Michael Keaton is returning as Batman in The Flash, more than 25 years after he exited the role. While there has been some speculation as to what caused this drift, the actor has finally clarified his reasoning after all these years.
When speaking on the latest Backstage Podcast episode, the beloved actor discussed his long and fruitful career in Hollywood. During the interview, he mentioned there was a clash of heads following Tim Burton's retreat.
Michael Keaton Discusses His Batman Departure
Joel Schumacher took the director's chair with Keaton still attached. With a new director came a new vision, as Schumacher wanted to integrate a lighter tone into the following Caped Crusader tales - the opposite to Burton's darker themes:
I remember one of the things that I walked away going, ‘Oh boy, I can't do this’. [Schumacher] asked me, ‘I don’t understand why everything has to be so dark and everything so sad,’ and I went, ‘Wait a minute, do you know how this guy got to be Batman? Have you read… I mean, it's pretty simple.’
These creative differences resulted in Keaton leaving the role, which was eventually passed down to Val Kilmer. This sudden shift in expression was evident in Schumacher's Batman Forever; a more campy and bombastic take on the troubled hero.
2022 will feature multiple Batmen on the silver screen, with The Flash set to incorporate Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton's version. There are also reports that the 70-year-old veteran may be attached to another DC movie following The Flash.
While Matt Reeves' The Batman adapts the Dark Knight through a neo-noir lens, focusing on the detective aspect of Bruce Wayne. The billionaire will be portrayed by Robert Pattinson, whose version has taken heavy inspiration from Nirvana's Kurt Cobain.