Yes, you read that headline correctly.
Ben Affleck is returning as Batman in the Ezra Miller-starring The Flash, bringing back the character he played in Batman v. Superman and Justice League. The Flash director Andy Muschietti announced the news through Vanity Fair and just days before the big DC FanDome Event where he will be participating in a panel for the film. Affleck reportedly received the script at the end of last week and agreed to return to the role after that.
“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,” Muschietti said. “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.”
If you thought that Micahel Keaton returning to the role of Batman for The Flash was big news this blows it out of the water. Affleck was set to star and direct The Batman but eventually backed out of the role due to personal issues, saying eventually that if he took it he would have probably drunk himself to death. He has since found himself in a better place and evidently can now have fun with the role according to The Flash‘s producer Barbara Muschietti.
The Flash will be yet another retelling of the comic book story Flashpoint in which Barry Allen travels back in time to save his mother causing a different future to be created. The movie will fully establish a multiverse that connects all of DC’s films and shows, something briefly established by a Miller cameo in the TV show The Flash. That multiverse will not only feature Affleck and Keaton but, the Vanity Fair article insinuates, other possible past Batman(men?) as well.
“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,” Muschietti said. “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.”
Muschietti also notes that Batfleck’s return is for practical reasons. Ezra Miller’s Flash only knows him as Batman so to establish other Batmen he must be the baseline. That makes sense, especially since it is evidently Keaton who will play a major role in the film. It also helps DC continue the DCEU’s continuity while launching a multiverse so that audiences don’t get too lost by the experience of having multiple Batmen thanks to Robert Pattinson playing the role in the upcoming The Batman.
After backing away from building up the DCEU thanks to the mess that was Justice League, WB seems to be stepping back in aggressively. The studio has also reportedly agreed to bring Henry Cavill back as Superman after his future as the character was said to be up in the air, though what films he’ll show up in is unknown.
Affleck’s Batman received mixed reviews from fans so some may be incredibly excited about this news while others are disappointed. Whatever your reaction this is some very surprising bat-news.