Ever since Ezra Miller's appearance in the Comic-Con Justice League trailer, The Flash has become one of the most highly anticipated superhero films of the coming years. The latest tidbit comes in the form of casting news from Variety — Billy Crudup has been cast as Henry Allen, Barry Allen's father. Crudup is no stranger to the superhero genre, having starred as Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen.
Information about the upcoming Flash movie is being kept close to the chest and as a result, we don't know what the storyline for the Flash movie will be. However, the casting of Henry Allen could mean many things for the movie. Let's take a look.
If The Flash Is Not An Origin Story, What Purpose Does Henry Serve?
Little is known about The Flash movie, but the casting of Henry Allen leads me to believe that the film will somehow focus on the title character's origin. It has been previously announced that The Flash will be set after Justice League, which will obviously extinguish any ideas of this being a superhero origin film, but I just can't shake the feeling that the origin will be discussed. Why? Henry Allen isn't included much in the comics. In the comic books, when Barry's mom is murdered, Henry is convicted for the murder (in earlier versions he died in prison).
There is of course the possibility that Crudup will only feature in a small capacity and if this is the case then it will most likely be through prison visits with Barry. Such scenes could be the emotional moments that The Flash movie needs — Barry Allen is a rather eccentric character and there is no doubt that this film will heavily rely on humor. A scene with his dad in prison would allow the audience to connect with Barry on a more personal level, humanizing him.
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Also, Barry needs something to fight for — if his dad is in prison, then this means he has a goal; a reason to pursue the bad guys. Similar to how Batman's goal is to save Gotham and prevent anyone else from ever having to experience what he did with his parent's murder, Barry's goal could be to get justice for his father.
Will Henry Allen Differ From The TV Show Version?
Henry Allen became a much more prominent character following his appearances on The CW's hit TV Series The Flash. Played by John Wesley Shipp — who played The Flash in the earlier 1990 TV show — this version of Henry is featured frequently in the first two seasons of the show, primarily as a prison inmate but also seen through various flashbacks. However, Henry had an actual purpose for being featured on the show — his imprisonment is one of the reasons that Grant Gustin's Barry Allen decided to become The Flash following his accident. Furthermore, his dad's imprisonment pushes him to seek justice for his father. This version of Henry Allen also provides emotional support for Barry — this support gives Barry the strength to keep fighting, even when all hope was lost.
If Warner Bros. sticks to the source material, some of the elements seen in the TV show will have to be featured in the movie. Having said that, I think it would be a good idea for the film to incorporate their own elements and storylines with regards to Henry Allen. The series is incredibly successful and CW's biggest show ever; many fans hold this version of the Flash in the highest regard. It would be foolish to duplicate essentially the exact same storyline for the film — especially when the TV series is still on the air.
Warner Bros. would be running the risk of alienating the audience if they repeat themselves. The film has to exist on its own two feet and thus they should incorporate new elements while maintaining the heart of the original. The DCEU is known for their originality and avoidance of source material — Jared Leto's Joker was a far cry from The Joker we all know, after all. With this in mind, perhaps Henry and Barry could have an entirely different relationship? Perhaps Barry actually believes his father killed his mother? There should be a distinct focal point to differentiate between the show and the film.
How big Crudup's role will be has yet to be revealed but Henry Allen is an important character in Flash mythology and it's only fair that he gets to feature in the film. It's also worth noting that Crudup has worked with Ezra Miller before on The Stanford Prison Experiment so it seems that the two actors will have no issue with playing oppsite each other. Crudup will have his work cut out for him to make the character different from the TV show version, but I've every faith that he will be able to pull it off.
How do you feel about Crudup's casting? What role do you think he could play in the film? Tell me in the comment section below.