In terms of news, we didn't see coming; this is probably one of the biggest. Ben Affleck very publicly walked away from the role of Batman several years ago for some very good reasons. His heart didn't seem to be in the role anymore, and he was struggling with substance abuse problems. However, Affleck seems to be on the road to recovery and seems to be in a better place. Still, no one thought that he would be returning to the DC universe anytime soon. That does not appear to be the case anymore. According to Vanity Fair, Affleck is going to be reprising the role of Bruce Wayne in the upcoming Flash movie directed by Andy Muschietti. We already know that Michael Keaton is going to be reprising the role of Bruce Wayne in this movie as well, so we can now confirm, more or less, that some time travel shenanigans are going to happen in The Flash.
"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 said in an interview. "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. … 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."
The time travel shenanigans very much seem to be in those cards, and we know that DC isn't going for the more unified cinematic universe like Marvel did but instead bringing in the concept of alternate Earths. We saw this explored on TV with the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover where Ezra Miller made a surprise cameo once and for all confirming the validity of the TV and movie universes and bringing them together while also keeping them apart.
"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."
"There have been some all sorts of stories and things he said himself about having a very hard time playing Batman, and it had been difficult for him," she said. "I think it was more about a difficult time in his life. When we approached him, he's now in a very different time in his life. He was very open to it, which was a bit of a surprise to us. It was a question mark. … We are all human and go through great times in our lives and terrible times in our lives," she added. "Right now he's in a place where he can actually enjoy being Batman. … It's a pivotal role, but at the same time it's a fun part."
At the moment, The Flash is set to start filming in 2021 for a 2022 release date and is considered the most troubled of the DC productions as it has gone through multiple directors and scripts at this point. However, bringing in big names like Keaton and Affleck seems to show that Muschietti has a good handle on what he's doing for this movie. We're getting time travel and alternate universe shenanigans on the big screen—what a time to be alive.