Despite Matt Reeves going off to do his own interpretation of the Caped Crusader with next year's The Batman, it seems that The Flash will be hosting not just Michael Keaton's return as the Dark Knight, but in a stunning announcement will also see Ben Affleck returning in the role. And not just in a cameo, mind you. The film's director, Andy Muschietti (Who recently directed the two-part IT adaptation), has confirmed in an interview with Vanity Fair that Affleck will, like Keaton, have a key role in the film:
“He’s a very substantial part of the emotional impact of the movie. The interaction and relationship between Barry and Affleck’s Wayne will bring an emotional level that we haven’t seen before. It’s Barry’s movie, it’s Barry’s story, but their characters are more related than we think. They both lost their mothers to murder, and that’s one of the emotional vessels of the movie. That’s where the Affleck Batman kicks in.”
After initially being cast for the 2016 film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Affleck was set to direct, write, and star in the original version of The Batman before transitioning completely out of the role due to personal struggles and a difficult experience during production of 2017's Justice League. While Affleck was praised in BvS, it was felt the character had been given less to work with in Justice League, especially after Joss Whedon had trimmed the initial Snyder Cut down to a bareboned, studio-mandated 2 hour running time. However, Muschietti feels he has come up with a way to help Affleck truly shine in the role in a way he couldn't before:
“His Batman has a dichotomy that is very strong which is his masculinity – because of the way he looks, and the imposing figure that he has, and his jawline – but he’s also very vulnerable. He knows how to deliver from the inside out, that vulnerability. He just needs a story that allows him to bring that contrast, that balance.”
The Flash is said to be inspired by the “Flashpoint” storyline from the comics. In this now classic storyline, Barry goes back in time to save his mother from being murdered, but in doing so he greatly changes his current reality. Muschietti notes how the change allows for Affleck and Keaton to play the same character in two different versions of reality:
“This movie is a bit of a hinge in the sense that it presents a story that implies a unified universe where all the cinematic iterations that we’ve seen before are valid. It’s inclusive in the sense that it is saying all that you’ve seen exists, and everything that you will see exists, in the same unified multiverse.”
This all comes as a surprise given Affleck had earlier this year claimed he had no plans to return to the role, wishing Reeves and Pattinson the best of luck in their own new take on the character. Perhaps it was HBO Max's revival of Zack Snyder's Justice League or perhaps it is the rumors that if it is received well, more stories set in the Snyderverse continuity could happen, including a new series or film for Affleck's Batman. Time will tell...or we can just as Barry to run ahead and find out for us? Stay tuned!