When DC revealed that Tim Burton’s genre-defining film was getting a comic sequel with Batman ’89, it was met with a storm of support from fans. Though the film had three sequels, each one deviated further and further from the 1989 original, meaning that there’s always been demand for a true follow-up. However, nothing exists in a vacuum anymore, and that’s especially true for the multimedia empires surrounding superheroes. With Michael Keaton’s Batman set to also return to the screen in the future Flash movie, is it possible that Batman ’89 be more than a sequel to Batman but also a prequel to The Flash?
The new comic from Batman screenwriter Sam Hamm and artist Joe Quinones is described as a true followup to Time Burton’s 1989 classic. Not only will fans finally get to see Billy Dee William’s Harvey Dent become Two-Face, but the comic will also explore Catwoman’s unresolved plot from Batman Returns as well as introducing a new Robin, distinct from the Chris O’Donnell version first seen in Batman Forever. But does any of that leave room for a connection to The Flash, and why would there be a connection in the first place?
While the bulk of the series will obviously focus on resolving the handful of dangling plot-threads left by Burton, that doesn’t mean it won’t have any connection to The Flash. The DCEU’s Flash could easily make a cameo appearance at the series’ end, enlisting the aid of Michael Keaton’s Batman. It might seem far-fetched for a comic sequel to a 1989 movie to tie-in to an ultra-high budget blockbuster, but recent trends have shown that anything’s possible. The movie Flash met T.V. Flash in the Arrowverse’s recent Crisis On Infinite Earths event. Looking at the competition, it becomes even more likely. If Disney can reveal important plot details about Star Wars: Episode IX in Fortnite, then DC shouldn’t have a problem putting a teaser for The Flash at the end of Batman ’89.
While that means it’s possible for there to be a connection between Batman ’89 and The Flash, is it likely? That’s a much more difficult question to answer, but there is some circumstantial evidence to suggest so. This is not the first attempt at reviving Tim Burton’s Batman universe in comic book form. Batman ’89 artist Joe Quinones had originally worked on a sequel to Batman Returns along with writer/artist Kate Leth, but that fell through for reasons unknown. With fans questioning why the book was canceled, it’s evident that there was a demand for it. It’s possible that it wasn’t canceled because of lack of interest, but instead because it interfered with DC’s broader plans for the world of Tim Burton’s Batman.
What is far more ambiguous though is the timing of everything. Batman ’89 is set to release on July 27th 2021, almost a year and a half before The Flash’s November 4th 2022. It could be that DC is playing the long game with Keaton’s Batman and that any references to The Flash will come later on, but it’s still unclear how many issues Batman ’89 will be. Of course, there’s also the possibility that Batman ’89 will be entirely its own thing. It was announced right alongside Superman ’78 which has no obvious tie-ins to DC’s broader media empire. Still, eagle-eyed fans should be on the lookout for any references to The Flash when Batman ’89 releases digitally.