This year’s two DC Extended Universe films, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, grossed over $1.6 billion at the worldwide box office, but earned generally negative reviews from critics and were divisive among filmgoers in general. As such, the DCEU has undergone some course-correction, with DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns now playing a bigger role in its development – including, co-writing the upcoming Wonder Woman movie and producing Justice League. There have been some issues elsewhere in the DCEU, though.
The Flash lost its (second) director recently, as filmmaker Rick Famuyiwa announced his departure while citing creative differences as the driving factor. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter writer Seth Grahame-Smith had previously vacated that director’s chair, also due to creative differences. Despite this, WB intends for The Flash to make his solo DCEU film debut in 2018, following his proper introduction in Justice League. Though fans might raise their eyebrows over all this, it does not seem to have phased the DCEU’s Barry Allen himself, Ezra Miller (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them).
Miller sat down with IGN to discuss The Flash and the direction being taken on the film. While acknowledging the difficulties that the movie has had along the path to the screen, Miller insists that “It’s the same project” as it has always been, and that it will delve into an untrained, not yet developed Barry Allen:
“What I find fascinating is that we’re still very much amateur-hour Speedster.”
While it’s previously been announced that The Flash will not be an origin story, in the comics it does take Barry Allen years to fully understand and master his powers. Even within the cinematic universe’s television counterpart on The CW’s The Flash, Grant Gustin’s (Glee) Barry Allen seems to learn new powers every season. Part of the charm of Barry Allen, in fact, is that he never does quite reach the limits of his powers, and his journey to improvement constantly plays an important role in the character – something that Miller acknowledged:
“Like, I love this comic ‘Kingdom Come’ – unbelievable art – and in that The Flash is fully evolved, and you never even see him, right? It’s just like a red mist, and there’s no crime in [Keystone] City. He protects a whole chunk of the country.
“So that wouldn’t make for the most interesting film – you know what I mean? What do we have to learn about that guy? That guy barely exists, right? He’s almost one with the Speed Force. So it’s interesting to go to the beginning.
“It would be hard – you’d have to get Werner Herzog to make a movie about a bolt of lightning!”
Setting aside how intrinsically awesome a Werner Herzog movie about a bolt of lightning would be, Miller does bring up an interesting point about The Flash. At his peak, Barry Allen barely needs to exist in order to fulfill his role as the fastest man alive. That’s neither an interesting movie nor character. Seeing him develop, even outside your standard origin story framework, makes a lot of sense.
Miller’s continued enthusiasm for the character and the project might alleviate some of the fears and misgivings fans may have. Getting the character just right, especially with an already successful TV series competing against it, is going to take some work. Finding the right director for the job should is important, and better two directors leave for creative differences than the wrong director take the helm. Miller, for his part, seems more than up for the job.