DC FanDome’s DCEU Flash panel was a short one. Or rather, it went by in a flash.
Bad pun aside, the panel was a little disappointing content-wise, especially when put up against Wonder Woman 1984. No plot or title was revealed. No new casting announcements. But what little we did get with respect to the film’s concept is sure to keep DC fandom occupied with speculation.
The big theme of the panel was Flashpoint: introduced in 2011 as a comic crossover story arc, Flashpoint delves into the consequences of speedsters changing the past. Barry Allen runs back in time, saves his mother’s life, and wouldn’t you know? He accidentally messes up the space/time continuum across the DC Universe.
The plotline was explored — to a limit — in the third season of The CW’s The Flash, in which all of Arrowverse is irrevocably changed thanks to Barry saving his mother in the finale of season two. We already suspected that it would be explored again in The Flash movie, but this panel made clear to show just how thoroughly it can be explored in the DCEU.
As they explained in the panel, when it comes to DC movies, there are so many ‘verses — so many iterations of the same heroes and villains in their own separate films, spanning decades. The big tease of the day was that any one of these iterations could make an appearance in The Flash movie as a result of Barry Allen’s time-traveling.
Now, the idea of having different iterations of DC characters meet has also been explored in The CW’s Arrowverse — last year’s Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover saw Tom Welling’s Superman and Kevin Conroy’s Batman interacting with The CW’s heroes of today. The fact that the panel showed Ezra Miller’s own Crisis cameo, in which DCEU’s Barry Allen meets Arrowverse’s Barry Allen, might have been a subtle hint as to the cameos we might see in The Flash movie.
Unfortunately, subtle hints are all we have to go on. Just as director Andy Muschietti , who recently directed It (2017) and It Chapter Two (2019), mused about Game of Thrones making some kind of appearance in the movie, Ezra Miller also asserted that he wants Barry to meet Nicholas Cage — not Nicholas Cage as Superman in the ’90s Tim Burton movie that never was, but Nicolas Cage himself. Should fans take these musings as throw-away jokes or actual hints with respect to castings to come?
Subtle casting nods were certainly apparent through the concept art revealed during the panel: two new pictures of the new Flash costume, all organic and embedded light, apparently constructed for Barry by Bruce Wayne (here we can see shadows of Iron Man and Spider-Man’s relationship in the MCU).
And while the internet was ablaze this week with confirmation that Ben Affleck will be back to reprise his role in the movie, the concept art reveals a Batman that looks suspiciously like Michael Keaton’s Batman, corroborating reports that The Caped Crusader of the ’80s will make his appearance in the DCEU through The Flash. Two Batmans! At least!
Okay, you know what? I kind of lied when I said there was one big theme of today. Probably should have said themes, plural. Because aside from encouraging the audience to muse about the possibilities of a Flashpoint storyline, the underlying task of this short panel was to endear audiences to Ezra Miller again after he was caught in April choking a woman on video. The panel did not bring up the incident, but rather spent a bit of time asserting that Ezra Miller’s personality is almost nearly the same as the adorkable Barry Allen introduced in the DCEU’s Justice League (2017). Ezra Miller himself joked around, accidentally playing Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up,” and offering up Flash Facts throughout the short panel, meant to sell audiences on his (and by extension the character’s) cuteness.
Did the audience buy it? We’ll have to wait and see.