The long, contentious, odd development history of Warner Bros.’ The Flash movie continues. This week it seems confirmed that The Flash movie has found its new director, again.
Now it would appear that the summer rumors that It and It: Chapter Two director Andy Muschietti was in talks with Warner Bros. to take the helm of the troubled superhero project seem to have been settled. And whatever contract issues needed to be hammered out are done, as the filmmaker confirmed to Fandango that The Flash will be his next project. Muschietti will be helming a script by Christina Hodson, the screenwriter behind Bumblebee and the upcoming DC movie Birds of Prey. His frequent producing partner and sister, Barbara Muschietti, will produce, joining Michael Disco. Will Muschietti’s version of the film be the one that will finally see the light of day? And do fans of the DCEU really care at this point?
It’s been a very long, strange trip thus far.
Back in July 2013, Greg Berlanti was developing a film that centered around Barry Allen / The Flash. In October 2014, The Flash television show debuted to critical and viewer praise. It was immediately announced that a movie was planned with a scheduled 2018 release date. That initial script was drafted by Berlanti, Geoff Johns, Chris Brancato, Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim. By April 2015, a story treatment was being written by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (LEGO Movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse). Over the next two years, Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) wrote another script for the Flash movie. Then Rick Famuyiwa (Dope), was attached to direct. Both filmmakers left the project over creative differences with the studio.
Then, in January 2017, Joby Harold was hired to do a page-one rewrite of the script, and the title for the film was changed to Flashpoint, based on the comic book story arc of the same name. Dan Mazeau was brought on as co-writer. In March 2018, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein were hired to co-direct. The tone of the film was expected to be similar to Back to the Future and involve the Speed Force multiverse. In March 2019, following creative differences with the co-directors’ work on the script, Ezra Miller himself decided to take a hands-on approach to try to help get the movie made, and he teamed up with comics scribe Grant Morrison to work on an all-new, darker script – much closer to Zack Snyder’s style. within months, Daley and Goldstein had left the project and that’s when Andy Muschietti and Christina Hodson first entered negotiations to direct and write a new draft of the script.
Pre-production has now been rescheduled to begin by January 2020. No official release date has yet been set for this long-embattled The Flash movie, but if fans keep their fingers crossed they can possibly expect the film sometime in 2021.
Another big question is whether or not Ezra Miller will still even star in the DCEU film anymore. Miller was first cast as Barry Allen way back in 2014, but five years later The Flash still hasn’t entered production, after a very troubled development period. The actor has already played Barry Allen three times, with cameos in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad leading to his only full appearance in Justice League. That timeline will make it a full four years after Ezra Miller’s portrayal of The Flash would have last been seen on the silver screen. Since then, other DCEU films like Aquaman (2018), and Shazam! (2019), have been slowly raising the bar for the DCEU, but who knows if this trend will continue? With scheduled release dates for Birds of Prey and Wonder Woman 1984 in 2020, then The Batman, The Suicide Squad and finally The Flash in 2021, it still leaves plenty of time for this movie to get derailed yet again.
There’s also the fact that his contract reportedly expired in May, meaning that it’d need to be renegotiated. And it’s not as if WB is locked into Miller as The Flash in the eyes of fans. The DCEU is going through something of a creative reboot following the disappointing Justice League, and while some characters from that film work well and have futures—namely Jason Momoa’s Aquaman and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman—others are being sidelined. Ben Affleck is stepping down as Batman and allowing another actor to fill the role in the upcoming The Batman, and even Will Smith has exited the Suicide Squad franchise, making way for Idris Elba to take over in the James Gunn-directed sequel. The lesson here is that WB is not exactly being precious with fidelity to what came before in Zack Snyder’s vision for the DCEU, which means Miller is somewhat expendable. So if Miller and Warner Bros can’t agree on either a creative direction or a contract, then it’s hard to see how the actor will continue playing The Flash.
Not to mention the appeal of Flash TV star Grant Gustin, who as of this writing has been the star in well over 100+ episodes with no end in sight for the popular The CW superhero television show The Flash.
Is this really a project that Warner Bros. thinks will have the same appeal as Batman, Wonder Woman, or Aquaman? I guess we’ll see whenever.. I mean IF this movie ever comes out.