For a film about a superfast superhero, the road to release for The Flash has been frustratingly slow. First given the green light way back in 2004 but only scheduled for its big-screen release in 2023, the fastest man alive's first DC Extended Universe (DCEU) solo outing is hoping to add another win to the Marvel rival's patchy box office past.
Based on the titular long-running comic book character, it’s The Flash's most popular variant, Barry Allen, who’s fronting this flick. As with anything superheroic these days, there's a bit of background noise to filter out, so forget CW’s The Flash, it’s the Flash from Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and Justice League that counts here — though, The Flash being The Flash, Barry did make a cameo in a “Crisis On Infinite Earths” episode of the Arrowverse TV universe.
Promising the start of a DC multiverse, plenty of Ezra Miller wit and not one, but two Batmans, could The Flash be the box office success to rival DC’s Aquaman?
Here's everything we know about it so far...
The Flash release date
Friday, June 23, 2023, is the current theatrical release date for The Flash. We're keeping our fingers crossed it’s the real deal as the film has blasted through several due dates in the past.
Creative differences (it’s had no less than eight directors attached to it over the years) and then the pandemic set it back — it was originally set for screens on March 18, 2018, and has had multiple 2022 release dates — but next summer finally looks to be a lock.
In the US, small screens will see the film just 45 days after its cinema window via HBO Max.
UK fans will have to wait for confirmation of a streaming platform; based on other DC movies, Sky Cinema and NOW seem the likely option.
What's the plot?
Two years ago, director Andy Muschetti revealed that the film would feature elements from the Flashpoint comic book series (which relaunched the DC Comics universe back in 2011). It's also set to introduce viewers to the DC multiverse and acknowledge historic cinematic timelines.
For those not in the know, the Flashpoint storyline presents an alternate reality where Cyborg (not Superman) is the world’s hero of choice, and Thomas Wayne is Batman. Barry Allen is seemingly the only one aware of the differences between this alternate reality and his timeline.
It’s slightly murky territory, as Flashpoint is something that has already been explored in the third season of The CW The Flash series, had its own animated film adaptation and doesn’t suit complete integration into the DCEU based on what we know — it would require members of the Justice League to play significant roles, something we would’ve heard of by now were it true (Batman being the exception).
A teaser released in late 2021 gives further insight. Shots of The Flash outside his family home, and approaching what appears to be his mother in the kitchen suggest it will, at least initially, follow the Flashpoint narrative of Barry preventing his mother's murder in the past. The resulting time shift (or possible parallel dimension screw up) results in multiple Barry Allens, Batpeople and who knows what else.
Batman is also key to events in this film. Muschietti has confirmed Ben Affleck’s Batman will be “a very substantial part of the emotional impact of the movie” and the teaser is littered with the caped crusader’s calling cards. From a dilapidated Wayne Manor and waterfall-backed Batcave to a bloody cowl and distinctive hooded silhouette, he’s everywhere.
We know that both Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton’s Bruce Waynes will feature in the film, but just what their roles are is very much to be defined. The run-down pile in the teaser is likely the Wayne Manor from 1989’s Batman, as Ben Affleck’s iteration was still a billionaire at the end of Justice League. Keaton also provides a telling voice-over, talking about traveling to “any timeline, any universe”, while The Flash’s final “You in?” line suggests the Dark Knight will be in allegiance with the multiple Flashes.
We also know that the film will introduce the DCEU’s Supergirl, lining her up for her own solo film in 2024.
Given that Ezra Miller’s Flash has only had cinematic cameos to this point, it’s likely there’ll also be some reference to his origin story here. A shot of an industrial-looking room that could be S.T.A.R. Labs (the place he got his superpowers) supports this theory.
As ever, there are still a lot of unknowns. With the time travel/parallel dimension possibilities, it’s difficult at this stage to discern the meaning behind many of the other shots in the teaser. Hands touching, the Flash ring, the possible presence of an alternate Flash (Jay Garrick)—and was that the 1989 Batmobile under the tarp? We’ll need more footage to find out.
The Flash cast
Indie darling turned franchise fan Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the Fantastic Beasts franchise) will reprise his role as the titular hero after meeting audiences in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Ben Affleck dons the Dark Knight cowl once again as Justice League’s Batman, playing alongside former Batman,1989’s Batman, Michael Keaton.
Relative newcomer Sasha Calle (The Young and the Restless) is confirmed as Supergirl, while the villains look to be imported from 2013’s Man of Steel: Michael Shannon returns as General Zod with Antje Traue once again playing his accomplice Faora, though these could well be cameos.
Maribel Verdú is playing Nora Allen, Barry’s murdered mother while his father Harry is portrayed by Ron Livingston, replacing Billy Crudup from Justice League. Barry's love interest Iris West will be played by Kiersey Clemons, as previously seen in Zack Synder’s Justice League.
Is there a trailer?
A sneak peek was released at DC FanDome on October 16, 2021. It’s a tantalizingly small teaser, but it does a great job of building the hype for one of the most anticipated DC films to date.
Dark, broody, and missing the trademark zingers Flash fans love, it’s all still shots and suggestive silhouettes, but painted with a significantly Batman-like brush. Check it out below:
Who's making the Flash?
Argentinian director Andy Muschietti brings his directing chops to the table, a departure from his historically horror-focused work on It and It: Chapter 2.
Bumblebee, Birds of Prey and soon-to-be-released Batgirl screenwriter Christina Hudson has taken the lead on the script, while Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and The Legend of Tarzan cinematographer Henry Braham is behind the cameras.
The complete lists of DCEU movies and shows
Get up to speed in true Flash fashion with our rundown of DCEU releases to date, and those to look forward to.
- Man of Steel (2013)
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
- Suicide Squad (2016)
- Justice League (2017)
- Wonder Woman (2017)
- Aquaman (2018)
- Shazam! (2019)
- Birds of Prey (2020)
- The Suicide Squad (2021)
- Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021)
- Peacemaker (2022)
- Black Adam (2022)
- Batgirl (2022)
- Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2022)
- The Flash (2023)
- Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023)
- Supergirl (2024)
- Blue Beetle (TBC)
Ally Wybrew is a London-based entertainment and travel writer with an MA in Film Studies. She has contributed to What To Watch, Empire, Curzon Journal, The Independent. High Life Magazine and more.
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