One of the biggest problems of the DCEU regarding the Flash and the future protagonist of the franchise is hiding in plain sight. First introduced in a cameo role in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the DCEU version of The Flash has so far been played by Ezra Miller. Miller reprised this role in 2017’s Justice League and is set to star in their own standalone film, The Flash. In The Flash, the speedster explores the DCEU Multiverse, and will also celebrate Ben Affleck’s last appearance in the franchise and the return of Michael Keaton’s Batman.
The passage of the DCEU cape and hood in “Flash” has long been the main advantage of the upcoming film. Using the titular hero’s ability to explore the Multiverse makes The Flash an ideal opportunity for the DCEU to introduce heroes from alternate universes, and introducing Batman Keaton to the DCEU is a very valuable decision. However, using Flash’s abilities in such an integral way for the future of the DCEU is not entirely without risk.
Ezra Miller’s much-publicized legal troubles have already proved to be a serious problem for DCEU. Warner Bros. even announced that the franchise will develop without an actor, but this highlights a serious problem with the history of the Flash Multiverse. The Flash will make Ezra Miller’s speedster the most important DCEU character, and solving the problem of their exit from the franchise is much more difficult than it might seem.
Ezra Miller is too important for the future of the DCEU
One of the biggest problems the DCEU will face when replacing Miller is that it has essentially made them irreplaceable. Although The Flash is supposed to be Miller’s first (and possibly only) solo film, his planned narrative will change the very structure of the DCEU. This was made possible thanks to the power of Miller’s Flash, and due to the repeated delays that plagued the production of the Flash, Miller’s exit from the DCEU occurred at the most inopportune moment.
As Miller’s version of The Flash is set to completely redefine the DCEU by helping Michael Keaton take on the role of Ben Affleck’s Batman, The Flash will make his titular hero the most important to the franchise. Having this particular narrative marking Miller’s last appearance in the franchise due to their off-screen behavior presents a unique challenge, as it can be difficult to give the character a satisfying and logical conclusion, given that “The Flash” has finished filming. The specifics of how the DCEU will get past Flash Miller are still unknown, but Flash’s story gives the character a level of importance that will undoubtedly prove to be a serious obstacle.
Barry Allen is the third Flash
Another way in which it will be difficult to replace the Flash Miller version is in the DCEU-selected iteration of the hero. Although there are many versions of The Flash, the two most popular (and well—known) are Wally West and Barry Allen. Miller portrays the DCEU version of Barry Allen, but the fact that Barry is actually the third version of The Flash makes it a bit more difficult to replace the character.
Barry’s successor in the comics was Bart Allen, better known as Impulse. While introducing Bart would be a logical and relatively comical way to replace Miller’s character, Bart is much less iconic than Barry, which could potentially make the transition difficult. This is compounded by the fact that Barry Allen from DCEU is still a young hero, and replacing him ahead of time does not do justice to the character.
DCEU Doesn’t Need Another Aging Hero
Another problem with replacing the Flash in the DCEU is the characterization of the franchise of other members of the Justice League. Ben Affleck’s Batman—the founder of the DCEU Justice League—has been written since his first appearance in Batman v Superman as an older version of the Caped Crusader, allowing him to be a more tortured, brooding version of the cult vigilante. His replacement, Michael Keaton, will also play an older version of the hero. While this makes sense in terms of broader continuity, it does present a challenge to replace Ezra Miller’s Flash.
Since replacing one young Flash with another, less iconic version seems unlikely, there is a possibility that an older version of Barry Allen or even Wally West could be replaced instead of Miller. However, this would then create parallels between the DCEU Flash and Batman, with both aging heroes then potentially following similar narrative arcs. So far, the dynamic between Miller’s young Flash and Affleck’s older Batman has worked well for the DCEU, and replacing it in favor of two older and more experienced heroes is wasting some of the best mentor-ward relationship in the franchise.