By George Bate & Josh Reilly B.
WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for The Flash
The Flash has finally hit theaters after years of development and seemingly countless creatives at the helm. The latest DC film, which was praised by new DC Studios boss James Gunn as one of the best superhero films ever made, was confirmed to reset the DC Universe, thus providing a (relatively) clean slate for Gunn to restart from. The first look at what the new DCU could look like is revealed in The Flash. Let’s break down that wild and surprising ending and see what implications it has for the DCU.
The Flash ends with Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) coming to the devastating conclusion that his decision to save his mother must be reversed. In saving his mom’s life, Barry created a new timeline that was destined for disaster as General Zod transforms Earth into a new Krypton and the entire multiverse crumbles. After going back in time and reversing his decision, thus ensuring that his mother is indeed killed, Barry returns to a timeline that looks like the world he is used to…or so he thinks.
Barry receives a phone call from Bruce Wayne in the final moments of The Flash. One of the most significant changes to the timeline that Barry created in saving his mom was that his friend and Justice League colleague Bruce Wayne was different (played by Michael Keaton now, as opposed to Ben Affleck). Barry answers the phone call from Bruce expecting Affleck’s Bruce to show up…but this isn’t the case.
A limousine pulls up, paparazzi surround it and obscure the audience’s view of the man exiting the car. Emerging from the crowd suddenly is none other than George Clooney! The renowned actor who played Batman in the not-so-renowned Batman & Robin is now the Bruce Wayne of the new timeline created due to Barry’s action. Barry exclaims, “Who the fuck is this guy?”, a wink to the audience given Clooney’s level of stardom and recognition that Barry is once again faced with a Bruce Wayne he doesn’t recognize.
Barry and Bruce exchange a brief conversation before Barry’s tooth falls out and the screen cuts to black. So, what does this all mean for the future of the DC Universe?
James Gunn stated that The Flash would “reset” the DC Universe, setting the stage nicely for his Superman: Legacy and the host of other projects announced a few months ago. This reset timeline come the end of The Flash notably features George Clooney as Bruce Wayne, suggesting that Clooney is the new DCU’s batman. The Flash director Andy Muschietti is helmed The Brave and the Bold, a new Batman and Robin film part of the refreshed DC Universe, so there are already plans in place to have a different take on Batman. It would be extremely surprising and add further confusion to the mix if Clooney is teased as the new Batman only to then exit and be recast by yet another actor, indicating that Clooney could well be the Batman in The Brave and the Bold.
Would this mean that 1997’s critically panned Batman & Robin is now canon? No, probably not. It’s completely feasible for George Clooney to be brought back as Bruce Wayne from a different universe, one that has nothing to do with Joel Schumacher’s film.
Although the decision to make Clooney the new Batman may seem surprising, it actually makes a lot of sense. Despite the poor reviews of Batman & Robin, most admit that Clooney would’ve made a solid Bruce Wayne / Batman if he was given better material. Clooney is also one of the rare A-list actors who has yet to appear in the plethora of Marvel and DC films over the past 15 years, so there’s still room for him to don a cape and cowl for another throw of the batarang.
The Flash is in theaters now. Check out our review below: