Batgirl Images Confirm The Return Of Michael Keaton's Batman And Another Key DC Character

Last month, we reported that Michael Keaton had joined the cast of "Batgirl," the upcoming HBO Max movie set in the DC Extended Universe. The news first leaked when a cast list made its way online; it has since been deleted, but The Wrap independently confirmed that Keaton is reprising his Batman role for "Batgirl." Production on the film is already underway in Glasgow, Scotland, and now some unofficial images from the set have popped up online. These images would appear to further confirm that Keaton's Batman exists in the world of "Batgirl" — and not only him, but also his sidekick, Robin.

In "Batgirl," Leslie Grace stars as Barbara Gordon and J.K. Simmons reprises his "Justice League" role as her father, Commissioner James Gordon. We can't post the set images here, but they show some street art on a brick wall with Batman in his classic Keaton-era costume. Robin is next to him, and though his face is blurred out, he's also wearing a comics-accurate costume, something we've yet to really see in live-action renditions of the characters outside of the 1960s "Batman" series, with Burt Ward as Robin.

I can't personally vouch for The Singapore Time, and there are a couple of spelling and factual errors in their article that make me think it should be taken with a grain of salt. However, the images themselves don't lie (unless this is all just an elaborate ruse from Warner Bros.).

The Alternate Robin Universe

Last year's DC FanDome event confirmed that the DCEU is going the multiverse route with "The Flash," similar to what we just saw the Marvel Cinematic Universe do in "Spider-Man: No Way Home." Keaton's voice and the back of his Bat-ears were on prominent display in the first teaser for "The Flash," which featured him saying, "You can go anywhere, right? Any timeline? Any universe?"

Somewhere out there, there's an alternate universe where Batman is running around onscreen with a Black Robin by his side. Director Ivan Reitman ("Ghostbusters") originally wanted Eddie Murphy to play Robin opposite Bill Murray's Batman in the 1989 film. That was before Tim Burton took over and made the project his own. Robin was included in early drafts of the script for "Batman Returns," too, with different drafts depicting him as a teen gang leader or a teen Batmobile mechanic. Marlon Wayans was officially cast and signed for a sequel and they even had him attend a wardrobe fitting. Ultimately, Robin was dropped as the screenwriters sought to tighten up the script and reduce excess characters.

Chris O'Donnell went on to portray Robin in "Batman Forever," but we know Keaton wasn't a fan of that movie or the direction that Joel Schumacher took the Caped Crusader. If I had to bet, given his blurry face on the wall, I'd wager that Robin might be dead in "Batgirl," in keeping with the "Death in the Family" comics tradition and the Robin-as-an-Easter-egg movie tradition of "Batman v Superman." Either that or maybe's he's grown and gone solo as Nightwing.

Whatever the case, it seems more likely that Keaton's Batman will be mentoring Batgirl in some capacity, perhaps reluctantly so if Robin is dead. Since her costume and superhero identity are patterned after his, it's not a stretch to imagine that she looks up to him and wants to follow in his footsteps, similar to Kate Bishop with Clint Barton on "Hawkeye." You never know, though — maybe Robin will pop up in the movie, too.