Michael Keaton Back Again as Batman for Upcoming Batgirl Film Starring Leslie Grace

Fans trying to figure out what’s happening to the DC Extended Universe just got a tantalizing new clue with a very unexpected casting announcement.

Michael Keaton is about to double the number of films he’ll portray Batman in after signing on to reprise the role yet again for the upcoming “Batgirl” film starring Leslie Grace and slated for HBO Max. He’s already set to appear in the upcoming “Flash” feature film starring Ezra Miller.

The Flash was the first DC character to cross from one universe to the next in the comics, and he would continue to play pivotal roles in almost every major multiversal “Crisis” at the comics publisher.

So even though Ben Affleck is the current Batman in the DCEU, it would make sense for Keaton to appear as an alternate Batman in the upcoming “Flash” movie that’s all about Barry Allen traveling through time to change history, thus altering the present and at the least fracturing the multiverse. Affleck is also slated to appear in the film as Batman.

But while it makes sense in a story dealing with time travel and alternate realities, what does it mean for Keaton to appear in a film about Batgirl, a street-level hero like him with no superpowers at all?

Is it a hint as to his Bruce Wayne’s fate post-“Flash”? Does it mean “Batgirl” takes place on the alternate world established in Keaton’s 1989 “Batman” and 1992 follow-up “Batman Returns”?

Or do the events of “The Flash” alter the main universe so that Keaton’s Batman becomes the Batman, giving Affleck an out?

Does that mean we could get Danny DeVito back as Penguin, or Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman (we’re not holding our breath for Jack Nicholson’s Joker)? Both remain among the best ever casting choices for those respective roles.

What we know so far of “Batgirl” is that it’s story focuses on Barbara Gordon (Grace) and that she is the daughter of Gotham police commissioner James Gordon (J.K. Simmons). And … that’s about it. It could well be that the film will somewhat directly follow from “The Flash” in more of an MCU way than most DCEU projects.

As the MCU was tightening things up — prior to its own “Multiverse of Madness” — with its films, DC was taking a looser approach, leaving room for films like “The Joker” and the upcoming Robert Pattinson’s Batman, which don’t take place in the main DC film universe.

It remains to be seen if they’re considered a part of its official multiverse. Those answers may come with “The Flash.”

“The Flash” runs into theaters on November 4, 2022 and may well have even more multiversal surprises in store for DC fans. “Batgirl” is also currently scheduled for 2022, so if it’s to come after “Flash,” it’s going to be released right after it. If it comes first, well, we’ll have even more questions!

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