Called it! A while ago, we proposed that Ezra Miller’s “The Flash” film could be used to slightly alter the DC Universe (DCU) to make some necessary changes. Though at the time, we believed that the film would be used to resolve Warner Bros’ issue with multiple Batmans running about. However, the film now seems to have a far more monumental task. That’s right, we’re getting a “Flashpoint” style event with Barry Allen changing the very history and nature of the DCU for James Gunn and Peter Safran’s brand-new reboot universe. Now obviously, the news of Ezra Miller now playing an integral part in the DCU, while Henry Cavill’s Superman has been taken off the stage, has some folks feeling a little salty.
Still, we’d be lying if we said we weren’t curious to see how Warner Bros Discovery plans on tying “The Flash” and other film projects still under old management with Gunn and Safran’s new slate of films and TV shows. For those not in the know about DC news, we’re here to fill in the gaps and explain why you need to watch this year’s “The Flash” film in preparation for the new DCU to come!
A Flashpoint Event
Those who are familiar with DC’s “Flashpoint” comic series or have seen Warner Bros. Animation’s “Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox” will no doubt be familiar with the plot of the film. The upcoming film will be based heavily on the comic event with Barry Allen travelling back in time to save his mother Nora Allen, played by Maribel Verdú, from death. In some versions, she’s killed by some random mugger and in others, it’s highly implied that the time-travelling psychopathic speedster Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash, killed her. In any case, we know that Barry’s father, Henry Allen played by Ron Livingston, was framed for her murder and is stuck in prison in the current timeline.
While the plot of the film has yet to be fully revealed, we’ve got a ton of information with regard to who will be appearing in the film. Ben Affleck will be reprising his role as Batman with Michael Keaton playing an alternate version of the character. In the “Flashpoint” story arc, Barry works with an older, more violent Batman in the timeline he’s changed to save his mother. In this twisted reality, Thomas Wayne was the one who survived and Bruce was the one who died. Martha became the Joker. While the dynamic between Barry and an alternate version of Batman working together seems to be kept in the film, it has been confirmed that Michael Keaton will be playing Bruce Wayne, and not Thomas Wayne.
The film’s cast includes the return of some familiar faces such as Michael Shannon as General Zod and Antje Traue as Faora-Ul from 2013’s “Man of Steel”, and Temuera Morrison as Thomas Curry, Aquaman’s Father. Officially debuting in the DCU is Kiersey Clemons as Flash’s love interest, Iris West, and Sasha Calle as Supergirl.
From Ripples to Reboot
The ending of the “Flashpoint” storyline, which has heavily influenced this film, sees Barry racing back in time to prevent the mistakes he’s made and to return reality back to the way it was. His efforts mostly work but now the DC characters we know have been altered and a new status quo is established due to ripples in the timeline. So what will this new status quo look like? Will this reboot change everything? Well, apparently not, seeing that Gunn has clarified on social media that “The Flash” won’t be changing everything and that some old faces from the DCU will in fact be staying around.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) January 31, 2023
As of now, Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller is confirmed to be appearing in the rebooted DCU, and will also be given her own TV show. Gunn has also confirmed in a recent press release that Xolo Maridueña’s Blue Beetle will exist in the new DCU and that “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom”, which takes place after “The Flash” will lead into his next big project “Superman: Legacy”. Oh and “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” will take place before “The Flash” so there’s no interference there. Whether or not Zachary Levi will continue on as Shazam in the new DCU to come has yet to be confirmed.
Co-CEO of DC Studios Peter Safran can confirm that Momoa will be appearing in the rebooted DCU once more but has yet to confirm whether he’ll be staying as Aquaman or if he’ll be switching over to the space bounty hunter, Lobo. Based on the fact that Momoa is still playing Aquaman in a film that is set after the “Flashpoint” event and is leading up to the first new major canonical film in Gunn and Safran’s DCU, we’re fairly confident he’s still King of Atlantis.
DCU Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters
Alright, now that you’ve got all the nitty, gritty details out of the way, we can get into what this new DCU will look like in its first phase entitled “Gods and Monsters”! In his announcement video, we heard that we would be getting an animated TV series called “Creature Commandos” which is part of DCU canon. They’re basically popular monsters from fiction that form a superhero team. On top of the “Waller” series, we’re also getting a live-action sci-fi detective Green Lantern series called “Lanterns”, a fantasy epic series based on Wonder Woman’s homeland of Themyscira known as “Paradise Lost” and a comedy superhero series about a con man turned hero called “Booster Gold”.
Springboarding off “The Flash” and “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom”, we’re getting “Superman: Legacy” which will see a younger version of the Kryptonian take centre stage. This one’s helmed by Gunn himself. He won’t be the only survivor of Krypton though because we’re also getting a “Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow” film. This film will explore a more jaded and cynical Supergirl who lived through the loss of her homeworld, unlike Kal-El. The two of them will probably bump into each other at some point. At long last, we’re finally getting the dynamic duo proper on-screen with Batman and his son Damian Wayne as Robin in “The Brave and the Bold”. Robert Pattinson’s Batman will not be part of the main continuity and Matt Reeves’ universe will remain an Elseworld in the multiverse. Horror fans rejoice because Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing will be getting a live-action film in the DCU as well!
So far, we can see how Superman, Supergirl, Batman, Robin, and the Green Lanterns John Stewart and Hal Jordan could eventually fit in an ensemble film like “Justice League” or “The Avengers”. While characters like Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, the Creature Commandos and Swamp Thing probably won’t rub shoulders with some of the DCU’s more mainstream characters too soon, rest assured that they’re still very much a part of the DCU canon. They’re just off on their own solo adventures like Moon Knight or Shang Chi. “Paradise Lost” could eventually set up Wonder Woman’s appearance in the DCU while exploring the more magical side of things. The only piece of the puzzle we can’t seem to fit in the DCU is the upcoming “The Authority” film.
The Authority and the Justice League
In the past, DC Comics had two different imprints called Vertigo and Wildstorm. Vertigo Comics, or DC Vertigo, served as a more adult-orientated side of the company that told darker, more mature stories. Characters like John Constantine, Swamp Thing, V from “V for Vendetta”, and the Watchmen are from that imprint. Recently though, many of the characters and properties have been folded into the mainstream DC universe in the comics.
The Wildstorm imprint though is a whole different universe as far as we’re concerned. They’ve got their own unique characters with powers that have little to no connection to DC’s mainstream stories. The Authority in the Wildstorm imprint is basically the Justice League of their own universe. And while DC comics have recently tried to fold in characters like Midnighter, the Grifter and Apollo into the main universe, we don’t see how Gunn and Safran’s DCU can accommodate a whole other team of god-like superheroes and anti-heroes into this one. Especially, if they’re planning on eventually setting up a Justice League film in the future.
Gunn in his announcement has made it clear that the Authority will be “interacting with all our primary DCU characters”. Don’t get us wrong, we think having a film centred around morally grey versions of the Justice League is a great idea! We’re just worried that they might be treated as the B-team, like the way the Eternals were in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Maybe Gunn plans to have the two teams duke it out a’la “Captain America: Civil War” sometime in the future. For now, we remain cautiously optimistic that Gunn and Safran will do justice to the property.
So what do you think of “The Flash” acting as a reboot event to the DCU? Which new DCU property are you most excited about? Be sure to let us know and stay tuned for more DCU news!