For a speedster, the Flash is perpetually running late. In terms of his solo film, it’s much of the same. There have been constant delays and a game of musical chairs with directors from the moment it was first announced. Right now, there are many people who wouldn’t be surprised if it’s scrapped entirely.
Well, star Ezra Miller believes it’s still set for release. In a recent interview promoting Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, he opened up about The Flash‘s delay. “The reason why we are late, and this is the honest to God truth… We’re all — and I include myself in this — we are very meticulously focused on making a movie that’s not just one of the greatest superhero movies that we can possibly make. This movie’s also going to be a gift to the fans,” he said.
In truth, that does sound like the perfect PR-approved response to the question, but there was something else rather telling when Miller elaborated. “We’re talking about sparking a whole new universe, it’s not just the DC multiverse, it’s the speedster multiverse. And the speedsters are the ones who connect all the disparate pieces of it,” he explained.
Miller mentions the multiverse more than a few times, which indicates there could be several timelines at play when the film is finally released. Naturally, this leads to the belief that the solo film might still be a reboot for the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). It’s no secret that The Flash was mooted to be a Flashpoint-type event where many predicted the universe could be “fixed.” However, the latest rumours are that the idea has been put on ice.
The thing is, a full-blown Flashpoint storyline might not even be necessary at this stage since the likes of Aquaman proved there’s still a lot of life left in the DCEU. And Warner Bros. likely knows it, too, hence the pause in The Flash‘s production.
With Joker operating outside of continuity, The Batman likely to follow suit, and other movies still set within the DCEU, Warner Bros. and DC have opened the gates to the multiverse already. It allows the studio to tell the stories it wants without being bogged down by the shared universe sandbox.
Even so, there might be a need for some form of shared continuity in the long run — especially if there’s a desire to do another Justice League film in the future for example. Ben Affleck isn’t coming back and there’s a younger Batman on the way. Additionally, no one knows what is Henry Cavill’s status at the moment. How would Warner Bros. sort out these issues without a full-scale reboot? The answer is still through The Flash, but in a more subtle way.
It’s more than probable that the studio is biding its time and waiting to see the audience’s reactions to the upcoming film slate. By doing so, it’ll be able to pick and choose what works and focus on doing more of it. There’s the possibility of several mini-universes, such as a Bat-Universe, or even a bunch of one-shots that lead nowhere. Still, it remains possible to bring everything together if the need arises.
The trick is to make The Flash more like a Convergence storyline than Flashpoint. By the end of the movie, there would be one timeline where all the main characters reside and are able to interact without needing time-travel elements in every film. In addition, it makes the job of the filmmakers much easier as it’ll play out more like Back to the Future rather than a live-action rehash of The Flashpoint Paradox. From the studio’s perspective, it’s a win-win here since it won’t need to address the things it chose to leave behind (i.e. Jared Leto’s Joker) and it can continue forward as if it was all part of the plan from the get-go (everyone knows that studios don’t like to admit when they mess up).
Looking at the Arrowverse, it’s a template that’s proven successful in the past. It’s allowed characters like Black Canary to be replaced by Black Siren, introduced numerous Harrison Wells over the seasons, and created a jumping-on point for someone like Batwoman. Moreover, it isn’t a complex concept nor does it require intense exposition for the fans.
From the outside, The Flash might appear to be loitering in production hell. The signs all point to it being a troubled film. However, it’s more than likely that it’s Warner Bros.’ backup plan and it’ll pull the trigger when it has to. After all, all good card players know that you keep your ace for as long as possible.