“The Flash”: The Batman Twist and What It Means For The Future of the DCEU

Everett Collection / Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

The new “The Flash” movie was wild from start to finish. The film, which premiered on June 16, centers around Barry Allen/The Flash (Ezra Miller) traveling back in time to save his mother from dying and prevent his father from being framed for her murder.

Although his mentor, Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) warns him that changing the past could have unintended consequences, Barry goes back to the past anyway to save his parents. When he tries to get back to the present, Barry gets stuck in 2013, where he not only meets a younger version of himself, but an alternate version of Batman played by Michael Keaton. (He previously portrayed the Caped Crusader in “Batman” and “Batman Returns.”) In this timeline, Barry also discovers that Superman is dead and the Justice League doesn’t exist. After realizing his mistakes, Barry is eventually able to put things back to normal – or so he thinks. By the end of the film, his Bruce is no longer played by Affleck, but George Clooney.

Since the DCEU is getting revamped through James Gunn and Peter Safran’s newly-formed DC Studios, let’s unpack what that cliffhanger could mean for Affleck’s future as Batman.

Who Plays Batman in “The Flash”?

Affleck, who’s been portraying Batman since 2016, returned as the masked vigilante in “The Flash.” After appearing during a robbery sequence at the beginning of the film, Bruce later meets up with Barry to discuss his newly-discovered time-traveling abilities. However, once Barry changes the past and creates a new timeline, we learn that Affleck’s Batman gets replaced with Keaton’s version. In this alternate reality, Bruce has retired from his crime-fighting days and isn’t the leader of the Justice League because it was never formed. At the end of the film, we also meet another version of Batman played by Clooney, who previously played Bruce in the 1997 film “Batman & Robin.”

Will George Clooney Replace Ben Affleck as Batman?

Clooney’s appearance at the end of “The Flash” confirms that Barry still isn’t in his own timeline. Since it’s been confirmed that the DCEU is getting rebooted, it’s possible he may never go back to his own world because his predicament offers the perfect opportunity for the franchise to get a clean slate. So, could that mean Clooney will become the new Batman? While it would be cool to see the actor pick up the cape once more, Gunn confirmed back in February that the DCEU’s new Batman won’t be played by someone who’s already taken on the mantle. When asked about the rumors that Clooney would replace Affleck, Gunn said it was “absolutely not” true because Batman will be played by a new actor moving forward.

What Has Ben Affleck Said About His Future in the DCEU?

In a January 2022 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Affleck revealed that he was ready to move on from Batman following his “nadir experience” filming the 2017 “Justice League” movie. “Not blaming anybody, there’s a lot of things that happened. But really what it was is that I wasn’t happy. I didn’t like being there,” he said. “I didn’t think it was interesting. And then some really sh*tty things, awful things happened. But, that’s when I was like, I’m not going to do that anymore.”

Although it was once rumored that Affleck would return as Batman in “Aquaman 2,” he reportedly didn’t appear in a test screening for the film in December 2022. Now, the actor’s latest comments confirm that his appearance in “The Flash” was his last time playing Batman. “It was a lot of fun. I really had a great time and it was over too soon,” he told TheMovieReport. “I think this was the most fun I had playing this part.”

So, while Affleck is officially done with Batman, the Caped Crusader will return in the newly revamped DCEU.

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