As much as the average comic book fan might disagree, it seems Warner Bros. believes that the world really is big enough for two versions of some of their most beloved superheroes. The decision to keep the DC movie and TV universes separate raised some eyebrows among those used to Marvel's notion of a "shared universe," but the producers claimed it afforded more freedom - demonstrated almost immediately with the news that not one, but two different versions of The Flash would be gracing the big and small screen.
Movie fans got a taste of the new take thanks to a cameo from Ezra Miller's 'Barry Allen' in Batman V Superman (and a ripple in time, too). But it was the first Justice League trailer that revealed him in action, and the official costume art showing his new, hand-made suit that started driving the differences home. Of course, it wouldn't be the reveal of the second Flash without getting the reaction of the first one to bear the title: star of The CW's Flash, Grant Gustin.
We had the opportunity to speak with Gustin during San Diego Comic-Con 2016, not long after the official art debuted - before he had gotten a chance to see it himself, it turns out. Asking how he felt it measured up to his own costume, Gustin voiced nothing but optimism as a fan of the characters, above all else:
"Oh sick, I haven't seen it [is handed phone displaying Justice League image]... They're completely different. Yeah, I mean I was kind of expecting this, I heard it was going to be kind of like Injustice. I hadn't seen this yet, what else is out. Sorry I'm scrolling through the whole thing, I haven't seen this picture. Yeah, that's sick. Um... yeah, it's sick. I'm glad it's really different though [laughs]. Because ours is like a street, vintage feel that I don't think has been done in any other version of the character."
We would assume that most fans would share his relief that there's a sizable difference between the versions of the suit, as much as there are differences between the actors playing them. While some of Gustin's Flash cast members have been vocal in their belief that the TV star should have gotten the chance to play the hero in Zack Snyder's Justice League, Gustin has been far more diplomatic (seemingly content without playing one of DC's most warmly-received and acclaimed properties to date).
Knowing that Gustin was a devout fan of the Man of Steel long before he put on the crimson cowl, it wasn't a surprise to hear him confirm that he had seen Snyder's Batman V Superman, and Miller's debut in the role of (a different) 'Barry Allen.' But when we asked if the moment seeing his own character on screen - played by another person - was a strange one, he stated his perspective... one that most fans of the character would probably do well to keep in mind:
"Well at that point it didn't really feel like I was seeing my character on screen, at all. Because you barely saw him, first of all. He wasn't really The Flash yet. And even still, Ezra's just going to do his thing. It's going to be, probably, pretty different. And I think he's a great actor. I don't think it's ever going to feel like 'Oh, that's weird, he's playing my character!' He's going to be playing his character. It'll be cool.'"
There may be some similarities between Gustin's and Miller's bumbling-but-goodhearted deliveries in the limited footage shown, but that's to be expected of any real version of the hero. The real difference will only be visible once Miller and Snyder get to flesh out their version - what role his origin will play in the current crisis, how he'll gel with team members differently, why he doesn't have friends when the story introduces him - and knowing that Gustin is on board to see another superhero brought to life should be an example for other fans to follow.
You're about to have 2 different takes on Barry Allen, played by 2 different actors that I think are equally thrilled to have the chance.
— Grant Gustin (@grantgust) July 24, 2016
What do you think of Gustin's reaction to the costume, and the slow-but-steady unveiling of DC's new Flash? Is it the kind of supportive excitement you'd expect from one actor whose career skyrocketed over night thanks to the same source material, or do you still have reservations?
Suicide Squad is scheduled to arrive in theaters on August 5, 2016; Wonder Woman is slated for release on June 2, 2017; followed by Justice League on November 17, 2017; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020. The Flash is currently without a release date.