- The Flash movie sparked discussion about the DC multiverse, featuring past versions of characters. Fans imagined crossovers like Michael Keaton's Batman meeting Brandon Routh's Superman.
- A fan art on Instagram captured the meeting of Keaton's Batman and Routh's Superman, tagged as "the World's Finest of Earth 789."
- Michael Keaton's return as Batman was cut short. Plans for his own solo project and potential cameos in Batgirl and Aquaman 2 were scrapped, leaving fans uncertain about his future as Batman.
The DC multiverse became the subject of much debate thanks to the arrival of this summer’s The Flash and its divisive use of past iterations of characters from the history of DC Comics. With the return of Michael Keaton as Batman, brief appearances by renditions of George Reeves and Christopher Reeve as Superman, and many more cameos of varying quality, the movie served to instigate a host of “what if” scenarios among fans.
One such possible crossover within the endless boundaries of the DC multiverse has been realized in a new piece of fan art that brings together Keaton’s Batman as seen in The Flash, and one particular Superman actor who did not get the best run out on the big screen; Brandon Routh. After bringing the Man of Steel back to cinemas in 2006’s Superman Returns, Routh did get to don the cape again in the Arrowverse’s Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event in 2009.
In a new piece of fan art shared by @skull101ify on Instagram, Routh’s Superman comes face to face with Keaton’s Batman in what is tagged as a meeting of “the World’s Finest of Earth 789.” While the user urges James Gunn to make this particular meeting of heroes happen for real in the new DCU, this piece is likely to be as close as fans will get to a union between these iterations of the characters, as Gunn has his own versions of both heroes coming soon. In the meantime, you can check out the nostalgic rush of what could have been below.
Michael Keaton’s Batman Return Was Cut Short
Fans of the original big screen Dark Knight were all set to see Michael Keaton return as an integral part of the DC franchise’s future when it was announced that he would be part of not only The Flash, but also Batgirl and potentially Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.
Of course, we all know by now that, as Danny DeVito’s Penguin once said, things change. That change came as a direct result of the merger between Warner Bros. and Discovery Inc, which in turn saw David Zaslav ring the changes through not only the DC franchise but much of Warner Bros. biggest concerns. As a result, Batgirl was scrapped as a tax write-off, Michael Keaton’s Aquaman 2 cameo was pulled, and a new DCU was put into motion with James Gunn and Peter Safran at the helm.
Now it looks like Michael Keaton’s Batman legacy has found its end in The Flash, which is probably not what most fans wanted. While there were once talks of Keaton getting his own solo project as an older version of Batman, these have now followed the way of Ben Affleck’s solo Batman movie, and become the stuff of unrealized legend. Whether we will see Keaton back in the Batsuit again is something fans can only wait and wonder on, as now the fate of such things ultimately lies in the hands of Gunn and Safran. With their own new DCU vision to keep them busy in the immediate future, the likelihood of old school stars such as Keaton and Routh figuring in their plans seems to be sliding further away.