A new report says Michael Keaton filmed a scene as Batman in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, but it may be replaced with Ben Affleck’s Batman instead. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is directed by James Wan, who also helmed the $1 billion-earning first Aquaman film. The sequel once again stars Jason Momoa in the titular role. Keaton originally starred in Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989 and the 1992 sequel, Batman Returns, before retiring from the role. It was announced in 2020 that the actor would be reprising the role for both The Flash and Batgirl solo films, which Keaton has already filmed.
The current shake-ups with WB Discovery’s film and TV slate has put Keaton’s return in question. Batgirl was cancelled on Tuesday, being permanently shelved while in post-production. The Flash has an equally uncertain future, as star Ezra Miller has continually made news headlines with their legal woes, drawing unwanted attention to the $200 million superhero film. Affleck played the role of Batman in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League films, as well as appearing in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, before reportedly stepping away from the role. However, the actor is set to reappear in The Flash and was recently revealed to have a role in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom as well, showing that he’s far from done with the character.
Keaton’s scene for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom apparently confused test screening audiences for the film (per THR), which was originally supposed to open before The Flash. Director Andy Muschietti’s The Flash is set to unveil the multiverse in the DCEU, which would allow both Keaton and Affleck’s Batman characters to appear in the same film while explaining the reappearance of Keaton’s Batman. However, seeing as the original plan was for The Flash to open first, Keaton appearing in Aquaman 2‘s universe didn’t make sense. Now it seems likely that Affleck is replacing him.
No explanation or official confirmation has been given regarding Affleck’s appearance in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom as of yet, so it’s impossible to know how that role affects the overall film, which wrapped principal photography in January 2022. Word has also gotten out that both Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Aquaman 2 are subject to yet another release date shuffle, while Todd Phillips’ Joker sequel, Joker: Folie a Deux, just announced an October 2024 release date. The only other theatrical DCEU film on the books outside of The Flash and the Shazam! and Aquaman sequels that could face some kind of date shift is Blue Beetle starring Cobra Kai‘s Xolo Maridueña, which is currently set to debut on August 18, 2023. No word on that film’s fate has been mentioned as of yet.
The fuse that’s been lit at Warner Bros. Discovery after the Batgirl cancellation is still reaching its end, and the explosion of repercussions in the ever-shifting business strategy has yet to be fully revealed. Keaton seems to be getting the short end on these changes, however, in what was once thought of as a major return for his iteration as Batman. It’s entirely possible that still may be the case, and that Affleck’s Batman being in Aquaman 2 was filmed to mitigate confusion before Keaton could take over in The Flash. While some may hope to see Affleck back in the role full time in lieu of Keaton, it’s still unclear exactly which Batman will shepherd the DCEU forward at this point. Likely, audiences won’t know until the release of both The Flash and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, or until some kind of official announcement that clarifies who the DCEU’s Batman will be arrives.
Next: Where Does Batgirl’s Cancellation Leave Ben Affleck’s Batman
- Black Adam (2022)Release date: Oct 21, 2022
- Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2022)Release date: Dec 21, 2022
- Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023)Release date: Mar 17, 2023
- The Flash (2023)Release date: Jun 23, 2023
- Blue Beetle (2023)Release date: Aug 18, 2023
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