The Burtonverse Batman by Michael Keaton was initially set to cameo in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. But to everyone’s surprise, Batfleck (Ben Affleck) replaced his brief appearance for the James Wan-helmed DCEU sequel, though there may be an answer regarding the last-minute change.
Keaton’s Dark Knight was signed on for the DC Extended Universe with his return set for The Flash. Unlike the gritty Zack Snyder iteration of the batman who could go toe-to-toe with Henry Cavill‘s Superman – the Burton iteration’s caped crusader would’ve been on the sidelines serving guidance as a veteran superhero for the new generations’ Batgirl, Supergirl etc.
Affleck reprising the role has been seen by many as a hopeful sign of his return and possibly the continuation of the Snyder-created DC Universe dubbed as Snyderverse. However, a report from THR claims Keaton’s role was removed from Aquaman 2 after a test screening left audiences confused over why 1992’s Batman returns character appears instead of Affleck’s. So it resulted in the Justice League actor filming as Bruce Wayne, as earlier revealed by Jason Momoa.
If the aforementioned report is true, Affleck reprising Batman doesn’t indicate a revival of the DCEU that began with Man of Steel. Still, many fans are riding on the #MaketheBatfleckMovie movement, the scrapped standalone feature written by Affleck which would’ve pitted the Dark Knight against Deathstroke and multiple other Bat-universe villains. However, with Matt Reeves developing his own universe featuring Robert Pattinson as the World’s Greatest Detective – could WBD strategy involve multiple live-action Bats? – Especially since their decision to remove Keaton was to ensure moviegoers don’t feel muddled.
Affleck’s final Batman appearance is set for The Flash though some insiders are speculating his Aquaman 2 appearance could be the curtain call for Affleck’s Batman, if the speedster film ends up getting canned like Batgirl. Furthermore, with the Lost Kingdom likely facing another release date change, it’s unclear what the new leadership has planned for DC films.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is expected to arrive on March 17, 2023.
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