Warner Bros.’ long embattled The Flash movie, a film that has had more release date announcements and changes over the last few years than we can even begin to keep track of, is finally (well, we’ll see about that) on track to hit theaters on June 23, 2023. And while the DCEU has had no share of drama, shattered hopes, and mixed expectations over the last few years, no project has had more confusion and heartache surrounding it than The Flash, with something on the order of a half dozen directors and screenwriters becoming attached to the project at various points since it was initially announced in October of 2014 (and that doesn’t even count all the other scripts and efforts to bring The Flash to the big screen in the pre-DCEU era, something that I really should get around to talking about one of these days).
But The Flash eventually found its footing, with It director Andy Muschietti behind the camera and an apparently top notch script by Christina Hodson (the brilliant but underappreciated Bumblebee, and the even more embattled Batgirl movie). Not only that, the movie promised a virtual feast for DC fans, apparently taking cues from the Flashpoint storyline in the comics, and with a multiverse-spanning element that allows for Michael Keaton to return as Batman, not to mention the introduction of Supergirl to the DCEU. Seems like a can’t miss, right?
Well, it would, were it not for the ongoing legal troubles of star Ezra Miller, whose allegedly very unsuperhero-like behavior has included allegations of assault, harassment, and much more. Just today, the actor pleaded not guilty to a felony burglary charge in the state of Vermont, which, if they’re found guilty, could result in significant jail time. Calls for the role to be recast from certain corners of fandom seem unrealistic, as The Flash wrapped principal photography quite some time ago, and re-shoots involving the film’s title character would be far too expensive to contemplate. Which means that when The Flash eventually sprints into theaters, it will be Miller under the cowl, with the actor even engaging in recent reshoots after their public apology and promise to pursue treatment.
Despite all this, the studio has been so confident in The Flash that it has reportedly been screened in various early versions for a number of insiders over the last few months, and that the feedback and buzz has been encouraging. But what’s particularly surprising is that (according to a report from THR), the studio went so far as to commission a script for The Flash 2, and that it has already been turned in. The screenplay was written by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, writer of the billion dollar grossing Aquaman and its upcoming sequel, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. It’s pretty notable that a script for a Flash sequel is already in the bag, considering that the constantly shifting corporate structure and lack of consistent leadership at the DC Films division of Warner Bros. has made the kind of forward planning that their chief competition at Marvel Studios does so well all but impossible ever since Justice League became a seemingly never-ending circus of behind the scenes drama, bizarre internet backlash, backlash to the backlash, and more general weirdness.
Perhaps by the time The Flash 2 rolls around, Miller will have gotten the help they need or WB will have found someone else to fill Barry Allen’s boots. Nevertheless, it certainly seems encouraging both for Muschietti’s film and the state of the DCEU that a sequel is already in the works. In the meantime, we expect to finally see The Flash on June 23.