The Flash will mark the solo movie debut of Ezra Miller's Barry Allen, while also bringing Michael Keaton's Batman back into the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). It will also incorporate the Flashpoint storyline – and if you've no idea what that is or why it's significant, we're here to help. Scroll down to find out more.
What is Flashpoint?
Devised by DC Comics writer Geoff Johns, the Flashpoint storyline blew apart DC mythology in inventive and exciting ways. The storyline made its debut in 2011 and rebooted the notion of the DC multiverse, which started with 1980s series Crisis on Infinite Earths. The word 'multiverse' is one you're no doubt familiar with – 2018 hit Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse unleashed a host of different Spidey characters from across that particular comic book realm.
In the case of Flashpoint, young kid Barry Allen aka The Flash wakes up to discover he's now part of an alternate universe. He's been stripped of his lightning-fast abilities, and there have been monumental changes elsewhere within the DC comic book canon. Significant changes include the presence of Thomas Wayne (Bruce's father) as Batman, the complete absence of the Justice League, and an ongoing, devastating conflict between Wonder Woman and Aquaman. On a more personal level, Barry must go back in time to save his mother, messing up the time-space continuum in the process.
The storyline was a popular hit and helped rebrand DC in preparation for The New 52 relaunch, which occurred later in 2011. The continuity of the comic book universe was altered from this point onwards, allowing different characters to migrate across while certain key storylines remained. One such example that remained intact was famous Joker origin story Batman: The Killing Joke.
So, one can imagine how this establishes a host of possibilities for The Flash movie...
What does Flashpoint mean for The Flash movie and the wider DCEU?
That remains to be seen. However, Michael Keaton is in talks to reprise his role as Batman, a part he last played in 1992's Batman Returns, directed by Tim Burton. The crossover between Keaton's Batman, whose films were standalone adventures, and the DCEU suggests the inspiration of the Flashpoint narrative, which would allow crossover from various DC properties.
Rumour has it that Keaton's iteration of the Dark Knight will become a mentor to the eager young Barry Allen, played by Ezra Miller. The latter was introduced as the comic relief in 2017's much-maligned Justice League movie, and may need a fair bit of schooling and discipline if he's to learn to save the world. To make things more complicated, Miller cameoed as The Flash in the Arrowverse, appearing alongside the small-screen iteration of the character played by Grant Gustin.
As for the wider DCEU narrative, the ongoing impact of Flashpoint would surely allow the franchise to reinvent itself. Take the Wonder Woman/Aquaman narrative for instance: both characters have been introduced as heroes in their own standalone adventures, crossing paths in the Justice League movie. However, there's surely much potential in an alternate timeline where they're at each other's throats and threatening mankind in the process.
The DCEU has already been undergoing a tonal reinvention in recent years. Following the apathetic response to Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman, Justice League underwent controversial reshoots to add more humour. However, these additions, overseen by Joss Whedon, clashed with the murky tone of original helmer Zack Snyder.
More successful and fluid were the Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Shazam! blockbusters, all of which walked the fine line between self-aware humour and heroism. After several years the DCEU finally appears to have located its playful mojo, and Flashpoint could help shake things up even further.
One might imagine that Robert Pattinson's incoming Batman could also be drawn in. The character, who makes his debut in 2021's The Batman, isn't officially part of the DCEU yet. But like we said, there's potential for standalone movies to criss-cross with the needs of the DCEU franchise.
On that basis, can we expect Joaquin Phoenix's Joker to also show up? The actor won an Oscar for his performance in the 2019 film of the same name, and talk of a sequel has been circulating ever since. However, Phoenix didn't necessarily intend to reprise the character multiple times – maybe Flashpoint will allow him to cross paths with Keaton and Pattinson's Batman, and Miller's The Flash?
What else do we know about The Flash movie?
The film is being directed by Andy Muschietti who scored huge horror hits with both halves of the IT saga, adapted from Stephen King's novel. Muschietti's wife Barbara will produce, as she did on the IT films. The script will come from Birds of Prey's Christina Hodson, who's clearly no stranger to anarchic, ensemble-led comic book chaos.
That particular movie further tinked with DCEU continuity by writing out Jared Leto's much-maligned Joker, who made his debut in Suicide Squad. Birds of Prey, therefore, liberated the character of Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and allowed her to take centre stage, although she's next appearing as part of another ensemble piece in James Gunn's Suicide Squad reboot.
When is The Flash movie released?
Mark it down: the Scarlet Speedster arrives on 2nd June 2022. Let us know your Flashpoint theories @Cineworld.