Batman’s future is extremely busy over the next couple of years with a slew of upcoming movies, TV shows, and even podcasts. Some of these scheduled projects have been long-awaited, while others are freshly announced. One thing that makes these projects stand out is that each one has a different actor portraying the Dark Knight, and sometimes they have more than one.
The recasting of such characters is nothing new – just as with James Bond or Doctor Who, audiences expect a new actor to take up the role down the line. Batman has already been an extreme example of this. His first on-screen appearance came from Lewis G. Wilson in 1943’s Columbia serial Batman, and his first audio appearance was by voice actor Stacy Harris in 1945 on The Adventures of Superman. Since then, many more actors have portrayed the caped crusader with the character appearing in everything from audio dramas, to animated series, and live-action TV and film to video games.
Many longtime fans of Batman may have a favorite actor who they feel created a definitive version of the role. While a couple of those actors might be donning Batman’s cape and cowl once more, fresh actors will be bringing new ideas to the character while paying homage to the many iterations that have gone before. So here are all of the upcoming Batman portrayals that have been confirmed to date.
Iain Glen – Titans Season 3
Batman had a presence throughout season 1 of Titans, represented by Dick Grayson’s fears, Wayne Manor, and awkward shots of a man in a Batsuit, but no actor fully portrayed the man. Season 2 brought in Iain Glen (Game of Thrones) to play an older Bruce Wayne as a mentor figure to Grayson (Brenton Thwaites). While Season 3 will see Glen return to his role as Batman, it may be a brief appearance. The Titans season 3 trailer teases Batman losing control with Glen’s character declaring himself done and asking Grayson to take up the mantle and do better. It’s unclear whether that means that Thwaites might be taking on the cowl himself, but it seems unlikely as the show has so far focused on the ex-Robin stepping out from his mentor’s shadow and he has only just claimed the title of Nightwing.
Robert Pattinson – The Batman
Although the legacy of his role as Edward Cullen in Twilight plagued Robert Pattinson for a long time, he has actively worked to distance himself from the franchise. His more recent appearances in films as Henry Costin in The Lost City of Z and Neil in Tenet have helped to cement this, and tackling the role of Batman is clearly the next step in that. While several recent and upcoming portrayals have focused on an older, battle-worn Batman (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Titans), The Batman will revisit the character’s youth, while seeming to skip over retreading his origin story. The film will follow the character during his second year as the vigilante crime-fighter, with plans for this to be the first in a Pattinson-fronted Batman trilogy, and to strike a much darker, more realistic tone than many prior Batman outings. An HBO Max prequel series taking place during Bruce Wayne’s first year as Batman is also planned, but it is unclear whether Pattinson will reprise his role.
Ben Affleck – The Flash
The most recent actor to portray Batman for the big screen, Ben Affleck, will be returning to the role in 2022’s The Flash. Affleck has previously had a strange relationship with the character as fans were originally outraged by his casting in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but his performance garnered a positive critical response. After a brief cameo in Suicide Squad (2016) and a starring role in Justice League, Affleck stepped away from The Batman citing health issues, causing the film to take the new, younger-focused direction. After taking time for recovery, Affleck’s return to the role alongside Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen/The Flash promises to further explore his past as he connects with Allen over the murder of his mother. Considering the positive response to seeing Affleck’s Batman again in the Snyder Cut, his return to the proper DCEU arguably couldn’t come at a better time.
Michael Keaton – The Flash
If audiences were surprised to hear that Ben Affleck would be returning to his role as the Dark Knight after being absent for a few years, the news that Michael Keaton would be appearing as Batman alongside him came as a shock. Originally appearing in Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) and then returning for Batman Returns (1992), by the time of The Flash’s release, Keaton will have been absent from the franchise for over three decades. How will this appearance work? When Barry Allen travels back in time to try and save his mother, his actions have unintended consequences on the future of his timeline resulting in the appearance of an older Batman (Keaton). Keaton’s appearance will maintain Batman and Batman Returns as canon while discarding the story beats from the other 1990s Batman films (Batman Forever and Batman & Robin) which had other actors play the role. Keaton’s more recent superhero outing has been as Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and he seems set to reprise Vulture in Sony’s upcoming Morbius.
Winston Duke – Batman Unburied
DC is set to return to the original format of comic book adaptations as they have announced an extended deal with Spotify to produce audio dramas based around many of their characters. The first of these to be revealed has been Batman Unburied. Winston Duke will take on the role of Batman himself in an altered version of the character’s narrative where, instead of being a billionaire playboy, the character will be a forensic pathologist in Gotham Hospital as he faces off against a serial killer called The Harvester. Duke’s rise to prominence came in another superhero property as he appeared in the MCU as M’Baku, the leader of the Jabari, in Black Panther before reprising the role in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. He is expected to reprise that role again in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Jeffrey Wright – Batman: The Audio Adventures
Alongside their deal with Spotify, DC has also worked to create an HBO Max exclusive podcast centered around Batman. The Audio Adventures will hear Jeffrey Wright as Batman in a more comedic take on the franchise, backed by a supporting cast heavily drawn from Saturday Night Live alumni. Jeffrey Wright’s film and TV career are extensive, seeing him appear as Felix Lichter in Daniel Craig’s James Bond movies, and as Bernard Lowe in Westworld. With no Marvel or DC credits prior to 2021, Wright is now entering the world of comic adaptations in full force as he’s currently voicing The Watcher in Marvel’s acclaimed Disney+ series What If…? and is also set to portray James Gordon in The Batman, alongside the aforementioned Robert Pattinson as Gotham’s watchful protector. That will make Wright the first actor to ever play both Gordon and Batman, a feat it’s possible may never be duplicated.
Anson Mount – Injustice
Injustice is an upcoming animated film based on the 2013 video game Injustice: Gods Among Us and the comic book series Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year One. The story sees an unhinged Superman grieving the death of Lois Lane attempting to take over the Earth, while other DC heroes attempt to stop him. Although Kevin Conroy, of Batman: The Animated Series fame, voiced Batman in the game, the Injustice movie has cast Anson Mount to take on the mantle. Mount has recently starred as Captain Christopher Pike in Star Trek: Discovery and also appeared in Marvel’s short-lived, non-MCU comic adaptation Inhumans as Black Bolt.
Ethan Hawke – Batwheels
The parade of new Batman projects continues, this time via a new animated show for both Cartoon Network and HBO Max called Batwheels. Batwheels has a rather odd promise, which is almost a combination of the Batman universe with Pixar’s Cars franchise. Batwheels centers on the title characters, those being sentient vehicles employed by Batman to help fight crime in Gotham City. Ethan Hawke, star of Training Day, Sinister, Before Sunrise, and dozens of other movies and shows, is voicing Batman this time out. Batman’s partner will be Duke Thomas (voiced by Al Hudson), the first Black character to take up the mantle of Robin, and a character ripped directly from the pages of DC Comics. Hawke is also set to join the Marvel live-action world soon, playing a mysterious villain in Disney+’s Moon Knight.
- The Batman (2022)Release date: Mar 04, 2022
- DC League of Super-Pets (2022)Release date: May 20, 2022
- The Flash (2022)Release date: Nov 04, 2022
- Black Adam (2022)Release date: Jul 29, 2022
- Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2022)Release date: Dec 16, 2022
- Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)Release date: Jun 02, 2023
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