The Flash movie was always going to be about much more than a guy who just runs fast. Long expected to be based on the Flashpoint comics story by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert, where Barry Allen inadvertently opens up an alternate reality after preventing the murder of his mother in the past, there has always been the expectation that we would see different versions of beloved and recognizable DC characters.
Andy Muschietti’s The Flash movie looks like it won’t disappoint in that regard. Between the bombshell revelation that Ben Affleck would return to the role of Batman for the movie, and the earlier one that Michael Keaton would also play an older Dark Knight in the film, it would seem that the big screen Flashpoint might be even wilder than the comics one was.
But one thing that it will certainly do is help cement the idea in audience’s minds that all previous cinematic and TV incarnations of DC superheroes are technically canon, once and for all establishing the DC multiverse as a pop culture staple.
“This movie is a bit of a hinge in the sense that it presents a story that implies a unified universe where all the cinematic iterations that we’ve seen before are valid,” Muschietti told Vanity Fair. “It’s inclusive in the sense that it is saying all that you’ve seen exists, and everything that you will see exists, in the same unified multiverse.”
This is really cool, but it’s old news for comics fans. DC’s multiverse has long been one of the things which sets its stories apart from other comic book companies. But TV fans have already seen the DC multiverse explored in exactly the way Muschietti is describing. The CW’s “Arrowverse” crossover event Crisis on Infinite Earths already established this in 2019, nodding not only to every DC TV show on that network, but the ones on other networks as well (past and present)…not to mention including multiple nods to the Michael Keaton Batman films and the Christopher Reeve Superman movies, and even a delightful Ezra Miller cameo which saw him interacting with TV’s Flash Grant Gustin.
Of course, for the purposes of a feature length film, Flashpoint is a much more palatable entry point into the concept of the DC multiverse for general audiences. Tying the concept to the murder of Barry’s mother, and the (relatively) lower stakes of making this a personal story, Flashpoint is a little easier to digest than the death of countless dimensions and the merging of realities.
Of course, the comics version of Flashpoint ultimately changed the DC Universe for the next few years, and was used as an excuse to reset certain elements of continuity. Could that be in the cards for The Flash movie? We’ll find out when it opens on June 2, 2022.