The Flash may not have achieved the same fame level as fellow superheroes Batman and Spider-Man, but he definitely has a rogues gallery that's almost as big and diverse. That means DC and Warner Bros have plenty of enticing choices to pick from for the Scarlet Speedster's upcoming movie. Recent reports have said that The Rogues will be The Flash's main antagonists, but for a long time, many fans have speculated it will be Eobard Thawne, a.k.a. Reverse-Flash, a.k.a. Professor Zoom. It's widely agreed upon that the yellow-garbed madman is Barry Allen's arch-nemesis; his antithesis, if you will. Much like using Joker in the first Batman movie or Lex Luthor in the first Superman movie, Reverse-Flash seems like the obvious villain choice. However, it would be wiser if the DC Extended Universe waits a little longer to feature this particular baddie and instead take the slow burn approach so the character can properly stand out to moviegoers.
For those who aren't familiar with Reverse-Flash, he was originally a Flash fanatic from the 25th century. Desperate to be just like his idol, Eobard recreated the experiment that gave Barry Allen his powers and meet the man who used to protect Central City. However, during his temporal traveling, he learned he was destined to become the Flash's greatest enemy. Driven mad with grief, he decided to embrace this destiny and immediately set out to make Flash's life hell, including, as revealed in The Flash: Rebirth, killing Barry Allen's mother. After playing a key role in Flashpoint, Eobard was brought back last year in the New 52 universe, only this time he isn't a conventional speedster, but instead slows down time around him to make it look like he's moving fast. Like other comic book characters, he's gone through his share of changes, but he remains arguably the Flash's most personal enemy yet, making it all the more crucial he's used properly off the printed page.
Outside of the comics, Reverse-Flash has gotten attention in Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, but it's The Flash TV series on The CW that's given him his largest platform yet. No spoilers for those who haven't seen the show (you really should), but suffice it to say, it did a tremendous job with adapting Reverse-Flash in Season 1, and he remains a recurring adversary not just on The Flash, but soon on Legends of Tomorrow, too. Whether it's his scheming nature or unhinged mind, the DC TV world has made Reverse-Flash one of its best ongoing villains yet, and needless to say, this is the definitive version of the character for viewers not familiar with the comics. That makes it all the more important that The Flash movie takes care to eventually give fans a Reverse-Flash whose faithful to the source material, but also be unique in his own way. You know, just like every other comic book hero and villain should be treated.
So if TV has done such a good job with Reverse-Flash, what is the Flash movie series supposed to do with him? First off, DO NOT take any inspiration from the TV show. It was rumored four months ago that Eobard Thane would appear as "Central City's Bill Gates" who was confined to a wheelchair due to a degenerative diseases. That sounds way too similar to the Harrison Wells plot point used in The Flash TV show, and almost comes off as blatant copying. In fact, it's probably better if The Flash movie doesn't show Reverse-Flash in person. If they must, hint at him operating in the shadows (like The Amazing Spider-Man did with Norman Osborn), but we don't need to see his face or hear his voice. At this point, enough people know who this villain is that it's better if more time passes from the TV show so that the DCEU's Reverse-Flash has a better chance of standing out. Let The Rogues antagonize Flash for the first round.
Assuming The Flash does well, a sequel will almost certainly be ordered, and that's when it will be the best time to introduce Reverse-Flash. At the earliest, The Flash 2 will come out in 2020, and the TV show may not even still be on at that point. Even if it is, at least seven years will have passed from when The Flash Season 1 had the evil speedster in the spotlight, which is more than enough "distance" for the new version of him to not draw comparisons...well, not as many of them, that is. Barry Allen will be a more experienced superhero, so he'll stand a better chance of taking his arch-nemesis down. Obviously certain Reverse-Flash elements need to remain intact. He comes from the future, he should wear the yellow costume, he has to kill Barry's mother in the past, etc. Beyond that, the movie is free to put its own spin on the character, and depending on his ultimate fate and how well the character is received by audiences, his tenure may even spread past one movie.
Remember, The Dark Knight trilogy didn't feature Joker until the second movie, but many will agree that in that continuity, he was Batman's greatest adversary. Reverse-Flash can fill the same role in the Flash movie series. As Eobard Thawne said in the TV series, these two are "enemies, rivals, opposites, reverses of one another." Flash and Reverse-Flash's battle will spread across centuries, so it's important that the DCEU carefully introduce the speedy schemer rather than, ironically, rush the job and ruin the execution. As for if The Flash 3 ever gets made (it's way too soon to tell), who should be the main villain in that movie? Gorilla Grodd, for sure...but that's speculation for another time.
The Flash races its way into theaters on March 16, 2018. If you have your own thoughts on how Reverse-Flash should be incorporated into the DCEU, let us know in the comments below.
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