At this past weekend’s San Diego Comic Con, Warner Brothers announced that The Flash film would be renamed Flashpoint. This caused the comic fans to start talking and the non-initiated to say, “What?” Well, we are here to try and answer your questions. So, fire away!
What is Flashpoint?
Flashpoint was a 2011 comic book crossover run by DC Comics. While the man series, written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Andy Kubert, was only 5 issues long, it had sixteen tie-in miniseries of three issues each and a number of one-shot standalone issues as well.
The story involved the Flash going back in time to stop the murder of his mother by his arch-enemy, The Reverse-Flash. He succeeds but returns to a different present than the one he’s left. Superman is no where to be found, Batman is more brutal than ever, and Aquaman and Wonder Woman are at war with each other with all of Europe caught in the crossfire. It is up to the Flash to fix his greatest mistake and return the world back to the way it was. Oh, and he has to do it without his powers because he now never became the Flash.
Gee, that sounds familiar. Where might have I seen that before?
Even though the story line is only six years old, it has already been adapted into other media twice. It was adapted in 2011 into an animated film, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. And the past season of CW’s The Flash featured a toned down, much smaller version of the story.
Why are they going back to this story so often?
Well, in my opinion, there aren’t a lot of iconic Barry Allen comic book runs. The only other notable arc that springs to mind is “The Trial of the Flash” which ran from 1983 to 1985 in The Flash, from issue #323 to issue #350. But that really isn’t an entry-level Flash story. You can argue that “Flashpoint” isn’t either. But it would involve a lot less tweaking to adapt it into one than any other run.
But the film would be in the shadow of the TV series anyway without doing the same story. How do they make the Flashpoint story line different?
By going bigger. In the TV show, the damages are on more of a personal level. Go in the other direction. Present it as a global epic the comic book was. Make it the DCEU version of Captain America: Civil War. Have it centered on the Flash but with the rest of the DCEU characters in the background. Sink Europe. Have the Amazons conquer England. Use the budget advantages that film has over television to do a really big story. Anything less would be a failure.
Wait, sink Europe? What would a film adaptation of the Flashpoint comic entail exactly?
Okay, let’s go briefly through how the major members of the DCEU have changed in Flashpoint. Keep in mind, this was how they were in the story. Comic book arcs seldom are adapted beat for beat on the screen. So while this might call for a SPOILER WARNING, it might also be listing plot points that never show up on the screen.
The good news is that in Flashpoint Barry has his mother back. The bad news that he no longer has his powers. He still remembers the how the world was but those memories were fading. If he wants to set things right, he needs to get his powers back.
Only one person died in Crime Alley that fateful night–Bruce Wayne. Their son’s murder changed Thomas and Martha Wayne. Thomas became a brutal crime fighter named Batman, a vigilante who has no qualms about killing or maiming his enemies. His arch-enemy turns out to be his wife Martha, who suffers from a psychotic break and becomes this reality’s Joker.
Superman’s rocket ship did not crash land in a wheat field in Kansas but rather in downtown Metropolis. There it was confiscated by the U.S. government and Kal-El was held captive in the sub-basement of an off-the-books government facility. Since he was never exposed to the yellow sun’s radiation, he grows up a spindly, pale young man with limited social skills due to his lack of contact with the outside world.
Wonder Woman’s first contact with the outside world wasn’t with Steve Trevor in this reality, but with Aquaman. Aquaman saved Diana from a kraken, which led to the pair’s engagement. But parties on both the Amazons and the Atlanteans did not want the union of the kingdoms to happen. So a conspiracy between shadow elements of the two nations decided to sabotage the wedding by assassinating Wonder Woman. However, Queen Hippolyta blocked the killing trident instead, causing Wonder Woman to swear vengeance upon Aquaman and the Atlanteans.
In the resulting war, Wonder Woman and the Amazons conquered the British Isles and renamed them New Themyscira.
Aquaman has his own reason for vengeance. After the failed marriage with Wonder Woman, Aquaman met, fell in love and married a woman named Mera. Wonder Woman killed Mera with her bare hands by slicing her head off. That was all Aquaman needed to pursue the war with the Amazons to any and all extremes.
Those extremes included creating a tsunami that flooded almost all of Europe in order to get at Wonder Woman and her forces. He killed millions of people just to try and take out his enemy. And the attack failed because the Amazons had a counter weapon to protect New Themyscira.
Billy Batson did not become Captain Marvel (renamed here Captain Thunder) alone in this reality. Here, he was one of six orphans who were granted powers by the Wizard. Each possesses on aspect of the heroe’s personality, and when they all say “Shazam!” at the same time, they become Captain Thunder.
Captain Thunder had tried to stop Wonder Woman in the past, only to fail. He joins Batman, Cyborg and the Flash in trying to stop the final conflict between Aquaman and Wonder Woman, but Wonder Woman’s ally The Enchantress reverts Captain Marvel back into the children, and an Amazon warrior kills Billy Batson.
Cyborg is American’s greatest hero. He initially tries to gather the remaining heroes into a coalition to stop the war between Aquaman and Wonder Woman, but failed when Batman refused to join. He is quick to aid Flash and Batman in their quest to stop the fighting.
In this reality, Hal Jordan never became Green Lantern. Instead, he remained a pilot who was drafted by the U.S. Government to patrol the West Coast. He sacrifices his life on a mission to drop a nuclear bomb on New Themyscira.
What about the SUICIDE SQUAD characters?
Other than the Enchantress, the other characters from the film don’t play a big role in the comic book. In fact, I don’t think most of them appear at all. So, there should be really no need to shoehorn them into Flashpoint.
I know, because that’s a lot of stuff going on already! How are they going to fit all that into one film?
I have no idea. This might be part of the reason why they are having such a hard time finding a director and why Warners is so set on Robert Zemeckis to fill the role. They need a director with strong storytelling abilities who will not go too far off the beaten path so the story doesn’t get lost. Odds are you won’t be getting everything you see above, or at least not in as much detail.
How long do you think all of this was in the works?
Well, Geoff Johns said as far back as last year that one of the things that would differentiate the film from the TV series would be the film’s use of time travel. That seems like an early hint that Flashpoint was coming. Also, look at the casting that has gone on. You have Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan as Bruce Wayne’s parents. While they aren’t Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, they are bigger actors than you’d expect to be in a scene where all they do is get shot by Joe Chill. And the supporting casts of Wonder Woman and Aquaman are chock full of actors that are bigger than the roles the signed on for in those films. These actors were probably cast knowing that they would have a bigger part in Flashpoint. Taking that into consideration, I imagine Flashpoint was being planned from the get go.
What does this mean for FLASHPOINT’s release date? When will we see it?
The most logical time to release Flashpoint would be after all the other DCEU films are released. This way, all the characters would be introduced before we are shown their alternate reality versions. Of course, Warners isn’t always all that logical.
The Flashpoint crossover ushered in a reboot of comics called The New 52. Is this a way for Warners to reboot the DCEU?
Possibly. We have already heard rumors of Ben Affleck being ushered out as Batman. An event that wipes the slate clean could easily make that happen.
But would that really be a good idea?
It depends on your point of view. On the one hand, anything that wipes Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice from the books would be a good thing. And there is no time limit on when you can reboot your franchise after already rebooting it. However, Warners seems to be gaining momentum with its DCEU films. Suicide Squad was better than BvS:DoJ, and Wonder Woman is the best comic book film of 2017, period. At the earliest, Flashpoint will be arriving after Justice League, Aquaman and Shazam!. If those films are as good as Wonder Woman, then a reboot really wouldn’t be necessary. Of course, they could go with a soft reboot–tweaking the DCEU continuity to get rid of problematic plot points–but a scorched earth approach might not be necessary.
Should I get excited about this?
I can’t answer that question. You need to search your heart for the answer to that. All I can say is that I am intrigued and eager to find out more about what we will be getting. I’ll be following news of the project with great interest. This could be epic.