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DC’s Injustice Writer Opens Up About The Film’s Surprising Opening Death Scene

Batman and Superman in animated Injustice movie
(Image credit: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)

Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS for Injustice are ahead!

Like the video games and comic book series that inspired it, the animated Injustice movie doesn’t shy away from killing off characters. This starts right off the bat, as like in the source material, Superman is tricked by The Joker into killing Lois Lane and his unborn child, which in turn leads to Metropolis being destroyed. However, arguably the most shocking death in Injustice’s opening minutes, if not the entire movie, is The Flash’s. While the Scarlet Speedster is a prominent character in the original Injustice: Gods Among Us continuity, he was quickly taken off the board in this movie, and writer Ernie Altbacker recently opened up to me about why this was done.

To recap, after Lois Lane is kidnapped in the Injustice movie and Batman discovers The Joker has stolen Kryptonite from S.T.A.R. Labs, the Caped Crusader calls in his fellow Justice Leaguers to help find Lois. The Flash discovers a hideout where he thinks the Clown Prince of Crime is lurking, only to find Scarecrow’s corpse. Flash is then dosed with fear gas, and while incapacitated, he’s decapitated by an automated buzzsaw that pops out of the wall. While answering my question about if he faced resistance with any characters he killed off in Injustice, or if he’d been outright told he couldn’t kill a specific character, here’s what Ernie Altbacker had to say about Flash’s death:

Well it is based upon a fighting game where characters do get killed, right? So I don’t think they would have said anything. I mean, obviously we would have gotten some pushback for killing Batman or Superman or Wonder Woman when they haven’t died in the comic. Or at least, they haven’t yet or when I was reading it. Maybe they have now, who knows? But no, they were fine. Well, in one case I did kill a major character… We did that to shine more of a light on Mr. Terrific, and to take away some things like, ‘Why don’t they just Flashpoint this thing?’ To take away some options. Because when we were writing it, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War had a Flashpoint thing, the weekly television Flash show, they did the Flashpoint. And it was like, ‘Well, everybody knows about this thing now, and they’re going to ask, “Why don’t you just Flashpoint it?”’ And so we decided to get rid of that option right in the beginning, so that might not be a fan-favorite decision, but it did open up some interesting things.

Since the Injustice movie could only tell this kind of story in a little over an hour, as opposed to across hours of video game play and dozens of comic book issues, naturally creative liberties needed to be taken. With regard to killing Flash, Ernie Altbacker did that not only so that Mr. Terrific could stand in the spotlight, but also to remove time travel from the equation. With elements of Flashpoint having factored into Justice League Dark: Apokolips and The Flash TV series, not to mention the 2011 storyline being loosely adapted for the upcoming Flash movie, Altbacker felt it was better to just eliminate the Fastest Man Alive so that he couldn’t simply run back in time and prevent Superman from becoming a tyrant.

The Flash in animated Injustice movie

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)

Ernie Altbacker also mentioned during the interview how he was regretful Superman and Flash’s dynamic from the original Injustice stories couldn’t be replicated for the movie, but the runtime he had to work with necessitated that sacrifices be made, especially in comparison to the process of putting a comic book arc together. In Altbacker’s words:

We’ll see. I can see where people might have a problem… That’s another giant arc that we just had no time to do that. The whole Flash thinking that Superman’s right, and then thinking that Superman’s being wrong. That’s a buttressing arc and those work really well in the comics… It’s like, ‘Oh, I can’t get it into this issue. You know what? I’ll just put it into the next issue.’ You have unlimited space and pages basically. Yes, DC doesn’t just go, ‘Write as much as you want!’ But you get a lot of pages. You can go, ‘I don’t have a three-issue story, I think it’s turning into a five-issue story.’ And they’re like, ‘Ok, let’s roll with that.’ It’s a lot easier to do that than in the middle of your animated movie to go, ‘We need another 20 minutes.’ Warner Bros would look at you like, ‘Is this your first day? That’s impossible.’

This certainly strengthens the argument that Injustice would have been worthy of being adapted into an animated series, and maybe that can still happen someday. For now though, the Injustice movie from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment condenses the Injustice mythology so the tale can be told in one sitting, and unfortunately for Flash, he was among those selected to bite the dust in this version of events. Yuri Lowenthal voiced The Flash, as well as Mirror Master and Shazam, and he was joined by Justin Hartley as Superman, Anson Mount as Batman, Janet Varney as Wonder Woman, Laura Bailey as Lois Lane and Rama Kushna, Kevin Pollak as The Joker and Jonathan Kent, Gillian Jacobs as Harley Quinn, Reid Scott as Green Arrow and Victor Zsasz, and Oliver Hudson as Plastic Man, among many others.

Injustice is available on home media now, and the next entry in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line will be Catwoman: Hunted, which comes out on February 8, 2022. As always, keep your eyes locked on CinemaBlend for more news on upcoming DC Comics movies, both live-action and animated.

Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.