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Ben Affleck Is Returning to Batman for The Flash's DC Multiverse

Together again for the very second time.
Together again for the very second time.
Image: Warner Bros.

Batfleck Returns.

Vanity Fair reports that yet another Batman will be in the upcoming Flash movie, likely joining Michael Keaton’s beloved incarnation of the Dark Knight from Tim Burton’s Batman movies. This time, it’s...well, now the second-most-recent actor to don the cowl: Ben Affleck, who played the caped crusader in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League before bowing out of the role last year, after years of speculation about his exit.

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All this is predicated by the fact that The Flash—directed by It’s Andy Muschietti—starring Ezra Miller’s incarnation of Barry Allen from Justice League, will deal with the wider ramifications of DC Comic’s multiverse of heroes. The multiverse has already given us wild things like Miller’s Flash meeting Grant Gustin’s TV incarnation of Barry in the Crisis on Infinite Earths CW special.

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“His Batman has a dichotomy that is very strong which is his masculinity—because of the way he looks, and the imposing figure that he has, and his jawline—but he’s also very vulnerable,” Muschietti told Vanity Fair of Ben Affleck’s Batman, and why he’s needed alongside the other version of the Dark Knight suddenly crowding up Barry Allen’s cinematic personal space. “He knows how to deliver from the inside out, that vulnerability. He just needs a story that allows him to bring that contrast, that balance.”

According to Muschietti, although The Flash is clearly Barry’s story, Affleck’s Bruce Wayne will play an important part in the young hero’s emotional story, acting not just as a mentor figure that he can bond with over that perennial shared superhero experience—dead parents—but will act as a Bat-baseline for when multiversal wackiness gives poor young Barry a second Batman to deal with. But both Keaton and Affleck’s presence in The Flash is far more important than either fanservice or even Barry’s journey. According to Muschietti, it’s heralding Warner Bros.’ approach to a multiverse of interpretations on DC characters in the biggest way possible.

“This movie is a bit of a hinge in the sense that it presents a story that implies a unified universe where all the cinematic iterations that we’ve seen before are valid,” Muschietti continued. “It’s inclusive in the sense that it is saying all that you’ve seen exists, and everything that you will see exists, in the same unified multiverse.”

Sorry, Ben. Like we told you: being Batman is forever, whether you want it or not. No doubt we’ll hear more about The Flash’s crisis on infinite Batmen this weekend at Warner Bros. online convention, DC Fandome. The film itself is currently set to release June 3, 2022.

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James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!

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DISCUSSION

WB Exec #1: “Okay, our Flash movie is in development hell. We’ve burned through a dozen directors. The lead is choke-slamming teenagers in Iceland. Fan excitement is waning. We have to come up with a way to get people really excited for a Flash movie. What do we do?”

WB Exec #2: “Put Batman in it.”

WB Exec #1: “Which one?”

WB Exec #2: “All of them.”