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Why Keaton Is Still The DCEU’s Best Replacement For Affleck’s Batman

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Michael Keaton is actually the best possible Batman replacement for Ben Affleck in the DCEU, and he will only enhance the hero’s role within the franchise. One of the DCEU’s first major controversies was the backlash to Affleck’s Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — a much darker hero obsessed with stopping Superman and willing to break the Dark Knight’s infamous “no-kill” rule. Though the consensus on Affleck’s Batman later shifted to a more favorable opinion, the character has been forever marred by that initial reaction.

After Ben Affleck’s solo Batman movie failed to come to fruition, the actor announced his exit from the role. The decision was made to replace Affleck’s Batman with another version in the DCEU, ensuring that the DC franchise wouldn’t go without one of its most iconic characters. This paved the way for Michael Keaton’s return to the role — facilitated by The Flash‘s multiverse narrative — three decades after last playing the part in Batman Returns.

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Related: Michael Keaton’s DCEU Future Risks Undermining His Batman Return

Replacing Ben Affleck’s Batman is no easy task, but it would seem that the DCEU may have found the perfect solution, even with Batgirl’s controversial cancelation. Not only does Keaton’s Batman possess a number of similarities to Affleck’s, but he is also a character capable of fixing a number of the DCEU’s most pressing problems. Though Affleck’s Batman deserves better, replacing him with Michael Keaton’s version of the character is actually the best way to proceed with the DCEU as a whole.

Using A Previous Batman Is Better For The Franchise

One of the biggest hurdles to replacing a character as vital to the DCEU as Batman is establishing who the new version is and why he’s a worthy successor, but Michael Keaton’s return preempts this. Keaton’s Batman has already had two movies, so there’s very little need to explain the character’s backstory or his origins, as this was already done in Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns. With Keaton’s Batman simply coming from another universe, there’s no need to retread old ground, and it also doesn’t make Burton’s movies DCEU canon, which saves a lot of messy exposition.


More than just saving time, Michael Keaton’s Batman return also practically guarantees an audience boost. Those who enjoyed Burton’s movies but haven’t followed the DCEU so far will be tempted back, particularly as the prospect of his return after 30 years is incredibly enticing. The Flash is free to explore as much or as little of Keaton’s Batman story as it needs to — which makes the return of a previous Batman far better than the alternative.

Keaton’s Batman Best Matches Affleck’s Tone

Another way that Michael Keaton is the perfect replacement for Ben Affleck in the DCEU is that their versions of the hero share a number of similarities. Both characters are older incarnations of Batman, in the later stages of their respective careers, meaning that both are highly experienced and grizzled veterans of vigilantism. What’s more, both Keaton and Affleck’s characters famously broke Batman’s “no-kill” rule, making their approach to crime-fighting similar, too.


Related: Batgirl: Was Michael Keaton’s Batman The Same As Tim Burton’s?

By making use of an alternate Batman so similar to the DCEU’s original one, the franchise ensures a relatively smooth transition from one to the other. Incorporating the tone of Keaton’s character into the world of the DCEU will still take some work, but the similarities between the two heroes will help to ease the passing of the torch. Making the DCEU’s new Batman one that’s not too far removed from its first is a sensible decision, and will help with maintaining a sense of narrative and tonal continuity.

How Keaton Will Be An Improvement For The DCEU

There are elements of Michael Keaton’s Batman that will actually help fix a number of the franchise’s worst issues. The most common criticism of the DCEU, including its Batman characterization, is that everything is far too dark and self-serious. The lack of levity, particularly in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, has been a major contributing factor to the DCEU’s problems, and Ben Affleck’s Batman is the biggest source of the franchise’s needless angst.

However, Keaton’s Batman, while similar in some ways, is subtly different in others, making his version of the character the perfect savior for the DCEU. The distinctly gothic but decidedly less self-serious tone of Tim Burton’s Batman movies delivered a singular take on Gotham City and its most famous vigilante, and that slightly more light-hearted approach to Batman’s darkness is something that will hopefully translate to a better future for the DCEU. Keaton’s Batman should help alleviate some of the needless grittiness from the DCEU, and that’s something that can only help the franchise as it moves forward.


Why Other Existing Batman Actors Wouldn’t Work

The DCEU replacing its Batman actually could have been disastrous if the wrong version of the Dark Knight was brought into the franchise. To work well as a part of the DCEU’s stories, the version of Batman brought in must possess certain qualities, and as every live-action Batman actor brings something different to the role, not every Batman would fit the bill. To better understand why Keaton makes the perfect replacement for Affleck, it’s important to understand why other Batman actors wouldn’t work.

Related: How Many People Michael Keaton’s Batman Killed In The Tim Burton Movies

It would be impossible to reconcile the tone of Joel Schumacher’s movies, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, with that of the DCEU, ruling out both Val Kilmer and George Clooney’s hypothetical returns. Christian Bale’s Batman from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is one of the most iconic portrayals of the hero, but he also wouldn’t work because it’s a much more grounded take on the character, which would feel out of place within the DCEU. Robert Pattinson’s younger Batman can be ruled out for similar reasons. And David Mazouz’s version from Gotham wouldn’t work because he’s simply too young to convincingly step into Affleck’s DCEU role.


The many ways in which other Batman actors wouldn’t work within the DCEU actually highlights just how perfectly Keaton can replace Affleck. The elements that make their two versions of the hero alike are a major consideration, but their differences are also key, as they’ll help Keaton’s Batman redeem the DCEU’s problems. Michael Keaton’s Batman in the DCEU is actually the most fitting replacement for Ben Affleck’s, and it’s an exciting prospect for the franchise’s future.

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Shuri & Namor Nearly Had A Romance In Black Panther 2, Says MCU Editor

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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever editor Michael P. Shawver reveals that Shuri and Namor were almost romantically linked in the Marvel Studios sequel.


Black Panther: Wakanda Forever editor Michael P. Shawver reveals that Shuri and Namor were almost romantically involved in the Marvel Studios sequel. Directed by Ryan Coogler, the much-anticipated follow-up to 2018’s Black Panther had its work cut out for it after Chadwick Boseman’s unexpected passing in 2020. Despite the difficulties and fresh setbacks brought upon by the coronavirus pandemic, the filmmakers delivered a poignant and powerful film that debuts Shuri as the new Black Panther and introduces the latest power-player in the MCU with Namor.

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As the two primary characters in the film, Shuri and Namor had an interesting dynamic in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, finding themselves at odds as they fight for their respective people. Namor was desperately trying to keep the underwater city of Talokan hidden from the rest of the world, while Shuri leads a grieving nation that is in a precarious place. When they first met, Shuri and Namor had some of the most insightful conversations in the movie, and as it turns out, there was a cut of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever that would have seen them romantically linked with each other, as revealed by Shawver in a new interview with Newsweek. Read his full quote below:

I think what’s really interesting is there were takes where there was some connection there… and at one point in an early cut we discussed like, ‘Hey, do we leave it there? Do we just put it out there? Let’s just add some complexity to the relationship.’ But, then, you’ve got to watch out for portraying, for example, Shuri flirting to get what she wants as opposed to being a diplomatic leader and becoming the leader that she needs to be, that she’ll get to at the end. So what we ultimately focused on was Namor’s line where he says, ‘Only the most damaged people can be truly great leaders,’ and that’s planting the seed of the shared trauma that she realizes at the end [of the film]. But that’s essentially who they are, they’re trying to lead and be a leader of their nations with all this pain, carrying around this heavy heart.

Related: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s Namor Directly Sets Up Wolverine


Removing Shuri & Namor’s Black Panther 2 Romance Was The Right Call

Namor Underwater in Black Panther- Wakanda Forever

The MCU has had great couples in the past, and they’ve told love stories within superhero films before. But ultimately, while there was clear chemistry between Shuri and Namor, it was for the best that Marvel Studios decided to do without their potential love line. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was already a packed film as it was. It had a lot of narratives to go through, and although it did a great job doing a balancing act on all of these arcs, adding a significant one could have made the film stuffed and unfocused.

Not pushing forward with Namor and Shuri’s planned romance also helped the film zero in on the only romantic love in the film: Nakia and T’Challa. Granted that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever doesn’t delve much into their dynamic, Nakia’s speech about why she opted not to attend T’Challa’s funeral highlights just how difficult it has been for her. It also helped properly set up the eventual introduction of their secret son, Prince Toussaint.

Could Shuri & Namor Get Romantic In Black Panther 3?

Black panther wakanda forever Shuri and Namor

After their intense fight at the end of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, there’s an idea that there’s some kind of partnership forged between Wakanda and Talokan. Given this, expect that the two nations will continue to develop diplomatic relations, which means fans should see more of Namor and Shuri’s interaction. Whether Marvel Studios revisits their planned romance in the inevitable Black Panther 3 is unknown, but it would be interesting to see their relationship evolve down the road.

Source: Newsweek

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WB Had To Be Convinced To Bring Back Henry Cavill’s Superman

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Dwayne Johnson reveals that executives at Warner Bros. had to be convinced to allow Henry Cavill’s Superman to return to the DCU in Black Adam.


The return of Henry Cavill’s Superman in Black Adam was a welcome surprise for many fans, but star Dwayne Johnson reveals that Warner Bros. needed some convincing in order to make it happen. Cavill first played Superman in 2013’s Man of Steel, a movie that earned middling reviews from critics but was generally a big hit with audiences. After appearing in the divisive Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and the maligned Justice League (and its more positively-received Zack Snyder director’s cut), it looked like Cavill’s time as the DCU hero may have been at an end. However, rumors swirled before the release of Black Adam that Cavill would return as Superman and the actor finally made his triumphant return during the movie’s post-credits scene.

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In a new video posted to his Twitter account, Dwayne Johnson celebrates Black Adam‘s digital release and touches on how he and his producing partners orchestrated Cavill’s return as Superman. Johnson reveals that it took years to convince Warner Bros. leadership to allow Cavill to return and that it was never an option for him to build out the DCU without Superman. Check out Johnson’s full comment below:

“We have to bring back the most powerful, unstoppable force of all time in any universe. You guys know who I’m talking about, it’s Superman. That’s Henry Cavill. At the end of the day, the studio wasn’t bringing Henry back, inexplicably and inexcusably, but we weren’t going to take no for an answer. This has been years in the making, bringing Henry Cavill back with strategic conversations and we were not going to take no for an answer. For us, there’s no viable logical way to build out the DC Universe without the most powerful force and the greatest superhero of all time sitting on the sidelines, it’s impossible to do. You can Venn diagram this thing 90 times but it all comes back to, ‘Where’s Superman?’ You have to have Superman in the mix, so that’s why we fought hard to bring Superman back.”

Related: Cavill’s DCU Return Avoids A Bad Flash Superman Retcon


How Dwayne Johnson Convinced WB To Bring Back Henry Cavill As Superman

Henry Cavill as Superman in Man of Steel.

Although there were likely many meetings with Warner Bros.’ executives behind closed doors, Johnson has been publicly teasing a confrontation for years between Black Adam and Superman. The actor’s continued references to the character and discussions about an epic battle between his hero and Cavill’s generated conversation online and spurred many fans to theorize as to who would win in a fight. Johnson’s comments, of course, came at a time when there was already a great deal of fan demand for Cavill to return as Superman in Man of Steel 2 or some other project that continued the Snyderverse. While the movies that Cavill appears in as Superman aren’t always received well, audiences undeniably love the actor’s unique take on the character.

Johnson is already one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, which means he will generally have more power over studio executives, but the actor’s engagement of Cavill’s Superman fan base is sure to only have added to the pressure Warner Bros.’ leadership was feeling. It’s likely that, even without Johnson, Warner Bros. was planning on how to use Superman in future projects but, given Cavill’s connection to the Zack Snyder’s Justice League debacle, the hero probably would have been played by a new actor had Johnson not gotten involved. If the studio had put another Superman project into the works and Clark Kent was played by someone other than Cavill, however, it’s likely that there would’ve been a sizable backlash online.

Johnson has gone on record saying that Cavill’s take on Superman is his favorite, meaning there was never any doubt that he would fight for the actor’s return in some capacity. It’s unclear exactly how Johnson negotiated Cavill’s return outside the public eye, but the conversation likely came down to money at some point, with Cavill’s take on Superman simply being the option that is most likely to bring in more money at the box office. It remains to be seen how Cavill’s Superman will feature in James Gunn’s plans for the DCU after Black Adam, but Johnson evidently played a big role in orchestrating the actor’s return.

Source: Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock)/ Twitter

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Will Smith Responds To Potential Oscar Slap Backlash to Upcoming Movie

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Will Smith addresses how his infamous Oscars moment might affect the popularity of his upcoming movie Emancipation. Smith suffered a major career blow in the wake of the incident at this year’s Oscars. During the same ceremony when he received his first Best Actor award, the veteran performer instead found backlash after he responded to one of Chris Rock’s jokes by taking the stage and slapping the comedian. The aftermath saw multiple Smith projects postponed and numerous Hollywood peers voicing their anger.

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The ire has mostly died down in the eight months since the notorious slap. Smith’s first post-slap release, Emancipation, is set to debut this December. The film is a historical thriller that follows Smith’s character as he evades slave hunters in the swamps of Louisiana, venturing north for freedom. Emancipation is directed by Antoine Fuqua, and is the type of film that would likely garner considerable Oscar buzz if not the slap controversy. While speaking with journalist Kevin McCarthy (via Variety), Smith opened up about the possibility of backlash reemerging ahead of Emancipation‘s release. His full quote can be read below:

“I completely understand — if someone is not ready, I would absolutely respect that and allow them their space to not be ready. My deepest concern is my team – Antoine has done what I think is the greatest work of his entire career. The people on this team have done some of the best work of their entire careers, and my deepest hope is that my actions don’t penalize my team. At this point, that’s what I’m working for. I’m hoping that the material — the power of the film, the timeliness of the story — I’m hoping that the good that can be done would open people’s hearts at a minimum to see and recognize and support the incredible artists in and around this film.”

Related: Will Smith Slaps Chris Rock At Oscars: Biggest Questions & What Next?


The Will Smith Oscar Slap Controversy Explained

Will Smith Slaps Chris Rock at Oscars

Hours into the Oscars ceremony, while presenting the award for Best Documentary, Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. Smith, Pinkett Smith’s husband, first appeared to take no exception to the joke, chuckling lightly. However, moments later the audience was stunned when Smith hopped up onstage and slapped Rock, shouting at Rock even as he returned to his seat. Not long after, Smith was awarded the Best Actor prize for King Richard, and apologized during his acceptance speech.

The slap quickly overshadowed the rest of the Oscars and was the main subject of discussion after the ceremony concluded, when it was revealed that Smith had slapped Rock because he was being protective of Pinkett Smith’s alopecia condition. In the weeks following the award show, Smith was chastised by many Hollywood peers, and the Academy reportedly mulled a suspension. In the end, Smith resigned from the Academy and has been banned from the Oscars for ten years. The controversy has since died down, allowing Smith to quietly pursue upcoming projects, Emancipation being the first and foremost among them.

How Will Audiences React To Emancipation?

Will Smith in Emancipation movie

The infamous slap was something of a litmus test, dividing fans into anti-Smith and sympathetic camps. With Emancipation‘s forthcoming release, moviegoers will be given an opportunity to ruminate once again on the idea of Smith continuing his career. On one side, the lack of any real repercussions for the slap might leave a portion of Emancipation‘s audience resentful of the film. However, there is likely an equally large set of fans who are ready to move on. Smith has been a Hollywood mainstay for decades, and his disappearance from cinema entirely would undoubtedly constitute a loss. Emancipation, then, can be used as an experiment. If the movie is a success, then perhaps Smith can return to the public eye with ease. However, a chillier response might indicate Smith has more work to do. Nevertheless, all eyes will be on Emancipation upon its release in December.

Source: Kevin McCarthy (via Variety)

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