Is The Flash Movie In Danger Of Running Off The Rails?

On October 31st, it was announced that director Rick Famuyiwa was leaving the production of Warner Bros and DC Entertainment's The Flash. The Dope director released a statement.

'I pitched a version of the film in line with my voice, humor, and heart. While it's disappointing that we couldn't come together creatively on the project, I remain grateful for the opportunity. I will continue to look for opportunities to tell stories that speak to a fresh generational, topical and multicultural point of view.'

He added that he wished everyone involved with the movie the best as they continued 'their journey into the speed force'.

The Flash Tries to Move Forward

The movie's star Ezra Miller was recently interviewed by Nerdist while doing promotion for another massive franchise movie he is a part of, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. He said he was 'a little sad' at losing Famuyiwa.  But, he added he was 'super grateful for all the work he has done.' Miller took a Zen approach, believing that in the process of people coming together to create art, sometimes 'things work out' and sometimes 'things don't work out. I definitely feel like ultimately things will work out'.

Some detractors of the DCEU were quick to say this is a sign that the movie is in bad shape. It has had a stuttering start to life with the mixed reactions to Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Suicide Squad. Obviously, a director leaving a movie that is well into pre-production and has cast many of its key roles is always going to be something of a spanner in the works. Nobody would ever want that to happen. But it has happened before on big Hollywood productions. The studios then have to find a way to make it work.

The Flash Reflects Other DC Drama

Recently, Warners avoided another potential banana peel when director Michelle McLaren left Wonder Woman. She was replaced two days later by Patty Jenkins. But the trailers for Jenkins' movie have been received well and their is an optimism about the film, so that could be proof that losing a director isn't always the end of the world.

However, the naysayers might have a point about The Flash. Why? Well, Famiyuwa isn't the first director to leave the project. He's actually the second. Seth Grahame-Smith, who wrote the novels and screenplays for Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, was initially attached to write and direct the film. But he left the project suddenly in April 2016. He cited the same 'creative differences' that Famiyuwa seemed to be getting at in his official statement.

Why have two separate directors bailed on a movie that could be as beneficial for their careers as The Flash? The movie is sure to be a tentpole release for Warners in March 2018. It would certainly have been the most high profile project either director had made in their burgeoning careers. What could have caused them to decide the creative differences they were experiencing were too much to put up with?

The Flash Already Exists

And why are Warners having such trouble putting together a Flash movie? They've managed to create a wonderful TV series about the very same character on the CW Network! The TV show, starring Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, is currently in its third season. It has been consistently critically and commercially beloved since its debut in 2014. When it was announced that Ezra Miller, a fantastic actor in his own right, would be playing Barry on the big screen, many fans were perplexed. Was it potentially confusing to have the character played by two different people on the big and small screens?

Even disregarding this, it is strange that the creative vision can be so perfect in one medium, but struggle so much in another. Should Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg, two of the key creative forces behind the show, be brought into the movie fold? The situation gets even murkier when you consider that Geoff Johns, the Chief Creative Officer at DC Comics and one of the developers of the show, is also a producer on the movie. It must be odd, at the very least, to be working on two different versions of the same character at the same time.

DC Woes to Continue?

It certainly looks to us like there is some sort of strife going on behind the scenes on The Flash. Definitely more than usual on projects like this. We don't think all is lost. But the next person hired as director will likely have to accept they are there to facilitate the studio's vision. It's already been shown that two directors with their own specific visions ended up walking out. Presumably they butted heads with the studio over what they wanted their movie to be. The next director will be on a tighter schedule, with a release date approaching fast. The cast and script is already in place from previous directors. They've got their work cut out for them, whoever they are, that's for sure.

It's worth noting that these situations sometimes have a way of working themselves out, like Ezra Miller said. For instance, Matthew Vaughn was attached to direct both X-Men: The Last Stand and Thor, but he left both projects. Ultimately, Kenneth Branagh stepped in and made a very solid Thor movie. Vaughn was able to make the wonderful Kick-Ass, before returning to the mutant franchise with the excellent X-Men: First Class. So maybe Seth Grahame-Smith and Rick Famuyima have other, better movies in them that they want to make? And who knows, they could even return to the comic book movie fold at some point like Vaughn before them.

All in all, we believe that the production troubles on The Flash don't necessarily spell doom for the project. Other movies have overcome similar issues. But, they are definitely experiencing more than the usual level of obstacles. They could be in danger of running off the rails if Warner Brothers doesn't find the right person to direct.

As soon as possible.

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