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More than a year after he confirmed he was stepping down from a planned solo film, it seems Ben Affleck will suit up as Batman at least one more time. Director Andy Muschietti has confirmed to Vanity Fair that Affleck's version of The Dark Knight will appear in his new The Flash solo film, starring Ezra Miller in the title role and also featuring an alternate universe Batman played by the legendary Michael Keaton.
The long-gestating Flash film is set to explore various aspects of the DC Comics Multiverse, which allows Keaton to appear as an older version of the Bruce Wayne he originated in 1989's Batman. According to Muschietti, that multiversal concept will also require an original root, which Affleck's Batman will provide through his pre-existing relationship with Miller's Barry Allen.
“He’s the baseline. He’s part of that unaltered state before we jump into Barry’s adventure,” Muschietti told Vanity Fair. “There's a familiarity there.”
Affleck starred as Batman in two films — Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League — and made a cameo appearance in Suicide Squad before eventually retiring his cape and cowl after struggling to craft a standalone Batman solo film that he was originally also set to write and direct. Director Matt Reeves ultimately took over that film, and cast Robert Pattinson in the title role, seemingly signalling the end of "Batfleck." Now, Muschietti's film provides him with at least one more chance to return in a supporting role, with a strong emotional connection to another DC superhero.
“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,” Muschietti. "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.”
Affleck's casting comes on the heels of the news that Keaton — who played the Caped Crusader in Batman and Batman Returns for director Tim Burton 30 years ago — will also be back for one more round as Bruce Wayne as part of the film's exploration of the multiverse. According to Muschietti, Keaton is set to have a "substantial" role in the film.
“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.”
After years of development and release date shifts, The Flash is now set to hit theaters June 2, 2022.