After next year’s Wonder Woman and Justice League films, the live-action Flash flick is easily at the top of our most-anticipated DC Cinematic Universe projects. Actor Ezra Miller was one of the best parts of the League Comic-Con trailer, and he actually got us excited to see how the big-screen Flash will differentiate itself from The CW’s hit TV series. We don’t know much about the Flash movie yet, but a recent rumor suggests the Scarlet Speedster will be facing some of his iconic enemies in his first cinematic outing. According to The Wrap, the first Flash solo film will see The Flash contending with the so-called Rogues. While that term has been used broadly to refer to all of Flash’s recurring villains, there is a core group of his most ardent foes that often band together under that name, usually led by Captain Cold. We’re assuming the movie’s Rogues will include some of these villains — but which ones?
Below, we’ve broken down 15 potential Rogues we might see on the big screen in 2018. One important note: this is not a “Greatest Flash Enemies of All Time” list, nor is the ranking intended to suggest ranked “greatness,” or even power levels. Instead, we’re giving higher ranking to those villains who have traditionally been a part of the group known as the Rogues, and based on how likely we think it is that they’ll make the cut for the movie. Because the big-screen DC Extended Universe hasn’t laid out its history of the group, however, we are including other iconic Flash villains in the list as longshot possibilities, even if they are way more likely to turn up in future sequels. With that said, here are 15 Villains Who Could Make Up The Movie’s Rogues.
15. Cobalt Blue
Family has always been important to Barry Allen, and it came back to haunt him with Cobalt Blue. Malcolm Thawne may share a surname with some of The Flash’s greatest enemies, but Malcolm is actually an Allen. Introduced during Mark Waid’s run on The Flash, Malcolm was actually Barry’s twin brother, raised by the criminal Thawne family after the Allens were told one of their boys was stillborn (it’s a long story). Malcolm eventually learned his true identity and burned with resentment for Barry getting the life he wished he’d had. Drawing power from a talisman given to him by his adoptive grandmother, Malcolm became Cobalt Blue and set about making The Flash’s life difficult.
As Cobalt Blue, Malcolm used his talisman to channel his hatred of Barry into a blue flame with which he could create constructs such as swords, but he could also steal The Flash’s speed. The family drama and the powers make for a dangerous combo, but Blue seems like a longshot to appear in the first Flash solo film, especially since he’s a relatively obscure character compared to the folks higher on this list.
You can’t mull over possible Flash enemies without a few speedsters on the list, and while Savitar might not be as well known as some of the others, he’s no less deadly. Created by Mark Waid and Oscar Jimenez, Savitar was a test pilot who gained Speed Force powers after being struck by lightning while piloting an experimental plane. In addition to garden-variety superspeed, Savitar has several unpredictable tricks up his sleeve: he can impart or steal speed and kinetic energy to others, or even inanimate objects. He can create zero-inertia force fields around himself. He can even heal his injuries at a vastly accelerated rate.
Taking his name from the Hindu god of motion, it’s appropriate that Savitar eventually developed a literal cult following. So he had an army of devoted followers, whom he could supercharge with the Speed Force. That’s the sort of threat that could obviously cause serious problems for a young and untested Flash like we may be seeing in the movie. However, Savitar isn’t really a team player unless you’re one of his cultists, so he seems like a long shot assuming the Rogues rumors are true. (Savitar is also going to play a role in the upcoming third season of the Flash TV show, which might diminish his big-screen chances.)
First appearing in May 1959’s The Flash #106, Gorilla Grodd is, as you might expect, a gorilla. But a hyperintelligent gorilla who’s also telepathic and telekinetic. So he’s basically a hairier Professor X if he could walk and could also fold you into a pretzel with his bare hands. Grodd also really doesn’t like humans, and Flash in particular. You might not think a talking gorilla would be much of a threat to a guy who could peel all the bananas in Central City before the ape could pound his chest twice, but The Flash is just as vulnerable to telepathic control as anybody else. Even more to the point, Grodd has an entire city full of people to manipulate as he sees fit, and The Flash will always want to protect those people — a vulnerability Grodd is perfectly suited to exploit.
Grodd doesn’t really do “teams” well, so he doesn’t seem likely to show up as part of the Rogues in the Flash film. He could easily hold his own as the “big bad” of a future sequel, but the whole “talking ape” thing might be a bit too silly for the grittier tone that has defined the DC Cinematic Universe so far.
12. Reverse-Flash/Professor Zoom
We’re cheating here a bit and doing a combined entry on these two, simply because they’re similar enough that they’re often confused for each other or thought to be the same character. The notion of a dark “mirror” to the Flash stretches all the way back to the era of Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick, who battled a similar villain calling himself The Rival. The best-known version of Reverse-Flash, however, is Eobard Thawne, a 25th century criminal with superspeed and a serious mad-on for The Flash. In the pre-Crisis continuity, Thawne actually killed Barry Allen’s wife, Iris, and that very personal vendetta has continued through other iterations of the character. The Flash TV show featured Thawne/Reverse-Flash as the “big bad” of season 1, revealing him to be the murderer of Barry’s mother.
While Thawne was sometimes called Zoom or Professor Zoom, the man most identified with that identity is Hunter Zolomon, a profiler working for the Keystone City police and a good friend of the third Flash, Wally West. After an accident left him paralyzed from the waist down, Zolomon tried to use the Flash’s cosmic treadmill to restore himself. He gained the ability to manipulate time, which allows him to simulate superspeed but also has all manner of other dangerous applications (at one point, he snaps his fingers, creating a shockwave that forces Wally’s wife, Linda, to miscarry their child). Since he effectively exists outside of time, he can “move” even faster than The Flash.
Either incarnation of Reverse-Flash/Zoom would be a worthy opponent for the big-screen Flash. However, they’re dangerous enough that they don’t really need a team of Rogues. Both have also figured heavily into the Flash TV series, and we’re guessing the movie will want to differentiate itself from the popular show coming out the starting gate. We’d expect them in a future sequel, however.
11. Glider/Golden Glider
The sister of Leonard “Captain Cold” Snart and the occasional lover of The Top, Golden Glider would seem to be a gimme if either of them shows up in the Flash movie (and you can bet good money Captain Cold will). However, the original concept of the character would be tough to make work in the grim-and-gritty DCEU. In the original comics, The Top’s death spurs her to seek revenge on The Flash, using her training as a figure skater and a pair of skates that allow her to skate on air. Not a great power set, and even the Flash TV show gave her a gun that could transmute anything into gold in order to make her a more serious threat.
Thankfully the New 52 gave Glider a much-needed revamp. This version of Glider was a true metahuman, rendered noncorporeal after an accident and capable of traveling at incredible speed. She could also create deadly energy tendrils that could kill without a trace. Glider’s connection to Captain Cold and the other Rogues makes her a good candidate for inclusion in the Flash movie, but it would be very interesting to see how they change the character to make more dangerous. I don’t think “sky skating” is gonna cut it.
10. The Top
A top contender for “goofiest Silver Age villain rescued by clever modern writers,” The Top was first spun off into the comics in August 1961’s The Flash #122. As envisioned by creators John Broome and Carmine Infantino, Roscoe Dillon was just a small-time crook with an obsession for tops — yep, the spinning toys. This being the Silver Age, he gained the ability to spin at superspeed and started calling himself The Top and committing top-themed crimes. Not exactly a terrifying alter ego, all things considered. Eventually, however, he developed powerful psychic abilities because of all the spinning — no, really — and even the ability to possess other people’s bodies.
The Top became a lot more interesting in later storylines, such as Identity Crisis, when it was revealed that Barry Allen had asked Zatana to reprogram The Top’s brain to make him a hero. Unfortunately, this left Dillon horribly guilty about his crimes, and he then tried to brainwash the other Rogues as well, with less than perfect results. Even with the psychic abilities, The Top would seem to be a hard sell for the big-screen DCCU. The character is also due to appear in the upcoming third season of The Flash on The CW, so we don’t expect to see a Flash movie revolving around The Top.
9. Doctor Alchemy
There have been several criminals to use the identity and/or weapons of Doctor Alchemy/Mister Element/Alchemist, but they have all presented a serious challenge to The Flash. The original Doctor Alchemy was Albert Desmond, created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino and introduced in April 1958’s Showcase #13 (originally as Mister Element). Desmond suffered from multiple personality disorder, with one personality being a devoted criminal. At first he crafted various element-themed weaponry, but he eventually got his hands on the legendary Philosopher’s Stone, which allowed him to transmute elements and ramped up his threat level considerably.
Superspeed is a tricky power to overcome, but bringing the freakin’ Philosopher’s Stone to a speedster fight might just even the odds a bit. Also, the multiple personality disorder could complicate things considerably for a good-hearted character like Barry Allen. It’s a lot more complicated to save the day when your opponent can not only turn you into helium if given the chance, but he’s also got an innocent personality trapped inside his head, screaming to get out.
8. Abra Kadabra
Superspeed is definitely handy, but what good is it when you’re up against someone who can alter the laws of physics around you? First introduced by John Broome and Carmine Infantino in May 1962’s Flash #128, Abra Kadabra is a wannabe stage magician from the 64th century. Riffing on Arthur C. Clarke’s adage that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Kadabra travels back to the modern era, when the comparative parlor tricks of his own time make him a real threat. Initially his m.o. is pretty goofy — he uses things like a device that makes people clap uncontrollably — but he also turns Flash into a puppet with a human brain at one point, which is both creepy and inventive.
Kadabra eventually bargained with the demon Neron to get real magical powers, but this removed the most interesting part of the character. If Kadabra shows up as one of the Rogues, hopefully they’ll stick with the “tech magic” angle. The key to making the Rogues a serious threat is keeping the Flash off balance and hitting him with multiple powers in an unpredictable manner. Abra Kadabra is definitely unpredictable.
7. Pied Piper
The rogue calling himself Pied Piper has had a long and interesting history of complicating The Flash’s life. First introduced in May 1959’s The Flash #106, Hartley Rathaway (Rat-away…we see what you did there, DC) was born deaf. After his wealthy father funded the design of high-tech implants to restore his hearing, Hartley began obsessively tinkering with sonic technology. Eventually this passion combined with boredom and he took on the criminal identity of the Pied Piper, mostly as a thrill seeker. Not surprising, then, that he eventually reformed and became a devoted friend and ally of the third Flash, Wally West. He also became one of DC’s first openly gay characters.
Like his namesake in folklore, Pied Piper can use his music to hypnotize people. This could be a serious problem for The Flash if he’s caught unawares, but it’s also a threat to innocent civilians, and that’s one of the most reliable ways to keep Flash off balance. More importantly, Piper’s conflicting motivations could come into play if Flash could appeal to his better nature and find an ally amongst the Rogues.
6. Heat Wave
Often teamed with Captain Cold (see further down), Heat Wave first lit up Central City in The Flash #140 in November 1963. Mick Rory’s pyromania obsessed him from a young age. As a child, he set his family’s home ablaze and simply watched it burn…with his family inside. After a friend later locked him in a slaughterhouse freezer, he developed an intense fear of cold, which only drove the flames of his fire obsession higher. After witnessing some of the Rogues’ battles with Flash, he decided he wanted a piece of the action, moved to Central City, and took on his new identity as Heat Wave.
Heat Wave has typically been best when paired with or pitted against Captain Cold, a dynamic that’s been a lot of fun on The CW’s Flash series and in Legends of Tomorrow. Like Captain Cold, he’s occasionally tried to reform himself over the years, but his hot temper and love of burning things down always seem to lure him back to the dark side. If the Flash movie uses Captain Cold, it’d be very surprising if Heat Wave doesn’t come along for the ride as well.
Sort of a cheeky mix of The Joker and the Superman villain The Toyman, The Trickster first appeared in June 1960’s Flash #113. A former circus acrobat and con man, Giovanni Giuseppe worked under the stage name “James Jesse” before deciding a life of crime might pay better than a life under the big top. Using a pair of shoes that allowed him to literally walk on air, Jesse started pranking both The Flash and Central City with a series of outlandish crimes and even more outlandish weapons — think exploding teddy bears. Like many of the Rogues, he’s switched sides on a few occasions, even spending some time working with the FBI. Axel Walker later took on the mantle of The Trickster, stealing all of Jesse’s weapons, an act that eventually forced the original Trickster to deliver an ass-whuppin’.
For such a silly character, The Trickster has gotten a surprising amount of screen time over the years. He’s best known for Mark Hamill’s performance in the 1990s Flash TV series, and again in the CW version, playing (sort of) the same character. That familiarity definitely could land Trickster a slot in the big-screen Rogues…assuming he’s not too outlandish for the Snyderverse’s more (theoretically) grounded take on the DC Universe.
4. Weather Wizard
Barry Allen gained his powers from a lightning bolt, so it’s only appropriate that one of his most tenacious enemies can control the weather. First striking Central City in December 1959’s The Flash #110, Mark Mardon was already a crook even before he donned the costume. After escaping from a prison transport, Mardon discovered his scientist brother was dead…but he’d left behind notes for a weather-control device. Mardon used the notes to craft miniaturize the device into a control rod that let him zap people with lightning, call down storms, etc. In the New 52, his background was reworked so that “Marco Mardon” and his brother were both criminals, heads of a Latino mob family. The Arrowverse combined these origins, with the Mardon brothers being a pair of criminals granted weather powers by the particle accelerator accident that also created The Flash. Mark takes up the Weather Wizard identity after his brother is killed.
Weather Wizard is one of the Rogues with the capacity to do the most widespread damage in the least amount of time. His powers are also showy and spectacular, so he’d potentially make a solid choice for a Flash movie looking to unleash some serious devastation (and that’s kind of been the DCCU’s thing, beginning with Man of Steel).
3. Mirror Master
Mirror Master is another case where several people have held the identity over the years. The original Mirror Master, introduced in March 1959’s The Flash #105, was Sam Scudder, a criminal who learned a way to actually enter his own reflection. After Scudder’s death, a Scottish mercenary named Evan McCulloch eventually inherited Mirror Master’s costume and weaponry as part of an assignment to terrorize Animal Man into backing away from his animal rights activism. Regardless of who was wearing the costume, Mirror Master would unleash a variety of visual powers, using holograms, illusions, invisibility, and the ability to travel through any reflective surface and into alternate dimensions.
Flash is mighty fast, but when you’re moving at superspeed, it’s all the more important that what you think you see, really is. If Barry can’t trust what his senses are telling him, superspeed could very quickly change from an advantage to a weakness. Mirror Master is also another character whose powers could be used in all sorts of inventive ways on the big screen, so expect to see The Flash battling him in theaters, sooner or later.
2. Captain Boomerang
First introduced in December 1960’s Flash #117, George “Digger” Harkness is a thug from Down Under who uses customized — and often razorsharp — boomerangs to bedevil The Flash and forge a criminal career while wearing a bad hat. He was a staple of the Silver Age Flash stories, at one point even trying to send Flash into outer space by strapping him to a giant boomerang. Writers have found a way to downplay the silliness inherent in his concept in recent years, with Digger and his son playing a large role in the Identity Crisis miniseries a while back, and appearances in both Arrow and the Suicide Squad movie.
It’s that last credit that would make Boomerang a given if the Flash movie is indeed going to bring in multiple rogues for the speedster to square off against. Jai Courtney’s performance as Boomerang in Suicide Squad was great fun, but he didn’t have much to do. A Flash movie would let him really run wild with the character — and hopefully put those boomerangs to better use. Plus, we know from Squad that it was The Flash who landed Digger in Belle Reeve, so he’s clearly got a score to settle.
1. Captain Cold
Leonard Snart, aka Captain Cold, has been trying to put The Flash on ice for nearly 60 years, first appearing in June 1957’s Showcase #8. Snart’s criminal career actually began with a grudge after The Flash took down Snart and his criminal crew. Determined to get revenge, Snart attempted to build a weapon that could stop The Flash and wound up creating a gun that can freeze the moisture in the air. Slippery, frozen surfaces can be a real problem when you’re running at mach 2, so Captain Cold has understandably been one of The Flash’s most deadly and long-lasting enemies over the years.
Captain Cold is also easily one of the most interesting members of the Flash’s Rogue’s Gallery. He’s typically been the de facto leader of the Rogues, but he’s also written as something of an antihero. He’s very much driven by selfish motivations, but sometimes those motivations can put him on the side of the angels — however briefly. He also typically operates under a strong moral code, so he’s not pure unleashed anarchy and violence like, say, The Joker. If the Flash movie plans to use the Rogues as antagonists, Captain Cold has to be there. And, if done well, he’s a great choice for a villain that’s more complex than the generic mustache-twirling that comic-book movies sometimes serve up.
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