Production of the DC Extended Universe superhero film The Flash is well underway and many leaks are coming out. Previously, the looks of both Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) and Supergirl (Sasha Calle) were leaked. Recently, one of the biggest leaks that exploded on social media was the return of the Tim Burton Batmobile as well as a redesigned Batcave.
The Burtonverse Batman
The first Batman film from 1989, directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton in the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman, is considered a masterpiece and one of the most influential films of all time. Warner Bros. had been working for a long time to recapture the magic of the Christopher Reeve Superman: The Movie for over a decade, but with the Dark Knight as the main character.
However, initial attempts did not push through due to the campy reputation that the character gained after the Adam West live action television series from the late 1960s.
Things changed when the mid-1980s saw a resurgence of Batman’s popularity, thanks to the grim and gritty approach in stories such as Batman: Year One, The Killing Joke, and The Dark Knight Returns. Thanks to the efforts of Michael Uslan and other creators with a similar vision, the new Batman film would be more grounded and emulate the darker tone of both Batman’s original version and the gritty new take.
But it would be thanks to director Tim Burton that the film would find its unique flavor, with the gothic and post-modern designs for Batman and the city of Gotham. It would not be a smooth production. Burton was known for his quirky and unusual creative choices, as seen in films such as Beetlejuice and Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. In particular, his choice of Michael Keaton for the role of playboy billionaire and caped crusader Bruce Wayne/Batman was one of the most controversial, receiving massive negative responses from hardcore fans.
Released in 1989, Batman would break box office records and set the tone for the new era of superhero films onward. Many still consider the 1989 Batman movie to be the best, even with the popular Dark Knight film trilogy reboot in the 2000s under the helm of Christopher Nolan.
Chicks love the car
The artistic vision of the Burton Batman films was one of the key elements that made them both unique and popular. Everything from the atmospheric, gothic themed set design of Gotham City by the late Anton Furst to the costumes of both Batman and the Joker (played by Jack Nicholson) have become iconic. And none exemplifies this more than the sleek but powerful Batmobile introduced in the first film.
The previous idea of what the Batmobile looks like came from the aforementioned Adam West series. Designed by George Barris, the 1960s Batmobile was a beautiful machine in its own right. However, it had a more contemporary feel with comical elements (such as printed logos for every button) and open canopies for Batman and Robin.
The 1989 Batmobile had a more menacing look. While still sporting the now-trademark jet engine at the back, the newer Batmobile had a sleeker outline. Gone is the open canopy or convertible look, this car had a deployable cockpit roof. It was also as tough as a tank, able to withstand gunfire and explosives that can level a building (as seen in the climax). This Batmobile was built for a war while still looking like an armored hot rod.
With the announcement of Michael Keaton’s return in the role for the upcoming The Flash movie, fans anticipated seeing this popular version of the Batmobile, as well. There had been speculation that the Batmobile might have some new design elements to reflect the 30 years that have passed, making it more along the lines of the Tumbler (from the Dark Knight trilogy) or the more recent Arkham-style of the Ben Affleck version.
Not messing with perfection
Thus, it was a pleasant surprise for fans to discover that the Batmobile will be nearly exactly the same as it originally looked in Batman and the sequel Batman Returns. Leaked photos from the set of The Flash were shared on social media such as Twitter and Reddit groups. The photos showed the Batmobile’s side and rear, as well as a shot of the updated Batcave.
The leaked Flash set pics with the 1989 Batmobile in Keaton's Batcave are so surreal to see. In recent times, that Batmobile has only been on display in WB exhibits, but now it's being used in an actual movie again.
I'm glad it looks exactly the same too and wasn't "modernized". pic.twitter.com/3GS7d8Kjck
— TheBatstan (@TheBatstan) July 17, 2021
However, the posts and photos were quickly DMCA'ed at the request of DC Entertainment/Warner Bros. Pictures. Still, the revelation had sent the fandom in a buzz, appreciating that the production is sticking with the classic look.
With how much attention is being given and production resources with recreating the 1989 Batman world, it would appear that the rumors that Keaton will transition to the DCEU, with the events of The Flash altering the status quo of what was established in the previous films, are true.
But what does this mean for Ben Affleck’s Batman/Bruce Wayne, who will also be reprising his character for the Flash film? Would the Keaton Batman simply travel and stay around to the DCEU or will he replace Affleck in an altered history due to the actions of Barry Allen/The Flash (Ezra Miller)? On that note, DC Comics recently debuted a new ongoing comic book series set in the Burton films.
Titled Batman ’89 and written by Sam Hamm (who wrote the original screenplay) with art by Joe Quinones (Dial H for Hero), the comic book explores the continuation of the events right after Batman Returns (and disregarding the later Batman Forever and Batman and Robin films). Could the events in this comic book influence the Keaton Batman in The Flash film? Tune in next time to find out. Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!
Scheduled for theatrical release on November 4, 2022 and directed by Andy Muschetti, The Flash stars Ezra Miller as Barry Allen/The Flash, Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Sasha Calle as Supergirl, Kiersey Clemons as Iris West.