There are very few comic-book movies that have gone through the development hell that The Flash has gone through over the past decade, but it seems as though fans will finally get to see their favorite scarlet speedster get his own standalone film. With the DC adaptation set to premiere in June, as well as two trailers being dropped with massive implications about what the movie will hold for DC’s future, it’s safe to say that fans are already counting down the minutes until they can race to the theaters to see it.
All of that being said, there is a huge question mark looming over the superhero movie that unfortunately won’t be answered for seemingly years to come. James Gunn, the new co-CEO of DC Studios and the man at the helm of the new DCU, stated back in January that The Flash will be “resetting” the current Snyderverse of the DCEU and will be moving forward with plans of a fresh reboot for the entire DC franchise. While critics of the DCEU (which has now been around for a decade) were excited to hear about Gunn taking over for the studio, it left a lot of pondering from fans about what it would mean for some of the actors and actresses currently occupying the roles of DC’s heroes and villains.
So, with the news from Gunn that The Flash will be resetting the entire DCU and allow the studio to move forward with Gunn’s plans for the future, the question looming over the superhero movie is thus – how exactly will the movie reset the entirety of the DCU?
Flashpoint Comic Concept
While the details haven’t been revealed to the public, it was announced long ago that The Flash movie would be loosely following the same story arc as the Flashpoint comic-book series. Now, a large portion of movie-goers are also comic-book fans and know what happens during said arc, but there are some audience members who aren’t as familiar with the comic-book storylines as others.
Essentially, the Flashpoint comic centers around the concept that Barry Allen wakes up in a universe that is vastly different from his own – a world where Cyborg is the main protector of Earth instead of Superman, Bruce Wayne was killed instead of his parents which resulted in Thomas Wayne becoming Batman and Martha Wayne becoming Joker, the world is being destroyed due to a war between the Atlanteans and the Amazonians, and Barry’s mother is alive while he himself has no super speed. It’s revealed throughout the story that this alternate universe is a result of Barry traveling back in time in order to prevent the murder of his mother, which then causes drastic ripple effects in the future.
Now, as stated, The Flash movie is set to follow this same story-arc loosely with Barry Allen traveling back in time to prevent the murder of his mother, which then causes catastrophic changes to the current DCEU timeline. This will then allow the studio to ‘reset’ the DC film and tv universe and move forward with James Gunn’s plans for the future.
With Barry Allen traveling back in time and changing the events of his current timeline, that’s why characters such as Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck’s Batman will be appearing in the film, as well as Sasha Calle’s new version of Supergirl. It’s also why the possibilities are nearly limitless with what the studio and director, Andres Muschietti, could do in terms of cameos for the film – and as it turns out, they thought so as well.
The director revealed in a recent interview that the film originally had a long list of cameos in mind that included Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, Marlon Brando as Jor-El, Grant Gustin as his television version of The Flash, and Cesar Romero and Burgess Meredith as Joker and Penguin. It should also be noted that a character who ends up playing a large part in the Flashpoint comic-book story-arc is Dr. Manhattan – a character that has already been portrayed on the screen in DC’s Watchmen movie as well as HBO’s Watchmen series.
Unfortunately, the director also revealed that the original unedited version of the movie was 4 hours long and that a significant number of cameos they had planned had to be cut. That said, reports indicate that there are still multiple surprise cameos planned for the movie and audiences shouldn’t have to worry about the fan appeal.
Upcoming DC Projects
So sincere The Flash will be reseting the DCU, what exactly does that mean for the projects that DC has slated for the near future? Well, as it turns out, The Flash will luckily be giving DC a little wiggle room in that regard. Gunn announced in an interview back in February that the scarlet speedster movie won’t be a complete reboot of the DCEU, but rather a fluid reset. His exact words were, “(The) Flash resets many things, not all things. Some characters remain the same, some do not.”
This is why/how Amanda Waller was a part of the prior DCEU over the last several years, yet how she’ll be remaining with the new DCU under the helm of James Gunn. In short, Gunn more or less made it clear that characters from prior DC projects will still technically be eligible to appear in future DCU projects due to the inclusion of the multiverse concept in The Flash. So, what that means for upcoming DC projects like Blue Beetle and Aquaman is that they could still ultimately work their way into the new DCU, seemingly based off of fan appeal and sequel potential.
However, it could also mean that while The Flash is set to feature several cameos from prior DC characters, we could also be getting glimpses of future DC characters that the studio has planned for one of their slated projects. After all, Supergirl is appearing in the movie and her stand-alone film is one of Gunn’s planned DCU projects. Perhaps a cameo from a new Superman, Batman, Robin, Green Lantern, or even Swamp Thing wouldn’t be out of the question.
What does all of this information truly mean in terms of how the DCU will change? It means that while the media has portrayed Gunn’s plans as a full reboot, The Flash will ultimately be a proper ‘love letter’ to DC fans and projects of the past while establishing a firm foundation for all of their future plans. In essence, The Flash will be the film that allows DC the ultimate amount of wiggle room in terms of creative freedom moving forward, while still servicing the fans with a project that makes sense in terms of a continuous timeline.
A proper way to look at the situation, and the DCU moving forward, is almost exactly how the Flashpoint comic altered the DC comic-book landscape. The conclusion of the Flashpoint story-arc saw Barry merge with a version of himself that resulted in 3 different DC timelines (“New Earth” of DC proper, Vertigo universe in Earth-13, WildStorm universe of Earth-50) combining to form a brand new universe known as The New 52, allowing the remnants of the three universes to coexist with each other.
Looking at it from that perspective, The Flash will reset the DCU in the sense that it won’t ignore that the SnyderVerse ever existed, nor any of the other prior DC films and television shows. Instead, it will act as if each prior DC project were its own universe in the DC multiverse and will allow said universes to coexist among each other. In this way, The Flash‘s reset should be honoring DC’s past while preparing for their future – a very welcome change for DC fans.