By now, we all know that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is coming. Although we've only seen a trailer so far, we can safely say that it will do well at the box office. We also know that it will involve a lot of setup for a future Justice League film. DC has already announced release dates for films based on Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Cyborg, Shazam, Aquaman and, interestingly, The Flash.
What is interesting about #TheFlash's film is that it will NOT be related in any way to the highly successful TV series starring Grant Gustin. To rub salt into Gustin's wounds, the announcement that Ezra Miller would be playing The Flash on the big screen was made just days after The Flash Season 1 began.
Stephen Amell, the star of #Arrow (of which The Flash is a spin off), was initially thought to be in talks with #DC about joining the Justice League in his role of Oliver Queen/Green Arrow. This was later confirmed by Amell himself to be fabricated by the press, but when it was announced so soon after The Flash premiered that Grant Gustin would not reprise his role, it is safe to say that he was a bit irritated by the timing:
I thought that the way that Warner Bros. announced the slate of DC movies could have been handled better. And I think someone like Grant Gustin, who has just launched an iconic character like the Flash to record-breaking numbers, numbers that far-surpassed Arrow’s numbers, he should have been given a wider berth than two episodes before another actor was announced to play his character.
Arrow and The Flash are both highly successful shows for DC. They are about to expand the universe even further with #LegendsOfTomorrow, which will feature characters from both shows. DC has made it clear that their Cinematic Universe and Television Universe will remain separate entities. But have they made a mistake in doing this?
Marvel has already shown that television and films can combine successfully. Arguably, the best thing to happen to Agents of SHIELD was the change instigated by the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The fall of SHIELD was a literal game changer for the series and allowed the show to gain its own unique identity and, by extension, its own place within the MCU. Before this change, Agents of SHIELD struggled to maintain viewers and had yet to find its identity. Since then, it has gone from strength to strength. Season 2 was an improvement and so far, Season 3 has been excellent.
In separating their universes, DC will undo years of stories about The Flash. Grant Gustin's series will be into its 4th season by the time Ezra Miller's film is released, so DC showing another origin story about the same character (Barry Allen) could confuse viewers. There were criticisms that Sony rebooted the Spider-Man films too soon, so why would this not happen again with The Flash?
A notable absentee from the list of announced films is the Green Arrow. Now, I admit I'm more of a Marvel guy, so I could be wrong on the specifics, but there would be some who argue the Green Arrow's omission is correct. This is because he was not one of the founding members of the Justice League. But a point could certainly be made that because of Arrow's success, the Green Arrow is one of DC's better known superheroes at present. Viewers would be familiar with the character and know of his place in the TV universe.
However, I can also see the reasons FOR separating the two universes. DC could be being cautious about this one because #ManOfSteel was a very divisive film. Many were critical of the amount of destruction caused by Superman's battle against Zod in the final act, as well as Superman's decision to snap Zod's neck to save the family. Ben Affleck's casting as Batman was not met with universal praise either, especially because his portrayal of Daredevil was heavily criticized. DC could be choosing to separate their two universes in case the films flop. Green Lantern was not very successful either, so who is to say future DC films will guarantee success?
Perhaps DC has chosen to allow their successful TV series to continue without them being attached to any potential failures. If the films DO flop, viewers could be put off from watching the shows. If the films get the characters wrong, the established audience will not be happy. This is just speculation of course, as we can't say anything about the films until they are released. With the amount of setup for the Justice League film in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, one cannot help but be worried...
What do you think? Should Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin have had a chance to play their heroes on the big screen? Comment and start the discussion!