While Seth Meyers had a couple of current-day superheroes on Late Night, in the form of dynamic duo Dune and See co-stars Jason (Aquaman) Momoa and Dave (Drax) Bautista, Stephen Colbert went back to the old school for his hero-worship on Tuesday. Michael Keaton, technically there to promote the sure-to-be devastating opioid drama miniseries Dopesick, fielded Colbert’s inevitable Batman questions with characteristic (for Batman, anyway) tight lips, but did confirm at least one thing about his 30-years-later return to the role—yes, he can still rock a bat-suit.
“Svelte as ever, man,” Keaton assured Colbert of his ability to still squeeze into that rubberized protective super-gear. For Batman fans of a certain age, Michael Keaton is the Bat, his two-film turn in Tim Burton’s take on the Dark Knight seared, bat-signal-style, into their collective consciousness. And while Keaton was more than generous in praising all the big screen Batmen who similarly strapped on their versions of Brice Wayne’s nighttime attire (Will Arnett’s Lego Batman being his perhaps-unlikely favorite), he did admit that he, Arnett, Clooney, Kilmer, Affleck, Bale, Pattinson, and the rest don’t hang out much. Keaton suggested a Bat-union to address the select group’s collective post-Bat issues (the cape welts alone must be a constant irritation), and the thought of Keaton presiding over a VFW-esque conclave of Bruce Waynes, all swapping Joker war stories and joshing Clooney over those Bat-nipples is pretty delightful.
Still, Keaton wasn’t sharing much in the way of plot details for his fanboy-fueling return as Batman in the upcoming The Flash. For those DC fans in the know, it looks like Ezra Miller’s speedster will muck up the comics continuity via some too-fast dimension-hopping to the extent that he travels to a Flashpoint-derived world where the older Bruce Wayne is still forced to don the suit to protect Gotham City. (Honestly, that’s still a lot more coherent than the mess that DC made of its own continuity in the comics, as everyone who sat out that New 52 nonsense can attest.)
Regardless, on this plane of existence, the real Keaton has largely shifted into the “real-life heroes fighting actual injustice” phase of his acting career. After his crusading reporter in Spotlight, crusading lawyer in Worth, and crusading small-town doctor testifying to the insidious destructiveness of Perdue Pharma’s lucrative and over-prescribed opioids in Dopesick, Keaton seemed happy to beat up some fictional villainous types once more in The Flash. Still, the actor’s repeated name-dropping of drug-merchants Perdue and its nefarious Sackler clan in the context of the opioid crisis felt like Keaton’s version of a series of devastating Bat-kicks to the face.
Dopesick premieres on Hulu on October 13.