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Warner Bros. recently pulled back the curtain on its rapidly expanding DC Films universe, asking Kevin Smith to host a televised special that brought fresh details on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, and the litany of superhero properties that are expected to follow in their wake. We learned more about Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman and the formation of The Justice League. But when it came time to learn how Ezra Miller’s version of The Flash would differ from the current version tearing up our television screens, we discovered they might be more similar than we’d imagined.
Ezra Miller, the breakout star of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and We Need To Talk About Kevin, was part of the DC special Tuesday night, where he talked about his take on Barry Allen, the hero who would be The Flash. In addition, DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns broke down the backstory for the upcoming movie version of The Flash. Johns said this:
Barry Allen… his mother is killed. His father is blamed for it, [and] put in prison. He becomes obsessed with forensic science. He wants to prove that his father was innocent. One night, working on his mother’s case, a bolt of lightning hits him and he gains super speed.
Comic book readers who follow The Flash’s various storylines will know that portions of this origin story were told in 2009’s The Flash: Rebirth (coincidentally penned by Geoff Johns). Meanwhile, audience members who pay attention to the Scarlet Speedster on The CW know that the description Johns gives above is exactly the foundation for Season 1 of the TV series The Flash, starring Grant Gustin as Barry Allen.
This raises an interesting question, in my mind. Why? Naturally, when you are telling a hero’s origin story, there are classic elements that you can not overlook. That’s why, trailers for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice suggest we’re going to have to travel down that infamous alley with Bruce Wayne’s parents, once again.
But if DC’s cinematic side planned on using The Flash, why would they go with a version that sounds like it is going to be a mirror image to what the DC television side is doing – and doing successfully – at the same time? There have been numerous Flashes over the years, from Jay Garrick to Wally West and even Bart Allen, Barry’s grandson. Couldn’t Ezra Miller have played one of them, in an effort to shake things up? Even when Miller speaks of the powers that his Flash will exert, they sound a LOT like what Gustin eventually develops as the Flash television series pushes on. Miller said:
He can run so fast that he can move into another plane of frequency which is another reality.
Geoff Johns confirms in the video that time travel is possible for The Flash, and that the past "is a place that he can visit." Without giving away too many spoilers for The CW’s Flash TV show, this is a concept that the program explores, and explores thoroughly. Will it feel too familiar when the Flash movie hits theaters in 2018? Here's a shot of Movie Barry Allen, solving a crime:
And here’s the segment, courtesy of The TSG Network, on The Flash from last night’s TV show. It has good insight into DC’s plan for the hero, and some amazing concept art:
But in hearing DC’s film plan for The Flash, it concerns me that it’s sticking a little too close to the TV version of the character. DC creatives have spoken in the past about the desire to keep the film and television sides separate, so that stories happening on the weekly TV shows wouldn’t affect the films, and vice versa. But The Flash is the only Justice League hero (at the moment) with a co-existing television program, which can cause some confusion. What do you think? Does the film version of Barry Allen sound too similar to the current TV version? Should DC have gone in a different direction? Or should they just have given Grant Gustin a promotion from TV Flash to Movie Flash? Weigh in below.
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