a wedge between him and Vicki Vale.”

Michael Keaton's Batman in "Batman '89" Comics
Credit: DC Comics

As well as being available in print (hardcover), the book will also be available in audiobook format, which means that all the returning characters from Tim Burton’s two Batman films — Bruce Wayne/Batman included — will be recast.

It’s hard to imagine anyone else taking over from Keaton within the same iteration, but it looks like the Beetlejuice actor won’t be saying those immortal words, “I’m Batman,” on the audiobook version of “Batman: Resurrection.”

However, there are currently no details on who will be voicing any of the characters. Either way, we’re sure fans will “go nuts” for this new addition to the Burton-Verse.

Other Upcoming Batman Projects

Another Batman sequel, the virtual reality game “Batman: Arkham Shadow” (2024), is heading to Meta Quest 3 later this year. Meanwhile, JJ Abrams and Matt Reeves are executive-producing a brand-new 2D-animated series titled Batman: Caped Crusader (2024), which is set in the 1940s.

On the big screen, Robert Pattinson will return in The Batman Part II (2026), the highly-anticipated sequel to Matt Reeves’ The Batman, and the upcoming DC Universe (DCU) reboot The Brave and the Bold (TBA) will see a new star suit up as the Bat of Gotham.

“Batman: Resurrection” will be released on October 15, 2024. For more information, visit Penguin Random House’s official page.

Will you be listening to the “Batman: Resurrection” audiobook without Michael Keaton’s voice? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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