The Flash is quickly evolving to include a subtitle: How To Solve A Problem Like Ezra?
Warner Discovery is focusing on the controversy surrounding the legal troubles of lead actor Ezra Miller. With this film, directed by Andy Muschietti, as the entry point for audiences into the DC Multiverse and the return of Michael Keaton as Batman, Ezra’s choices could not have come with worse timing.
To date, Miller, who identifies as non-binary, has had numerous run-ins with the law for the past few months. The most recent is a felony burglary charge a week ago, and the disappearance of a mother and her three children that had been allegedly staying with Miller. Previous charges include assault a harassments charges in March, a further assault charge in April, and two disorderly conduct charges in late June. Miller has also deleted all their social media accounts.
‘The Flash’ Can Go Forward… But What’s Needed From Ezra?
In light of these developments, the studio is debating one of three options on the table in order to salvage the release. The first is that Miller immediately seeks professional help, followed by a high-profile interview in which he takes responsibility for his actions. This may also save their future involvement in The Flash franchise as Barry Allen.
Muschietti’s film, based on the Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert miniseries “Flashpoint“, will see Barry run back in time to prevent his mother’s murder, which inadvertently alters the timeline. Audiences would be treated to seeing, therefore, Ben Affleck’s Batman before trip, being replaced by Michael Keaton’s older Bruce Wayne afterwards. It would also see the debut of Sasha Calle as Supergirl, in place of Henry Cavill’s Superman.
If Miller refuses, the second option would be to proceed with the release of the film, but completely avoid the lead actor altogether, and recast the role if the film’s revenue garners a sequel. Recasting a lead role in spite of a successful movie is not unheard of, but avoiding the lead actor during necessary press time would be unique.
The worst case scenario option, however, applies to Miller’s situation continuing to deteriorate. The third option is indefinitely shelving the film, and the studio banks on an insurance payout to recover losses. Reshoots would be both expensive and next to impossible considering Miller plays multiple versions of Allen throughout the film.
To date, The Flash is one of the few remaining DC franchises that Warner CEO David Zazlav has not cancelled. Further, it is one of the remaining properties that shares the continuity established by Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel in 2013.
Releases of Shazam!: Fury of The Gods, Black Adam, and Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom are all going forward. However, there have been some recent axed projects. Since the merger of Warner Media and Discovery, the studio has cancelled production and release of Batgirl, starring Leslie Grace, J.K. Simmons, and Michael Keaton. This would have been Keaton’s second appearance as Batman after The Flash.
Other cancelled projects include the Calle-led Supergirl TV series, spinning off from the film, and – allegedly – the upcoming Green Lantern TV series on HBO Max.
In related news, it has been confirmed that Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman and Henry Cavill’s Superman factor in to a ten-year plan for DC movies, modelled after the successful run by Marvel Studios.
At time of writing, the film is still scheduled for release June 23, 2023.