Michael Keaton Batman Timeline

Jul 10, 2024
The first two classic Michael Keaton Batman movies have been given half a dozen or so sequels as to what happened after Batman Returns, none of which can be reconciled with each other leading to most people agreeing that they are part of a larger multiverse. These include.

Batman Forever and Batman and Robin obviously which show him fighting more villains and eventually forming the Terrific Trio with Robin and Batgirl.

Batman 1989 comic book which sees Billy Dee Williams Harvey become Two Face, a different version of Robin and is completely contradictory to Forever.

Crossover comic that reveals that Batman 1989 and Christopher Reeves Superman take place in the same universe and features a team up with them some time after Batman Returns. Again is contradictory to the other series. In this comic the Reeves/Keaton earth is called earth 789.

The Flash 2023 movie obviously which reveals that after Batman Returns, Keaton kept fighting crime and eventually made Gotham the safest place in America, but retired after killing a criminal in front of his parents. He comes back in 2013 to form the Justice League and save the earth from aliens only to fail and the earth to be destroyed. (It's possible however if Atlantis and the Amazons exist in this world as well that they stop the aliens, but either way Keaton is dead.)

The Arrowverse story Crisis on Infinite Earths finally reveals that at some point Keaton's Batman reunited with Catwoman and married her, though bizarrely the Joker returned. Also Gotham and the earth itself LOL are still around in the year 2020. For those of you who don't know the Arrowverse is a series of tv shows based on characters from DC comics that was made in the 21st century, it includes The Flash tv show, Arrow (obviously) Legends of Tomorrow etc. It adapted Crisis on Inifinte earths as a crossover story in 2020 which revealed a lot of past and current DC tv shows and films from the Burton movies to Smallville, to the DCEU/Snyderverse crossover film series were set in alternate universes to the Arrowverse, with actors from these other series appearing cameos such as Tom Welling and Ezra Miller (who briefly met the tv Flash) In this case of the Burton movies obviously Keaton didn't show up, but there was a cameo of Knox from the 1989 Batman (with the original actor reprising his role) in a Burtonesque city reading a paper that mentions Batman capturing the Joker and Bruce and Selina getting married (with Michael Keaton's picture appearing.) This earth is called earth 89 in the Arrowverse multiverse and also has a bleak ending for the Burton movies as this universe is ultimately destroyed.

Crisis on Infinite Earth's however through its universes being destroyed and reborn and merged offers up a chance for all of these to follow on from each other and for it to be the same Batman in all of them as seen here.

Basically I see it like this.

Original timeline: Batman 1989, Batman Returns, the comic book continuation which features Billy Dee Williams Two Face and the Arrowverse: Following the events of Returns Keaton continues as Batman on his own largely for decades apart from Robin for a brief period in the 90s. He fights other villains as seen in the comic like Two Face until he and Catwoman reunite and marry, leading into the Arrowverse ending. We can also assume that the Joker was revived as per the Newspaper headline. As to how that happened I think that Batman perhaps fought a version of Ra's Al Ghul in this reality who brought the Joker back by placing his corpse in the Lazarus pits, leading to the Jack Joker fighting Keaton's Batman many more times.





Earth 89 timeline

Ultimately however this timeline comes to an end in Crisis on Infinite Earths which happens in 2020. The premise for the tv Crisis is the same as the comic, in that there is an ancient evil from the dawn of time called the Anti Monitor that destroys every universe, with only a small group of heroes surviving who defeat the Anti Monitor. Unlike the comic they then use his power to restore all the universes. However not every universe is brought back as it was. Some universes histories are altered in big or small ways, others are merged into one. This happens to the Arrowverse itself, it merges with the universe the Supergirl show took place in. Prior to Crisis the Arrowverse took place on Earth 1, and Supergirl on earth 38, but after Crisis, the Arrowverse and Supergirl's merged earth is now called Earth Prime. (This can also be used to explain the blips in the DCEU. Pre Crisis Wonder Woman had shunned humanity after the 2017 movie, and Josstice League was canon. Post crisis the Snyder Cut is canon and Wonder Woman didn't become a recluse leading to WW 84.)

So let's assume the same thing happened to the Burton reality, formerly earth 89. After Crisis it was restored, but it merged with two other universes, that of Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, who pre Crisis Kilmer and Clooney were two separate realities. The new timeline is as follows.

Batman 1989, Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Batman and Robin. The single Batman who exists in this reality is still Keaton, with Kilmer and Clooney erased, and Keaton's is the one who lives out this life, but elements of their histories are now incorporated into his life and this is the timeline of the four movies together. (Though I know he still looks like Kilmer in Batman Forever, and Clooney in Batman and Robin, let's just assume in universe he looked like one guy.)


New post Crisis timeline until 2023 anyway.

However we then get The Flash 2023 afterwards. Now according to the Flash which we know is set after the Crisis, when Barry travels back to save his mother in 2023, he changes his universes history, leading to its trajectory going off course and it colliding with the new Burtonverse that is right next to it. This collision causes them to merge into one universe where the rest of The Flash movie takes place which has the following history.

Batman and Batman Returns still happened, and after Batman kept fighting crime, but he never reunited with Catwoman. He eventually made Gotham a safer place, and retired by 2013. That year he comes out of retirement to help The Flash and Supergirl against Zod, but they fail and that earth is destroyed or at least they don't save it. (It's not made clear if Atlantis and Themyscera do still exist in this world in which case humanity might have some hope.)


The Justice League of this new earth. Such a shame they don't last.

The only survivors of this horror are the two versions of The Flash who travel back to try and fix everything but fail, though the DCEU Flash goes back further and does fix it eventually by undoing his original change, which allows the two universes to remain separate. Unfortunately afterwards he accidentally creates yet another change in the process which leads to lots of universes being knocked off of their correct path due to the multiple paradoxes in his past and some of them eventually collide. (We see this happen in the movie itself, hence all those weird CGI cameos like of Christopher Reeve's Superman that we see when the other universes are being shuffled around by the Flash's actions.)

This isn't on the same scale as the Crisis, it's just those near the DCEU, but still there are more changes. The Keatonverse is separated from both the Kilmer universe and the Clooney universe in the process, with the Clooneyverse then colliding with the DCEU leading to a new timeline where Batman and Robin happened in the DCEU, which is seen at the end of the Flash.


According to spin off material Barry went back after this and finally put everything right, (we know this as spin off material set after still features Batfleck.) This allows the DCEU's history to be restored. Lets assume the Clooney and Kilmerverse were restored in the process as their own separate universes like before Crisis. However not all universes where. The Keaton and Superman Reeves universes which we know are close to the DCEU as seen in The Flash, collide in the final shuffle of realities when the Flash puts things right, resulting in them merging and a new universe called earth 798 being created from both.

Earth 798's timeline consists of Batman 1989 and Batman Returns and the Reeves Superman as seen in this comic.


This is the current timeline for them now. I'd like to think Keaton has memories of his other lives in this new reality and is inspired by that to reunite with Catwoman as he was happiest in the one with her.

Only thing I don't like about this is the Flash having it that changing the history of one universe causes it to merge with others. I tried to make it work, but that is a lousy explanation LOL for me, only for the simple reason of it makes it too easy for universes to merge. Given how many time travellers there are in well all DC universes then we'd never be done.

However I get round that by saying that since The Flash movie took place so soon after the Crisis, then the recreated multiverse was still unstable and delicate to changes for the first few years after the Crisis in 2022, but that eventually stablizes after Earth 789 is created so changes won't cause universes to fall off their trajectory and merge again, meaning that the Keaton Batman can finally know peace and end up with Catwoman without someone merging universes or changing them.
Last Edit: Jul 6,

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