Michael Keaton in talks to return as Batman

Keaton, who played the Caped Crusader twice before, may become Gotham's superhero again in 'The Flash'

Michael Keaton in Batman. Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
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Michael Keaton might be reprising his role as Gotham's Caped Crusader in the coming film The Flash.

The Birdman and Beetlejuice actor has played Bruce Wayne and Batman twice before in the Tim Burton film adaptations of the comic book hero.

He first played the role in the 1989 Batman opposite Jack Nicholson's zany, perpetually-grinning depiction of the Joker. Keaton donned the mask and cape again in the 1992 film Batman Returns, facing Danny DeVito's Penguin and Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman.

Now Keaton is in talks with Warner Bros to take on the role again in the stand-alone film, The Flash, which will feature Ezra Miller as the titular superhero. The film is set in an alternate timeline based on the 2011 Flashpoint comic book series. The timeline was created after the Flash tries to go back in time to prevent the murder of his mother.

The DC superheroes in this storyline, including Batman, have radically different histories than the ones you are most likely to be familiar with.

In Flashpoint, the mugger in the alley that murdered Bruce Wayne's parents instead kills the young Wayne. As such, it isn't an adult Bruce that's under the Batman cape, rather his father Thomas Wayne. The timeline also shows Bruce's mother, Martha Wayne, suffering from a nervous breakdown after her son's death and becoming the Joker.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Batman in this reality will be much like Samuel L Jackson's Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, playing a role that crosses paths with a number of superheroes. So Keaton's new Batman could potentially be featured in a number of future DC films, becoming the connective tissue between the disparate storylines.

Another Batman film is also currently in the works, with Robert Pattinson set to play the superhero. Directed by Matt Reeves, The Batman is currently scheduled to open in October 2021, and will also star Westworld's Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon.