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Michael Keaton Weighs In on Batgirl Movie Cancellation, Uncertainty About His Future as Batman

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Michael Keaton with Leslie Grace and director Adil El Arbi
Keaton with Grace and director Adil El Arbi (Courtesy of

Michael Keaton can only assume that Warner Bros. Discovery’s shelving of the nearly-complete, HBO Max-bound Batgirl movie was a “good” business decision — even though it played a role in derailing his return to the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman.

Asked by TVLine for his reaction to Batgirl’s unceremonious cancellation, Keaton said in the Emmys press room on Monday night, “I think it was a business decision; I’m going to assume it was a good one.

“I really don’t know,” he made a point to add. “I don’t follow that that much.”

Keaton had just collected his first ever Emmy, for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie, for Hulu’s Dopesick.

The decision to shelve the nearly-complete Batgirl movie — which was intended to bypass theaters and premiere on HBO Max — sent shockwaves across the entertainment biz in early August. The standalone pic, starring In the Heights‘ Leslie Grace as Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl, by some accounts was not testing well enough with audiences to instill confidence in Warner Bros. Discovery.

“We’re not going to launch [a] movie until it’s ready. We’re not going to launch a movie to make a quota. And we’re not going to put a movie out unless we believe in it,” WBD’s President and CEO David Zaslav later explained. “Particularly with DC, where we think we want to pivot and we want to elevate and we want to focus.”

Batgirl was to mark one of Keaton’s first encores as Batman since 1992’s Batman Returns. He also reprised the role for the long-delayed, potentially-in-limbo, Ezra Miller-starring The Flash standalone movie, and he reportedly has been replaced with Ben Affleck in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (in theaters Dec. 23).

So, when might Keaton next, actually be seen as Batman…? If ever?

“I don’t know. We’ll see,” Keaton told TVLine. Reprising the role for Batgirl “was great, it was fun,” he said. “I really have no idea.” (With reporting by Vlada Gelman)

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