Reigning true to the affectionate nickname 'Batfleck,' Ben Affleck will renew his identity as the Caped Crusader once again in parallelism with Michael Keaton's rendition of the same role in Andy Muschietti's The Flash.
The brooding Dark Knight will return for one more DC Extended Universe movie, that will set its focal point on Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) and will dive into the multiverse through the Flashpoint plot - diversifying and complexifying the interworkings of DC's on-screen presence.
Batman has been a polarizing character since his first portrayal, and fans seem to struggle on finding peace amongst themselves when discussing Affleck's performance. Some herald him as a hero; others have despised him since he first donned the cowl.
There may be two Batmans tangling themselves in the plot of The Flash, but there will no interference with the linear construction of The Batman and Robert Pattinson.
“[Affleck's] 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 said in an interview with Vanity Fair. “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.”
"Batfleck" and his newfound rejuvenation to renew the role that he had departed from due to personal struggles have surprised fans. He had been an open ongoing struggle with alcoholism, an ending marriage, and his difficulty to dedicate himself to Batman. Affleck was originally supposed to sign onto a stand-alone project titled The Batman, which he had retreated from. “I showed somebody The Batman script,” Affleck had told the New York Times in an interview, “They said, ‘I think the script is good. I also think you’ll drink yourself to death if you go through what you just went through again.’”
Affleck was offered an early sneak peek at The Flash script which ultimately convinced him to return to the part. Filmmakers were surprised that he was so enthusiastic and excited, so much so that he wanted to hark back to the role.
“He’s a very substantial part of the emotional impact of the movie. The interaction and relationship between Barry and Affleck’s Wayne will bring an emotional level that we haven’t seen before,” the director added. "It’s Barry’s movie, it’s Barry’s story, but their characters are more related than we think. They both lost their mothers to murder, and that’s one of the emotional vessels of the movie. That’s where the Affleck Batman kicks in."
Mushcietti also noted that Barry Allen is only canonically aware of Affleck's grey-templed and stone-jawed Batman, and he believes that their relationship would make a fine catalyst for Allen's journey through a warped timeline. “He’s the baseline," Mushcitti said, "He’s part of that unaltered state before we jump into Barry’s adventure, there's a familiarity there.”
The multiverse that has been defined by DC through both film and television has upheld a consistency without erasing characters or stepping on the toes of stories yet to be told. “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 said. “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.” The return of Affleck and the return of Keaton are enough to keep fans on their toes, who are impatiently waiting for Jeffery Dean Morgan to reprise Thomas Wayne, and complete a Flashpoint triple-threat.