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Michael Keaton's Batman Was Meant To Be The DCEU's Nick Fury - Why It Didn't Happen

For the first time in over 30 years, actor Michael Keaton donned the famous cowl to reprise his iconic Batman role in DC's "The Flash." But the road to this return was bumpy, and Keaton's Caped Crusader almost played a far more substantial role in the DC Universe than his one-off appearance. 

Keaton was initially set to make his triumphant comeback in the upcoming sequel "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom." As reported by THR, former DC Films leads Toby Emmerich and Walter Hamada planned to include Keaton in a role similar to Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe when the continuation to the 2018 blockbuster hit was slated for a March 2023 release. In "Lost Kingdom," and follow-up efforts such as the canceled "Batgirl," Keaton would have been a skilled and respected elder figure within this universe. Whether or not he'd be setting up a team is unknown, but it's more than likely his years of crime-fighting wisdom would be passed down one way or another. 

Following altered release dates and a change in leadership with Warner Bros. film heads Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy, Ben Affleck replaced Keaton's role for reshoots of "Lost Kingdom." But this didn't last, as THR reported that the new DC bosses James Gunn and Peter Safran feared that having either version of Batman would lead to unfulfilled audience expectations for future installments. But that hasn't stopped other DC filmmakers from having ambitions of reuniting with Keaton's Dark Knight. 

A Flash sequel script is said to exist, featuring Keaton's Batman

Michael Keaton's revered interpretation of Batman from Tim Burton's "Batman" and "Batman Returns" was one of the main draws for audiences coming into "The Flash." However, even Keaton's iconography and a slew of other DC cameos weren't enough to save the film, which has become one of the biggest box-office bombs of all time. So while it may be pointless to hold our breath for a sequel, the team behind the film has a plan in place in the case of it being greenlit. 

Prior to the release of "The Flash," it was revealed that screenwriter David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick had helmed a screenplay for a potential sequel to "The Flash." Johnson is no stranger to DC films — or even sequels – as he is credited as a co-writer on "Aquaman" and is the sole screenwriter for "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom." Plans for "The Flash" followup would not only bring Ezra Miller back to the role — despite the actor's numerous controversies — but would also see both Keaton's Batman and Sasha Calle's Supergirl also make a return in smaller roles, although it is unclear what their parts in the film would entail. 

Nowadays, in a world where all three live-action Spider-Men can team up or Deadpool and Wolverine can fight on the 20th Century logo, nothing is impossible. But even then, it's a stretch to expect to see Michael Keaton's Batman back in the DC Universe anytime soon.