The lightning not yet canceled.
Despite recent felony burglary and assault charges and allegations of panhandling, Ezra Miller is still set to reprise his role as speedy superhero Barry Allen in a solo film. the lightning, on June 23, 2023 next year. Miller announced Monday that they were seeking help for their “complex mental health issues.”
“Having recently gone through a time of intense crisis, I now understand that I suffer from complex mental health issues and have begun ongoing treatment,” Miller said in a statement. “I want to apologize to everyone for being alarmed and upset with my behavior in the past. I am committed to doing the work necessary to get back to a healthy, safe and productive stage of my life.”
Read more: History of the charges against Ezra Miller
In the past few years, Miller has been accused of choking a woman, throwing a chair that hit another woman in the face, and inappropriate behavior toward minors, among other charges. Their decision to begin treatment comes after months of silence. The bad press reportedly prompted talks at Warner Bros. about whether to delay the $200 million film that was supposed to tie together the various parallel universes in the DC Extended Universe.
Here’s what you need to know about the future of The lightning and DC superhero movies, given the controversy brewing over Miller.
What is the plot of The lightning?
Ezra Miller as The Flash in Zack Snyder’s Justice League
In the comics, the Flash has long been closely associated with multiverse. Barry Allen’s character has the power of hyperspeed and is so fast that he can cross time and space.
Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen made his screen debut in League of Justice. in The cut of the film by Zack Snyder, Barry travels through time to prevent alternate apocalyptic futures from happening. It briefly appeared in The lightning TV show where he interacts with the TV version of Barry Allen played by Grant Gustin. This series established that different versions of the character exist in parallel universes.
Read more: The Snyder cut is a better version of the League of Justice. But it sets a dangerous precedent
The hero’s solo film, The lightningwill be loosely adapted from the famous DC film Flash point comic in which Barry Allen changes his universe after traveling back in time to try to prevent his mother’s death. Barry’s time travel shenanigans accidentally create an apocalyptic present, and the superhero must try to reverse events.
We found out from the trailer for The lightning that in an attempt to restore normalcy, Barry must team up with different versions of Batman, an alternate universe version of himself, and a version of Supergirl.
Why is The lightning important to the DCEU?
JUSTICE LEAGUE, from left: Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, 2017.
Clay Enos/Warner Bros. – courtesy of the Everett Collection
The comic book version of Flash point allowed the writers to reboot the universe and reimagine many characters. Presumably, the film version could do the same for a disjointed and chaotic DCEU.
The studio charges League of Justice as a response to DC The Avengers franchise. But the film struggled at the box office, and several key players, including Superman actor Henry Cavill and Batman actor Ben Affleck, have since expressed their desire to leave the superhero universe. Meanwhile, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman and Jason Momoa’s Aquaman will continue their separate franchises. Warner Bros. stated that it does not intend to continue the storyline that Zack Snyder has begun to build with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and its cut of League of Justice.
Meanwhile, DC is putting out tons of movies that have nothing to do with each other. The studio pitched three separate Batman franchises, one starring Affleck, another with Joaquin Phoenix playing the Joker while Bruce Wayne was still a child, and yet another with Robert Pattinson playing the Crusader. As far as we know, all these Batmans exist in different universes.
The studio also created a sequel-slash-reboot of The Suicide Squad with that of James Gunn Suicide Squad (note the missing article) without ever answering the question of whether the two films are connected and whether Gunn’s version continues to exist in the same universe as Affleck’s Batman and Miller’s The Flash. And the upcoming anti-hero movie Black Adamstarring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, may exist in one or neither of these universes.
Read more: Here are all the upcoming DCEU movies and TV shows
We know that the DCEU, like Marvel Cinematic Universe, is a multiverse. This is not clearly stated in the films themselves. But in 2020, DC Films head Walter Hamada lay out a plan about the future of the DCEU, which includes various events taking place in parallel universes, which he called “Earth One”, “Earth Two”, etc.
The lightning was set to connect all these disparate storylines and explain what the hell is going on in this cinematic world, like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in the Marvel Cinematic Universe introduced and connected parallel timelines. Warner Bros revealed that in The lightning, Barry Allen will face at least two different Batmans from different universes: Ben Affleck’s from the Snyder films and Michael Keaton’s from the Tim Burton films. It will be the first time Keaton dons the Batman cape in 34 years, and the trailer suggests he plays a major role in the film.
The lightning could also give Warner Bros. to press the reset button. The studio could fulfill Affleck’s wishes to withdraw from franchise fare by killing him off or recasting the role via parallel rogue timelines. They can also kill off any other characters that aren’t working and replace them with new people and storylines.
How the uncertainty will affect Ezra Miller’s career The lightning?
Ezra Miller attends the First Annual Time 100 Next on November 14, 2019 in New York City
ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images
A story from The Hollywood Reporter suggested that Warner Bros. plans to release the film if Miller seeks treatment and later gives interviews explaining the arrests. Earlier this month, the CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav said the studio is “committed to theaters for a number of DC films, including The lightning.“
But the same report also suggests that Warner Bros. will consider delaying the film if Miller continues to misbehave. Given that Miller plays the film’s titular character, it’s unlikely that the film will create a successful marketing campaign for the film, at least as it stands now, without significant backlash.
As if the decision wasn’t already complicated enough, Miller is at the center of another major Warner Bros. franchise: Fantastic animals movies. The studio continued to release them Harry Potter background stories despite growing controversy around writer JK Rowling, former star Johnny Depp and current star Miller. The studio’s release strategy for Fantastic animals could mean bad titles won’t deter them from pulling out their expensive franchise fare.
Warner Bros. did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the future of The lightning film and the DCEU franchise.
Warner Bros. does it reimagine the entire DCEU?
This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures, shows Zoe Kravitz, left, and Robert Pattinson in a scene from “Batman.” “Batman” continues to go strong three weeks after opening in theaters, firmly holding the top spot at the box office. Robert Pattinson’s debut as The Dark Knight earned an additional $36.8 million over the weekend, according to studio estimates, Sunday, March 20, 2022. It also crossed the $300 million mark ahead of estimates.
Jonathan Ollie—Warner Bros. Pictures/AP
The fate of the DCEU may hang in the balance.
After trying to take on Marvel at the box office before the pandemic and largely failing, Warner Bros. have taken a “see what’s left” approach to bringing out DC superhero movies. Any hope of a cohesive plot across all the movies and TV series seems to be lost.
That’s probably good for fans: keeping up with a dozen movies and TV shows a year to find out what’s going on in the MCU can be exhausting. And Warner Bros. achieved success with individual blockbusters such as The Batman and Aquaman.
But the question of whether to postpone The lightning comes amid major upheaval at parent company Warner Bros. Discovery. The studio surprised Hollywood by canceling the nearly completed $90 million Batgirl a movie made for HBO Max. Warner Bros. Discovery contextualized the decision within a broader strategy to move away from making movies for streaming. That’s a big change for a studio that released all of its movies directly to streaming for a year during the pandemic to build up HBO Max subscriptions.
Still, Batgirl cancellation suggests that few properties in the DCEU are safe — whether they’re made for the big or small screen. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hamada almost gave up After Batgirl cancellation. If he ends up leaving, a new head of DC films could completely overhaul the universe.
Read more: What the HBO Max-Discovery+ merger means for viewers — and the future of the streaming wars
What’s next in the DCEU?
Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck The Joker
Niko Tavernise—Warner Bros.
Black Adam and Shazam! Wrath of the Gods will hit theaters in the latter half of this year and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, The Flash, and Blue beetle remain on schedule for 2023.
Then Warner Bros. have confirmed that they are working on several sequels to recent hits, including a third Wonder Woman film directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gadot, a sequel to The Batman with Matt Reeves returning as writer and director and Pattinson reprising his role as The Dark Knight and – perhaps most surprisingly – a musical sequel to The Joker with none other than Lady Gaga as the Joker’s lover Harley Quinn.
It is not clear whether The lightning affects the plots of any of these films, so removing the film from the list would wreak havoc on the studio’s larger plan for the DCEU. But undoubtedly the more pressing concern for Warner Bros. is whether they can make back the money they invested in a film that was supposed to welcome back Keaton’s fan-favorite Batman character and launch a new star into the franchise. Given Miller’s unpredictable ups and downs of late, those dreams may be dashed.
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