As part of the DC Extended Universe, Warner Bros. will release a standalone The Flash movie in 2018. When it was announced, the project was hit with some controversy, since it will not be connected to the popular Flash television show that's currently airing on the CW. Actor Ezra Miller was cast to play Barry Allen on the big screen, having now made brief cameos in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and being set to reprise the role in Justice League. This means that Grant Gustin's well-received take will only get the spotlight on TV, a fact that has upset several fans.
For their part, WB has explained that they intend to keep the film and television universes separate in order to maintain (relative) creative freedom across the various mediums. This is arguably a smart strategy, since the movie will not have to tie into three seasons of the show (making it more accessible for general audiences). While the studio is justified in their decision, it hasn't sat well with everyone, including one of Gustin's Flash co-stars.
In an interview with The Nerdist, Tom Cavanagh (who plays Dr. Harrison Wells) was asked about the DC films and said that Gustin would definitely have been able to portray whatever version of the character that director Zack Snyder wanted in his team-up movie:
“It was either Variety or Vanity Fair that wrote an article that said [DC] needs to watch what they’re doing on TV, because the TV’s working and some of the other darker stuff isn’t working.
Here’s what I’ll say about him not being The Flash. The first thing is that for Zack Snyder to say ‘that’s not really the universe that we’re building,’ it’s excruciating for an actor. Because you’re like, ‘Uh, what about acting?’ He’s a clean-cut guy and winning, yes, because he’s acting that. He’s not Barry Allen. He’s Grant Gustin. He created that thing. If you want [your Flash] to have long hair and be a slacker, believe me, Grant can play that. He makes it look easy and makes everything think that’s what he is because he’s an incredibly skilled talent. That’s why he has that job. That’s why people like the show.
If Zack Snyder were to read him for [The Flash], he would be shocked. It’s crazy for a big-time Hollywood director to say ‘that’s not the universe.’ It’s a huge misstep on his part. If you’re a director, and you’re worth your oats, then you should be able to, given an actor with talent, mold him into what you want, and Grant could do that.”
Cavanagh's defense of his colleague is admirable, but few would say that Gustin was passed over for Justice League because of his acting ability. Even though shared universes across multiple platforms are the current trend in Hollywood, they aren't always easy to maintain. Marvel Studios still has difficulty fully integrating their various TV and Netflix programs into the feature films due to all of the moving pieces, and that's something WB probably wanted to avoid in the early going. It's simply easier to start with a clean slate as opposed to ret-conning a show that was never designed to work in conjunction with the new movies. Bringing in Gustin to play a different version of The Flash (which Cavanagh seems to be supporting) would be entirely implausible and lead to unwanted confusion.
At the same token, there's always the chance the TV and movie sides crossover with one another. Earlier this year, Kevin Smith revealed that DC is leaving the doors open for that possibility, though that is hardly a confirmation that something is actually coming through the pipeline. Where it stands now, however, the DCEU is undergoing a massive overhaul. Geoff Johns is now overseeing the franchise and the Flash film is in need of a new director. WB needs to make sure all the pieces are in place before they try their hand at something ambitious like a multiverse event that involves Gustin sharing the screen with Miller. That could come years down the road once everything has been established and developed, but for now it's better to keep the Flashes as two different entities.
While that's no doubt frustrating for some, it's a situation WB has handled before. In 2006, Brandon Routh starred as Clark Kent/Superman in Bryan Singer's film Superman Returns, which premiered while Tom Welling was portraying the character on TV's Smallville. In the end, it isn't that big of a deal. Modern audiences are smart enough to keep the two separate in their minds, and casual moviegoers unfamiliar with the Flash show won't have to worry about catching up. Comparisons between the Gustin and Miller versions are inevitable, but WB has a plan in place that will hopefully result in the best for everyone involved.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is now playing in U.S. theaters. Suicide Squad will arrive on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman onJune 2, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on June 19, 2020.
Source: The Nerdist