While multiple members of the Justice League team have been given an opportunity to shine on the big screen -- if your name is “Batman,” you are swimming in feature-film adaptations -- others have patiently waited their turn. DC Films gradually is making time for them, with Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Shazam (Zachary Levi) finally joining Superman (Henry Cavill) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) as having movie franchises of their own. Up next will be the Scarlet Speedster known as The Flash (Ezra Miller), in a movie directed by Andy Muschietti (It), but Barry Allen’s Justice League teammate Cyborg (Ray Fisher) no longer will be part of the story, according to a Tweet shared by Fisher on Wednesday night.
In this two-page statement posted to his social media, Cyborg actor Ray Fisher tells his fans that he “received official confirmation” that Warner Bros. has “decided to remove me” from The Flash, which is scheduled to begin filming this year and reach theaters in November 2022. While there has been no official logline or plot synopsis for the movie, Andy Muschietti teased fans during the DC FanDome event that The Flash will be a version of the “Flashpoint” storyline from DC’s comic books, and will introduce the Multiverse to the film side of DC storytelling, after The CW television shows explored that concept during a massive crossover event in its various programs.
We know that Ezra Miller is playing the lead role in The Flash, continuing a role that he introduced in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and will expand on when Zack Snyder’s Justice League arrives on HBO Max, allegedly in March. It has been reported that Michael Keaton will resurrect his classic interpretation of Batman for the movie, and that Ben Affleck also will carry over his “Batfleck” persona from the SnyderVerse films. Meanwhile, there were rumors that both Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) also would appear, though they were described as cameos by outlets quoting their own sources.
Ray Fisher clarifies in his statement that those reports were a “misconception,” though, and that Cyborg was meant to have “a much larger role than a cameo.” This makes sense, for various reasons. Cyborg plays an important part in the “Flashpoint” comic-book storyline, and reports on the chemistry between Fisher and Ezra Miller during the filming of Zack Snyder’s Justice League were strong. There were rumors regarding pairing the young actors together in a film back in 2016-17, so I think many fans just assumed, for years, that Victor Stone had a part in The Flash.
Ray Fisher does not specifically state why Warner Bros. Studios has removed him from the cast of The Flash, but his statements suggest that he believes it is because he stated on December 30, 2020 that he can not participate in any DC film that is under the leadership of current DC Films President Walter Hamada. In a statement that later was picked up by Variety, WarnerMedia does clarify that it was Fisher's intent not to work for Hamada that led to their decision to move forward without him.
Fisher has been engaged in a fight against those he says mistreated him on the set of the Justice League reshoots in 2017. Initially, Fisher called out replacement director Joss Whedon, and producers Geoff Johns and Jon Berg. Other members of the Justice League cast have voiced their support for Fisher (including Jason Momoa and Gal Gadot, to a certain degree), while others have chosen to remain silent on the issue, at least in public. An investigation was launched into Fisher’s claims on on-set abuses, and according to Fisher’s own tweets, was completed on Dec. 11, resulting in “remedial action.” No details have been revealed about the investigation or its findings.
As expected following Fisher’s Tweet, the other shoe dropped as Warner Bros. answered. In a statement, WarnerMedia Chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff supported Hamada, saying in part:
The standoff has become a “He said / They said,” with both sides digging in. Fans backing Ray Fisher are showing their support with the hashtag #IStandWithRayFisher, with many claiming they will boycott The Flash because of these developments. On the other side, WarnerMedia is releasing statements asking Fisher to “move on” following the culmination of the investigation.
Did Warner Bros. remove Cyborg from its script for The Flash because of the allegations that Ray Fisher has raised regarding key executives at the studio? That's sounding more and more likely. Fisher Tweeted publicly that he can’t, in good conscience, appear in a film that Walter Hamada is behind. The studio now claims to have said, “OK,” and removed him. Given the fact that The Flash movie has gone through multiple revisions over the years, with numerous screenwriters and directors attached to the project long before Andy Muschietti signed on, it makes we wonder what role Cyborg played. Maybe Muschietti’s approach to the material focused more on getting Keaton and Affleck to participate, and he never had Cyborg as a significant player in his story as a character. That’s something I’d love to know with certainty, though so many details in this complicated story remain unknown.
What is certain is what a missed opportunity Cyborg and Ray Fisher’s portrayal of Cyborg now seems to be. There was such excitement when the character was first announced. He first appeared in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and has been described as “the heart” of the version of Justice League that will be coming to HBO Max. There was, at one time, hopes for a standalone solo Cyborg film that Ray Fisher would carry. It’s easy to look back and wonder what-if.
It’s unclear where exactly Ray Fisher or DC will go from here. I don’t think this is how anyone involved wanted this situation to end, and there’s a chance the arguments will continue to play out in public for weeks to come. We will continue to bring you updates as they arrive.
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