Michael Keaton’s Batman Return Canceled?
Let’s face it, it’s a weird time to be at DC Studios and working with Warner Bros. Discovery. Since the big merger, an innumerable amount of changes have taken place and while we thought the Batgirl and Wonder Woman 3 cancellations were the worst of it, there’s now a rumor that the Michael Keaton-led Batman standalone feature, Batman Beyond, is getting canned. As per MovieWeb, from their source Umberto Gonzalez, the film was secretly moving forward but is now one of the titles under the recent James Gunn and Peter Safran takeover that’s getting the ax.
Allegedly penned by The Flash scribe Christina Hodson, the film which was never officially announced, but often rumored, sounds like it would’ve been a spinoff of the beloved animated Batman Beyond series, which starred the vocal talents of the late Kevin Conroy and Will Friedle. Those who were hoping that Michael Keaton would return to his role as the Dark Knight were pushing for a plotline to focus on his older Batman mentoring a younger up-and-coming crime fighter who would eventually take over the role of Gotham’s protector. With Keaton’s legendary background in the story, he would be an obvious choice to help bring folks back to theaters for DC films.
To refresh your memory, the Beetlejuice actor took over the role of the caped crusader in both Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns. Although he was supposed to complete a trilogy, Burton was never able to put Michael Keaton back into the role of Batman as the studio believed his adaptations were too dark for audiences – how wrong they were! Things went more than a little bit off the rails with Joel Schumacher’s 1997 fever-dream Batman & Robin before Christopher Nolan pulled the live-action franchise back together with 2005’s Batman Begins.
All the bats seemed to be in a row for Michael Keaton to reprise his role as Batman for a standalone feature after it was announced that the actor would appear in both the HBO Max feature Batgirl as well as the Ezra Miller-led The Flash. Beginning to eye up a release date, Batgirl was cut from the studio’s docket in the late summer amid everchanging corporate strategies with hopes of cutting costs. Meanwhile, The Flash continues to find itself consumed by media attention for all of the wrong reasons with its star constantly involved on the wrong side of the law.
And then there’s the recent shakeup that was just announced this week with Patty Jenkins taking a big step back and exiting the director’s chair on Wonder Woman 3. The filmmaker stood behind the first two movies with her unexpected exit leaving fans in the lurch on whether a third movie featuring Gal Godot as the titular superhero will ever be made. At the moment, our hopes aren’t very high for that trilogy to be completed because if Michael Keaton can’t get a Batman Beyond, it’s not looking great for other major productions.
No matter how fate will play out for Michael Keaton’s reprisal of Batman, the rumors surrounding the possibility of his return gave us a moment of glimmering hope. While we know that James Gunn and Peter Safran won’t be able to make everyone happy with their upcoming difficult decisions, who wouldn’t be thrilled to see Michael Keaton in the bat-suit one last time?