Ezra Miller’s DC Extended Universe superhero project The Flash is one of the most notoriously delayed films in Hollywood. Warner Bros. and DC have been trying to make it happen for the better part of a decade, but the release date keeps getting pushed back — and that’s not even the worst of the film’s troubles.
The Flash has been hindered by a revolving door of writers and directors, changing scripts over and over again. But it’s really the film’s star, nonbinary and queer actor Ezra Miller, whose actions are posing the biggest threat to the hero and movie. In the last few years, Miller has become embroiled in several legal controversies that have put their place in the DCEU in question.
So, what do you need to know about this movie and its star? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Development on a film based on the beloved Flash superhero began way back in 2004, and then was redeveloped to fit into the DCEU in 2014. DC’s first plan was to tentatively release the film in 2016, but that was immediately pushed back to March 23, 2018 when Ezra Miller was announced as the star of the film.
As the Flash, Miller had cameos in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, both released in 2016. Their next appearance as the Flash was in 2017’s Justice League, where they starred.
Originally, James Wan was offered either a Flash movie or an Aquaman movie, and he chose to make Aquaman. In 2015, the job was given to Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who also then left the project to work on Solo: A Star Wars Story instead. Next, Seth Grahame-Smith was in negotiations to both write and direct the movie. Grahame-Smith left the project in April of 2016, but Warner Bros. chose to keep his script. At least for a while.
Rick Famuyiwa was hired to direct in June 2016, and around the same time, The Flash’s release date was officially listed as “TBA.” Pre-production actually began this time, but Famuyiwa left the project after not being able to “come together creatively” with the studio in October of that year. After Robert Zemeckis, Matthew Vaughn, Sam Raimi, Marc Webb, and Jordan Peele were considered, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein were brought on to write and direct the film. Ezra Miller was then working on a script, which was also scrapped. Eventually, Christina Hodson was hired to write a screenplay after writing Birds of Prey. Andy Muschietti was hired to direct in 2019 with his sister Barbara Muschietti set to produce. At that point, The Flash was scheduled for release on July 1, 2022.
Aside from Miller, fellow queer actor Kiersey Clemons was cast as Iris West, the film’s female lead, back in 2016. Ray Fisher’s Cyborg, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, and Billy Crudup’s Henry Allen (the Flash’s father) have all been said to be in the cast at different times. In 2021, Sasha Calle was cast to play Supergirl in the film. In June 2022, Michael Keaton was announced to be playing his version of Bruce Wayne from the Tim Burton Batman films. In 2022, Ron Livingston was cast to replace Crudup. Fisher left the project after he said he was offered a fraction of his traditional salary to appear.
Others returning for the film include Michael Shannon and Antje Traue reprising their roles from Man of Steel, and Temuera Morrison from Aquaman.
No matter the script or writer, the plot has usually centered around the Flash traveling into the past to try to prevent the murder of his mother. By traveling through time, he would open up multiverses, introducing the Flashpoint storyline from the comics into the DCEU.
Principal photography began on April 19, 2021, and wrapped on October 18, 2021. The film was mostly shot in England, with locations portraying Wayne Manor, Central City, and Gotham City. In March 2022, Warner Bros. moved the release date to June 23, 2023.
In 2020, The Flash’s future was put into question when video of Miller choking a woman surfaced on the internet. Reportedly the studio was shocked when it saw the video, and even considered canceling the movie outright. However, this controversy never actually cost Miller their role in the film or prevented the film from being made in the end.
More recently, Miller was arrested in Hawaii and charged with disorderly conduct when they were caught yelling obscenities and lunging at bar-goers in a karaoke bar in Hilo. Miller posted $500 bail and was released.
The troubles didn't stop there, though, as a couple revealed that they filed a restraining order against the actor after they had broken into the couple’s apartment and threatened to kill them while stealing their belongings. There are also reports that Miller had “frequent meltdowns” while filming The Flash.
All of this once again puts Miller’s and The Flash’s DCEU future in limbo. While the film is still expected to debut in June 2023 and appear on HBO Max shortly after, Miller’s future involvement in the DCEU is now in question, as are potential Flash sequels. Warner Bros. and DC Films reportedly had an emergency meeting on March 30 to discuss the actor’s future with the franchise.
No matter what ends up happening, we can be sure that this isn’t the last update we’ll get about the embattled star and film...