It blows my mind that we’ve had movies about minor comic book characters like Blade, Spawn, Ghost Rider, and Elektra while Hollywood seems completely unable to make anything out of major comic icons like Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and The Flash. There’s not a Green Lantern project anywhere in sight, over the weekend we got word that the Wonder Woman movie is once again spiraling down towards development hell, and now it looks like The Flash may be once again be in trouble too.
The project has been sitting around over at Warner Brothers for years, with Blade’s David Goyer attached to it in one way or another. At one point Ryan Reynolds (who would be beyond perfect) was rumored to play The Flash, and he’s even seemed pretty open to the idea of taking it. But now, after years of sputtering around Goyer has left a message on what appears to be his MySpace page which says his Flash project is completely and totally dead. He says, “I am sad to say that my version of The Flash is dead at WB. The God's honest truth is that WB and myself simply couldn't agree on what would make for a cool Flash film. I'm quite proud of the screenplay I turned in. I threw my heart into it and I genuinely think it would've been the basis of a ground-breaking film. But as of now, the studio is heading off in a completely different direction.”
What did he want to do that Warners didn’t? Goyer says, “To be honest, when WB first approached me about doing The Flash, it seemed a little too good to be true. A part of me thought they'd never really make a movie like that. For the record, the script did involve both Barry and Wally as The Flash. I wanted to showcase the legacy aspect of the hero -- as that was something that hadn't been explored yet in film. Like Batman Begins, the script drew on some seminal comicbook runs (Mike Baron, Mark Waid, Geoff Johns).”
If that’s what he was planning, I’ve kind of got to side with the WB here. Multiple heroes almost never work in superhero movies (just look at Batman), and I can’t imagine it being any better when the two heroes fighting for screen time are basically exactly the same superhero. Sure it might appeal to hardcore comic nerds, but keeping track of one super-fast guy is hard enough for the average moviegoer let alone trying to watch two of them zipping around on screen together. On the other hand, it would have at least been a rather unique approach to the superhero genre. It’s definitely not something that has already been done. And now it never will be.
Update! Mere moments after running this, word came from The Hollywood Reporter which says that Warners is moving on with The Flash and they've already replaced David Goyer. That's the good news. The bad news is that they're replacing him with Shawn Levy. Hey I liked Night at the Museum but even that was fun mostly on a pretty silly level. Meanwhile, everything else he's done has been pretty suspect. The Pink Panther remake and a slew of failed romantic comedies sit uneasily on his resume.
But, at least in Levy they have someone who won't push so hard to do something so completely unconventional with the movie. It'll be paint by numbers, you can be sure of that. Personally, I'd rather they'd found some sort of middle ground between Goyer and Levy but that's water under the bridge now. Expect something light and silly from Levy's Flash. Expect a clone of The Fantastic Four.