One announcement caught my attention at SDCC, that the upcoming (and much troubled) ‘Flash’ movie will be an adaptation of the ‘Flashpoint’ storyline. With this decision, DC have essentially built a reset switch into their extended universe.
All I know of the ‘Flashpoint’ storyline is really taken from the way ‘The Flash’ TV show used it last season, though I know it was adapted considerably to fit the ‘Arrowverse’. Essentially, Barry Allen can run so fast he time travels, but his actions in the past cause an alternate timeline to form, so when he returns to what should be his present, things are considerably different.
This plot device will open the way for so much change in the DCEU, essentially giving them the ability to change things radically with the one-word explanation ‘flashpoint’ being all that’s needed to justify it. There could be new casting, probably in favour of younger actors who are up to the challenges of a decade worth of film commitments. Possibly even undoing story arcs that have gone down badly with audiences, an odd wiping their own sullied slate clean. Maybe even bringing back characters from the dead.
It’s a fascinating move that DC have set this film for release in the next couple of years, though it was originally intended to be released March 2018, planning in advance a film that will have to be used to cause at least some considerable changes or else be wasted and criticised for not really being ‘Flashpoint’. I feel like this suggests a distinct lack of confidence in their unfolding universe. Maybe saving this for a second Flash film in a few more years would have been a better move, a tool to pull out when things have been otherwise exhausted to usher in a new set of characters and younger casting as contracts end or actors move on to more varied projects.
I wonder if this was one of the reasons that they couldn’t keep directors linked to the film, as they were likely being told to pencil things in, or leave wiggle-room for big adjustments so that their film could be used in any way required to soft-reboot the franchise. Hopefully, they will manage to get the ink dried on a deal with Lord and Miller to direct, as for my tastes their tone would be very welcome in the DCEU.
It’s not that I don’t want to see a big-screen ‘Flashpoint’ adaptation, it sounds fascinating and potentially very exciting as audiences will have no end to the possibilities of what could come next. Still, I can’t get over the feeling that it’s preempting failure and possibly self-fulfilling low-expectations.
With Joss Whedon reportedly working hard on extensive re-shoots for ‘Justice League’ with only a few months to go before release, Matt Reeves restarting writing ‘The Batman’ as rumours persist that Ben Affleck won’t stay around for many more films, as well as Geoff Johns and Patty Jenkins already working apace on ‘Wonder Woman 2’ as the most anticipated of the coming DCEU films, all these filmmakers (and associated casting choices) will have to raise their game if they want their versions of these characters to stick around beyond the Flash’s solo movie.