One thing that you can definitely say about DC Comics’ iconic heroic mantles is that there’s often a great deal of legacy behind them. Multiple characters have served in the roles of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern over the years (depending on the era of comics you read, or the universe they take place in), and it seems like any of those characters could make an interesting addition in a future film. One character with an even more potent degree of legacy is the Flash, but it sounds like Warner Bros. is going to stick with the most definitive version of that character as they prep their new, cinematic universe.
According to Flash film co-writer Phil Lord on the Hippojuice podcast (via Slash Film), the version of the Flash that actor Ezra Miller will be playing in upcoming DC Comics-based films will be Barry Allen, the same character that currently serves as the main Flash in both the comics and the acclaimed CW television series. This is surprising for a couple of reasons, as another character — like Wally West, for instance — also seems ripe for adaptation, but it looks like WB/DC want to stick with the most identifiable version of the character. He said,
We’re trying to break a story. It’s interesting, because there’s a really popular TV show out there, and we’re trying to carve out space for the movie that’s apart from that. I think we’re doing alright. I believe [our Flash] is going to be Barry Allen. […] It’s going to be it’s own [thing] — we’re more trying to stick with the cinematic universe… it really is its own thing, and kind of a stand-alone movie. We’re just trying to think of the best story. I think you guys will like it, it’s kind of a different take on superhero stuff.
While the first character known as “the Flash” — Jay Garrick — debuted in the comics in 1940, DC instituted a new editorial mandate in the late 1950’s to shake up their superhero characters, taking the concept in different directions. It was this mandate that led to the creation of Green Lantern Hal Jordan, and also led to the creation of Barry Allen, who debuted in Showcase #4 in 1956. Barry’s first appearance is generally accepted as the beginning of the “Silver Age” of comics, which would introduce more science fiction elements into the mythology, which would ultimately inform the origin stories of the most popular Marvel characters in the 1960’s.
In 1985, Barry Allen was killed in the landmark DC event series Crisis on Infinite Earths, and Wally West — up until then known as Barry’s sidekick “Kid Flash” — would take the reins as the DC Universe’s new, primary Flash. This would stay true for over 20 years, until writer Grant Morrison found a way to bring Barry Allen back to the DC Comics Universe in his series Final Crisis, which debuted in 2008. From there, writer Geoff Johns would come to define Barry’s role in the modern DCU, culminating in the series Flashpoint, which would lead directly into the “New 52.” There, Barry continued to serve as the Flash.
While Wally West would be the prime version of the Flash explored in the popular animated DC shows of the late 90’s and 2000’s — primarily voiced by Michael Rosenbaum on “Justice League” and “Justice League Unlimited” — Barry has usually gleaned more mainstream attention. The original live-action “Flash” TV series from 1990 starred John Wesley Shipp as Barry, while the current CW series sees Grant Gustin play the police scientist for modern times. While some fans might be disappointed that Wally West won’t be the cinematic Flash, the popularity of the TV show seems to have cemented Barry’s place as the solid answer to the question, “What’s the Flash’s real name?”
The cinematic Flash played by Ezra Miller is expected to debut in his own solo film first, before eventually being included in Zack Snyder’s two-part Justice League film alongside Henry Cavill’s Superman, Ben Affleck’s Batman, and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman releasing in 2018 and 2019. For more on DC Comics movie news as it happens, keep it locked on GeekNation.
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