Hot off the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the future of the DCEU and DC Films in general couldn’t be more exciting. In 2022, we will see Robert Pattinson as The Batman along with the long-awaited film adaptation of The Flash starring Ezra Miller hit the big screen.
Robert Pattinson succeeds Ben Affleck as the newest Caped Crusader on the big screen. Under the direction of acclaimed filmmaker Matt Reeves, the former Twilight star will bring a younger Batman to life in a universe separate from the ongoing DCEU. While many fans lament the loss of Ben Affleck’s standalone Batman movie, the Academy Award-winner will reprise his role in The Flash, where he will likely be joined by Michael Keaton, who is expected to return as his version of the iconic character he made famous in Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) and Batman Returns.
The Flash, which will be directed by It director Andy Muschietti, finds Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen using his abilities to rescue his late mother Nora Allen. Unfortunately for Barry, this ruptures the multiverse and somehow brings in Michael Keaton’s Batman into the mix. Through the introduction of the multiverse, the highly-anticipated film will expand the DCEU in the most radical way possible and will embrace the history of the iconic comic book publication on the big screen.
So yes, while Robert Pattinson’s The Batman is set in a separate continuity from the DCEU, just the mere presence of Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton in The Flash opens up a Mother Box of possibilities for the future of DC Films. While it seems likely that Matt Reeves’ film (as well as his upcoming Gotham PD prequel series on HBO Max) will remain a standalone entity, it wouldn’t be beyond the realm of possibility that we could see Robert Pattinson’s Batman appear in the DCEU, and perhaps The Flash is the most plausible way it could work out.
For one, in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, fans were given a glimpse at all the potential that was afoot for the future of the DCEU had Zack Snyder been given the opportunity to complete his Justice League trilogy. During the film’s epilogue, we get a further glimpse into the post-apocalyptic future that The Flash warned Bruce Wayne of in the Knightmare sequence featured in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. During the epilogue, Jared Leto’s Joker has a mesmerizing exchange with Batman as he taunts him with the prospect of many alternate timelines in which Batman destroyed the world because he didn’t have the “cajones” to die.
While Warner Bros. considers the 2017 cut of the film as canon for the DCEU, the mere existence of the Snyder Cut prompts further discussions about alternate timelines and realities, which The Flash himself is involved with. In perhaps the most-acclaimed sequence of the film, The Flash uses his ability to travel through time to save the Justice League and the world from certain destruction. Warner Bros. reportedly did not want The Flash to time travel in Justice League given their plans for his solo film, but the incredible sequence serves as an example as to how Andy Muschietti’s film can further embrace the complicated nature of Barry’s abilities and the expansion of the DCEU through their ambitious multiverse approach.
Also, while The Flash is looking to keep Barry Allen at the center of the story, the impressive cast surrounding Ezra Miller showcases the expansive scope of the DCEU. While we have some of the staple characters from The Flash comics like Barry’s parents and Iris West part of the story, fans were caught by surprise in February when it was announced that actress Sasha Calle joined the film as Supergirl. Details regarding Supergirl’s specific role remain scarce, including whether or not she’s even part of the currently-established DCEU timeline, but Sasha Calle had a chemistry read with Ezra Miller, signifying that she has a solid role in the story.
With Michael Keaton currently signed on to return as his version of Batman 30 years later, we already have a hint as to how The Flash is looking to explore the decades worth of big screen stories from DC Films. If the film can bring back this classic iteration of Batman, who’s to say it can’t bring back even more? Imagine if somehow, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy was brought into the mix and had Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Robin John Blake appear — or better yet, Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne?
Perhaps The Flash can go even wilder with more characters from DC Films’ past catalogue including Brandon Routh’s Superman, who was recently featured in the Arrowverse’s Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover 13 years after he portrayed him in Superman Returns. Speaking of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Ezra Miller himself had a show-stopping cameo appearance in the crossover where he encountered Grant Gustin’s iteration of The Flash, further establishing the concept of the multiverse on both the big and small screens.
The multiverse approach looks to be the hottest storytelling device for comic book film and television right now. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is looking to explore their version of the multiverse, with hints of it set up in WandaVision leading up to the aptly-titled Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness which is currently in production as well as the much-anticipated Spider-Man: No Way Home bringing Jamie Foxx’s Electro and Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock back to the big screen. Of course, those two villains’ appearances has led to more rumors about the possible return of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s versions of Peter Parker appearing on screen with Tom Holland.
It’s safe to say that the possibilities are truly infinite when it comes to what The Flash can bring, and given that Warner Bros. is still looking to expand the DCEU with a multiverse of different versions of Batman, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Robert Pattinson come into the fray and step into battle alongside Ezra Miller. 2022 is already going to be a stacked year for the DCEU with Black Adam and Aquaman 2 also hitting theaters, but what makes the upcoming release slate particularly intriguing is the fact that it will be a year in which we will see not one, not two, but *three* different versions of Batman on the big screen. Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton appearing in The Flash is already exciting enough, and with Robert Pattinson on deck to show audiences what he’ll bring to the cowl in the first of a new trilogy, it’s certainly an exciting time to be a DC fan.
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