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Let’s Figure Out the Flash

Barry Allen, a.k.a the Flash, has been a central member of the Justice League ever since its comic book origin in 1960. He was the second Flash in the DC universe, after mentor Jay Garrick, and would later be followed by his nephew, Wally West, and grandson, Bart Allen. Through his superhuman speed, Barry is able to travel through time and across dimensions, greatly expanding the DC universe’s story potential. His backstory has changed slightly over the years, but has largely remained consistent: working late one night as a forensic scientist, Barry is struck by lightening and given access to the Speed Force. Donning his Mercury-inspired red tights, the Flash fights crime in his hometown, Central City, battling his colorful Rogues and evil wielders of the Speed Force.

At least one iteration of the Flash has appeared in almost every DC media property. Barry Allen specifically has appeared in two live-action television shows, played by John Wesley Shipp in the 1990s CBS show and currently by Grant Gustin in The CW’s Arrowverse. Both effectively and entertainingly capture the character and hold up well as models for the DCEU to look toward. They come at Barry from different angles, but still feature the same timeless hero.

Shipp, Gustin, and Miller (L to R)

In the DCEU, Ezra Miller has already played Barry Allen in two cameo appearances in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. In the latter film, Barry’s cameo was mostly for laughs and showed him catching one of his villain regulars, Captain Boomerang. However, his BvS cameo may prove to be more important down the line. In the film, he appears to a (maybe?) sleeping Bruce Wayne and delivers a cryptic message:

Bruce! Listen to me right now! It’s Lois! Lois Lane! She’s the key! Am I too soon!? I’m too soon! You were right about him! You were always right about him! Fear him! Fear him and find us. You have to come find us, Bruce!

Here he sets up three different things that may be big plot points in Justice League and future DCEU movies.

  1. Lois Lane is the key to something. She remained mostly on the periphery in BvS after having a larger role in Man of Steel. She will be appearing in Justice League, but how much we’ll see of her is unclear. My best guess: she’ll be a central part of Superman’s resurrection story but not much else.
  2. Speaking of Superman, he’s mentioned here too, specifically that Bruce was right to suspect and fear his power. Continuing with the resurrection angle, he may re-emerge first as a pawn of Steppenwolf or Darkseid and will need to be turned back into a hero by either Lois or the League.
  3. And speaking of the Justice League, we come to Barry’s final point- a request for Bruce to assemble the League’s heroes. Why exactly they need to come together is unclear, it could be to fight Superman, Darkseid’s forces, or any other number of threats. It may just be that the world always needs heroes even if there does not exist an obvious threat. This hopeful message feels most in-tune with the character of Barry Allen.

Early reviews of Justice League cite Ezra Miller‘s Flash as a highlight of the film and worthy of his own interpretation of the character while Grant Gustin plays him on TV. The future of the DCEU Flash is still a mystery, with much of it riding on his popularity after Justice League comes out this Friday. Original plans for a Flash solo movie in 2018 were scrapped earlier this year in favor of a Flashpoint film in 2020 (more on that in my article 6 Things We Want from the DCEU’s Flashpoint.) Some supporting characters have been cast, like Barry’s romantic interest Iris West (Kiersey Clemons) and father Henry (Billy Crudup). So until Justice League‘s reception has cemented itself, the future of the Flash has yet to be revealed.

Are you excited to see the Flash in Justice League? How about in Flashpoint? How else should the DCEU use the Scarlet Speedster? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter!

About the author

Jonathan Hazin