Most fans are still reeling from the news that Ben Affleck isn't directing The Batman after all, because he believes that he can't do it justice. This has sparked rumors that he may even drop out of the Bruce Wayne role entirely. (Anyone could tell something was wrong as he spoke with interviewers about the DCEU while promoting his latest movie, Live By Night, which bombed at the box office.)
With Ezra Miller's Flash solo movie now being completely rewritten and struggling to find yet another director — and with word reportedly leaking that Justice League is "a mess" — the DCEU appears to be completely unraveling. Many viewers would argue it never really came together in the first place. On top of all that, Justice League 2 has been delayed.
Is there anything that could theoretically save this universe without a hard reboot starting from scratch? Yes, I believe there is.
The DCEU Needs To Do 'Flashpoint'
It's the story of the Flash, a.k.a. Barry Allen, going back in time to save his mother and accidentally making the world a very different place with very different heroes, including Thomas Wayne as Batman instead of his now-dead son Bruce.
I'm well aware that The CW's #Arrowverse already did its own rendition of "Flashpoint" earlier this year — and Warner Bros. made a brilliant 2014 animated version — so a DCEU adaptation might seem repetitive. But let's face it: The majority of moviegoers worldwide do not watch The CW and have no clue what Barry Allen did.
Geoff Johns, now head of DC Entertainment, wrote the original comic book story, so he knows how it can reset this universe. If The Batman and Flash solo movies remain in production hell, and if Justice League doesn't strike gold both critically and commercially, then "Flashpoint" is the only option left on the table to save the DCEU.
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But Wouldn't This Ruin The DCEU For Fans Of 'Man Of Steel' And 'Suicide Squad'?
Honestly, no. We could still see Henry Cavill as Superman and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. If the new canon is clearly laid out and explained, then it wouldn't harm the DCEU any more than DC has already harmed the franchise.
Plus, "Flashpoint" would give Warner Bros. the chance to keep what's working and retcon what's not going according to plan. It would let them restart fresh without the hassle and embarrassment of finding new actors for every single role.
And the most important part: if Affleck indeed drops out, trying to save himself from a sinking ship, "Flashpoint" would allow the DCEU to recast Batman.
In fact, Jeffrey Dean Morgan — who played Thomas in Batman v. Superman and has a vastly higher profile now, thanks to his role as Negan on The Walking Dead — has said that he's open to the possibility of playing Thomas Wayne as Batman. Thomas helps to send Barry back in time again to fix his original mistake, along with a letter to the son Thomas never saw grow up, which would be one hell of a way to introduce a new, younger Bruce Wayne to the audience, closer to the other characters' ages.
Batman is DC's biggest character and this is a way for a restart without another reboot. The risk might be worth it for Warner Bros. if they want their universe to actually last.
It Would Make A Clean Break From Zack Snyder's DCEU To Geoff Johns'
Snyder wanted to deconstruct these superheroes without first building them up. This led to stories in which they didn't change at all from start to finish, with no discernible arcs to make the fans actually care what happens to them.
I'm not trying to bash Snyder — who has undeniable talent for visuals — but with two lackluster DCEU movies under his belt and a third reportedly on shaky ground, it seems that he lacks a common understanding of what makes these characters appeal to fans. (Even though Snyder's movies weren't very good, they still drew huge crowds, which really speaks to how much fans adore the heroes.)
Geoff Johns has inherited Zack Snyder's sandbox, and "Flashpoint" would give him maximum creative freedom. Johns saved the DC Comics universe in 2016 when Rebirth brought back the beloved Wally West and addressed all of the problems that plagued the New 52. He's clearly the right man for the DCEU turnaround job.
(But no, the DCEU shouldn't add Dr. Manhattan to its universe like the comics did.)
Will The Non-Comic Book Fans Understand?
Comic book fans deal with some of the most convoluted, complex and craziest things one could ever possibly read. There's no saying how general audiences would react to a new Batman under the cowl, whether he's Thomas Wayne or just a younger Bruce — but Days of Future Past worked for the X-Men, so a similar approach could work for DC.
No matter what, it's a huge gamble. But the DCEU's foundation is very weak at the moment. How long can a compromised structure stand? Warner Bros. has some of the best characters in the world; they just need to find stable grounding. "Flashpoint" gives them the perfect opportunity to do so.
For now, Warner Bros. is officially still doing The Batman with Affleck in the lead role. Maybe that film, along with Wonder Woman and Justice League, will be giant hits with critics and audiences, in which case a restart would no longer seem necessary.
With one more disappointment, though, "Flashpoint" should be the break-in-case-of-emergency story. And whichever path Johns decides to take with the DCEU, it's a good bet that all roads lead to Darkseid.
Would you watch a Justice League 'Flashpoint' movie?
Would "Flashpoint" save the DCEU or do you think the current approach is the right way to go? Tell us in the comments below!