Warner Bros’ DC Extended Universe has had a tough time finding its legs in the wake of the polarizing receptions of Man of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. Detractors place the blame squarely on the shoulders of director Zack Snyder (although it was David Ayer who helmed the latter) and Warners’ mishandling of the franchise’s tone thus far. Word is that is set to change with Wonder Woman, Justice League and the slew of solo films set to follow, including Aquaman, Shazam, Cyborg, Green Lantern Corps and The Flash. Ezra Miller has been set to reprise his role as forensic scientist-turned superhero Barry Allen/The Flash for awhile now but, like the franchise itself, the road to the big screen has been a troublesome one. The studio originally brought on Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) to pen the initial story treatment. They attempted to get them on as directors also, but they later instead brought in author Seth Grahame-Smith (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter) to write and direct.
A year later, Grahame-Smith dropped out due to creative differences with the studio. They then tapped Rick Famuyiwa (Dope, The Wood) to replace him, who added Kiersey Clemons (Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Dope) and Billy Crudup (Alien: Covenant, Watchmen) to the cast as Iris West and Henry Allen, Barry’s father. Ray Fisher was also confirmed to return as Cyborg from Justice League. Just when things looked like they were good to go, Famuyiwa left the project, also citing creative differences. The studio has been steadily searching for another director, with the recent shortlist rumored to include Robert Zemeckis (Flight, Back to the Future ), Matthew Vaughn (Kings man: The Golden Circle, Kick-Ass), Sam Raimi (Drag Me to Hell, Spider-Man 2) and Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2). All of these directors would make a good choice, with the latter three all having prior comic book film experience. Ironically, it’s Zemeckis who has emerged as the frontrunner, in the hearts and minds of fans and purportedly the studio as well. Yesterday, it was reported by several media outlets that Webb and Raimi had both passed on the film, leaving Vaughn and Zemeckis as the only remaining frontrunner candidates for now. The film is still maintaining its 2020 release date, so they still have plenty of time to nail down a director.
On the cast side of things, rumors began to spread a couple of days ago that Billy Crudup was likely dropping out as well, citing the continual script and director delays. The actor is looking to get a huge boost to his profile following the release of Alien: Covenant tomorrow, which combined with his roles in Watchmen and potentially The Flash would go a long way toward furthrr establishing his geek cred. So while backing out of this film wouldn’t be the best or smartest move, it is an understandable one. But not to fret, the studio has denied those rumors and confirmed that Crudup is still onboard, so all of this speculation may all be for nought. Here’s hoping they get things settled behind the scenes so we can finally get off of this merry-go-round of directors.
The Flash is currently scheduled for release sometime in 2020.