How ‘The Flash’ Restructured Flashpoint From Comics To Reboot the DCU

Barry, what did you do?!

by Abhirup Sengupta
Image: Warner Bros. Discovery

Following years of developmental hell as complex as Ezra Miller’s controversies, The Flash is finally set to usher the soft-rebooted cinematic universe of DC, i.e., the DCU. After well over a year since the first look footage, Warner Bros. Discovery finally released the first official trailer of the film.

With a release date finally set on June 16, 2023, Andy Muschietti’s The Flash is perhaps the most important film in DC’s slate, which would initiate the transition from DCEU to DCU. The importance of the movie was further pointed out by DC Studios co-CEO James Gunn, who had announced that the aftermath of The Flash would direct into the new DCU, which would feature a new Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and more.

The Flash Has Already Tweaked Flashpoint From DC Comics To Fit Into DCU

Being based on the DC comics event, Flashpoint, the film is expected to use it to establish a new continuity while keeping certain parts of the DCEU intact. This would explain how some characters like Zachary Levi’s Shazam, Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller, John Cena’s Peacemaker, and Jason Momoa’s Aquaman would exist in the upcoming DC Universe.

In the comics, Flashpoint was a crossover event that was told through a core series followed by several tangent issues. The core storyline featuring Barry Allen’s Flash was written by comic book writer and former DCEU co-honcho Geoff Johns.

As per the storyline, Barry would go back in time to save his mother, Nora Allen, from being murdered by Reverse Flash (Eobard Thawne). However, this causes a ripple effect through the timeline and changes several important details that existed in Barry’s original timeline. In the Flashpoint timeline, Nora was alive, but Barry’s dad, Henry, passed away from a heart attack.

Barry eventually learns that the Justice League was never formed and that Superman was captured by the US government. Furthermore, Aquaman and Wonder Woman are sworn lover-turned-enemy after the former had murdered Mera. This sparked a long-lasting war between Amazons and Atlanteans, which caused much damage throughout Europe. Amidst all these drastic changes, Flash further learns that Bruce Wayne is not Batman in this timeline, as he was killed in Crime Alley instead of his parents. This caused Bruce’s father, Thomas Wayne, to pick up the mantle of Batman. While his mother, Martha Wayne, became the Joker after having a mental breakdown from losing Bruce.

How Will The Flash (2023) Change Flashpoint?

Following the glimpses of the first trailer, The Flash has made some significant changes to the Flashpoint event. While the core concept of Barry going back in time to save Nora Allen would be the same in the movie, altered details like Thomas Wayne as Batman, and the Atlanteans-Amazons war, amongst others, would likely not make it to the film.

Michael Keaton’s Batman

Michael Keaton as Batman in The Flash | Image: Warner Bros. Discovery

While some fan theories brought up the point that Michael Keaton could portray Thomas Wayne instead of Bruce in this altered timeline, it is likely not the case. In the trailer, the original Batmobile from Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film was showcased heavily, along with the Bat suits from the Burtonverse.

Additionally, an August 2022 podcast by Erik Davis (Fandango) and Umberto Gonzalez (The Wrap) discussed the now-canceled Batgirl HBO Max film. In the podcast, they cited insider sources who were present in the screening of the film at Warner Bros. Discovery, who apparently confirmed that Michael Keaton would have portrayed Bruce and not Thomas Wayne.

With Batgirl being scrapped, The Flash would be the one-time reprisal of Batman by Michael Keaton in the foreseeable future.

Superman Replaced By Supergirl

According to the Flashpoint, Kal-El (Superman) and his spaceship never landed in Smallville, Kansas, and thus, he was never adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent. As mentioned before, Kal-El was captured and raised by the US Government as Subject One. While he was in the military project, Kal-El was starved of sunlight and was thereby malnourished when Flash and Batman went to rescue him. However, as his Kryptonian cells came in contact with daylight, Kal was able to tap into his powers.

However, Andy Muschietti’s The Flash has replaced Kal-El with his cousin Kara Zor-El (Supergirl). Portrayed by Sasha Calle, Supergirl will be the one who would be captured and raised by the US Government. Meanwhile, Superman seemingly does not exist in the film’s version of the Flashpoint timeline. It is unlikely that the film would explore if Kal-El was killed in the destruction of Krypton, drifting into the Phantom Zone, or is simply living his life on Earth in secrecy.

As of now, it is unclear if Sasha Calle’s Supergirl could carry on to the new DCU. However, since James Gunn’s Superman Legacy is based on a young Clark Kent, it is unlikely that Calle would return as Supergirl anytime soon.

Multiple Variants Of Barry Allen

The trailer footage showcased two variants of Barry Allen, which establishes yet another change from the Flashpoint comics. In the comic, Barry simply woke up in the Flashpoint timeline, where he later found out how he had changed the past, which birthed this alternate timeline.

However, the film will seemingly employ a different approach to time travel and alternate timeline. Instead of the original Barry converging with Flashpoint Barry and thereby retaining both versions’ memories (sort of), the film opted to keep the variants separate. Though this begs the question as to how DCEU Barry exists and lost his powers, the film would likely feature some malleability in timeline changes à la Back to the Future Part II or simply establish that Barry’s connection with the speed force prevents him from being written out of existence.

Interestingly, a leaked Funko POP listing of The Flash showcased three Barry Allens and one Dark Flash. While this could very well be different variants of Barry, it is likely that the Funko POPs are of two Barrys in different suits.

Antagonists – Dark Flash Or Reverse Flash?

A Possible Glimpse Of Dark Flash In The Trailer } Image: Warner Bros. Discovery

In the Flashpoint storyline, Reverse Flash (Eobard Thawne) is the primary antagonist who coerced Barry into saving his mother by going back in the timeline. However, the outgoing DC Extended Universe had not introduced Thawne yet. Thus, it is unclear if he would still be the main antagonist of The Flash.

Since the trailer showcased a glimpse of the Dark Flash, it is likely that this variant will be Barry from the Flashpoint timeline. Though it is not known if Dark Flash would be the villain in The Flash, it is possible as the Funko POP leak showcases the entirety of the suit, which comes off as antagonistic. It is plausible that Flashpoint Barry will be unwilling to let DCEU Barry reset the timeline again, as that would mean that Flashpoint timeline will cease to exist.

As The Flash will lead into the soft reboot of the DCU, the promotional footage raised several questions in regards to the timeline and the Flashpoint event. Now, it remains to be seen if the finalized version of the film will provide answers to most of these queries and usher the new cinematic universe, i.e., DCU.

- This article was updated on February 14th, 2023