In July 2022, Ben Affleck was spotted filming scenes with Jason Momoa during Aquaman 2‘s extensive reshoots. Momoa even posted a picture of him and Affleck on the Warner Bros lot, writing, “REUNITED Bruce and Arthur […] All great things happening Aquaman 2.”
But this was before the DCU‘s change in direction, and now it looks like the DC character won’t be returning at all. With the new movie being the DCEU’s last, it no longer makes sense for the Batman actor to appear in Aquaman 2. Apparently, it isn’t enough for The Flash to be a terrible movie. It has to make the remaining DCEU film terrible, too.
In an interview with Empire, Aquaman 2 director James Wan confirms that while they “did shoot Batman scenes,” they won’t necessarily be in the film. He describes the Batfleck footage “just to have something in the bank in case we needed to explain time continuity if we came out first. But it ended up with Lost Kingdom coming after The Flash.”
The release dates of DCEU films have changed so much that we barely know how to watch the DC movies in order anymore. Aquaman 2 was initially meant to arrive in December 2022, but COVID meant the film was pushed to March 2023. But when the Aquaman 2 release date was pushed back again, this time to December 2023, it meant that it would be coming out after The Flash’s theatrical release of June 2023.
Consequently, because The Flash’s storyline involved getting rid of Batfleck and Michael Keaton’s Batman (or, at least, a version of him), either of these Batmans showing up in Aquaman 2 would compromise the DCEU’s continuity.
If anything, this shows why interconnected movie universes can kill a franchise rather than enrich it. It causes a domino effect, where the schedule changes of one film or TV show can impact the content and continuity of another.
So, unless George Clooney’s Batman appears in the 2023 movie, we can forget any chance of Batman teaming up with Arthur Curry for one last battle. We lost out on a final glimpse of Batfleck, and it’s basically all The Flash’s fault.
The DCEU is such a mess at this point we fully welcome James Gunn and Peter Safran’s DC slate. Suicide Squad 2 was one of the best movies the DC has done in years, so under Gunn’s guidance, we have high hopes for Chapter 1 Gods and Monsters.