The Speed Force
'Justice League' Flashpoint moment may actually change the DCEU forever
“Run, Barry! Run!”
The Flash is fast. Everyone knows this. Deep-cut fans know just how fast, even if in the present state of the DC Extended Universe, Barry Allen himself doesn’t know the full extent of the Speed Force.
But that’s all about to change, thanks to Zack Snyder’s Justice League on HBO Max.
At last, the “Snyder Cut” delivers a climactic ending that is not only more complete than the 2017 theatrical version, but also offers a glimpse into the future for the Scarlet Speedster. With the Flash set to star in his own movie in 2022 that we know is loosely based on the 2011 DC event crossover Flashpoint, the (new?) ending of Justice League offers all the proper table setting for the Flash to change everything. That may even include the DC Universe itself.
Here’s how the ending of Zack Snyder’s Justice League brings us one step closer to The Flash.
The ending of the Snyder Cut
Omitted from the theatrical version of Justice League and restored in the Snyder Cut is a superpower that Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) learns to use with the Speed Force: Manipulating time. By running at a fast enough speed, Barry — who technically hasn’t called himself The Flash yet, not until he meets a certain TV superhero — can change the flow of time itself.
In Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Barry runs fast enough to reverse time by a few minutes on two different occasions. First is during the resurrection of Superman. The second is in the climax when the Justice League fails to prevent the Mother Box from exploding. With the Earth torched, Barry runs faster than he ever has before. In the awe-inspiring finale, Barry “rewinds” time to bring his allies back and give Cyborg (Ray Fisher) the charge he needs to destroy the Mother Box.
What’s really important is what Barry tells himself as he’s running:
“Make your own future. Make your own past. It’s all right now.”
What is Flashpoint in DC?
The ending of the Snyder Cut, as it pertains to the Flash, is an elaborate setup for the DC film franchise to emulate Flashpoint.
In the summer of 2011, prior to the launch of the rebooted DC canon called the “New 52,” writer Geoff Johns revealed how an entire universe is rebooted. It’s all because of The Flash.
In the Flash’s origin story (again written by Geoff Johns, in the 2009 series The Flash: Rebirth) Barry’s mother Nora Allen is killed by a mysterious entity while his father, Henry Allen, is framed for the crime. We later learn the murderer is Barry’s arch-nemesis, the Reverse-Flash, who went back in time to become the source of Barry’s grief as a way to torment him.
Flashpoint begins with Barry selfishly reclaiming his story. While he doesn’t remember how he did it, Barry travels back in time to stop the Reverse-Flash from killing his mother. This change kicks off a brand new timeline in which Barry’s mother does survive, but at the cost of a DC Universe that makes sense.
In this new timeline:
- Superman never landed in Kansas and was never raised by the Kents
- Atlantis and Themyscira wage a war that sinks half of Europe
- Hal Jordan, who never becomes Green Lantern, is killed during a mission
- Cyborg works for the U.S. government
- Bruce Wayne was killed in the alley, and Thomas Wayne becomes a violent, murderous Batman
- Oh, and Bruce’s mother Martha becomes the Joker.
No Justice League. No hope. Flashpoint all about a bleak, alternate reality that happens because Barry selfishly chooses personal happiness at the cost of everyone else’s.
How the Snyder Cut leads to Flashpoint
The ending of the Snyder Cut shows Barry learning exactly what he needs to make Flashpoint happen. After Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Barry could absolutely use his powers to travel back far in time to stop his mother’s murder. This might create a paradox — after all, what happens when the Flash uses his powers to undo what made him Flash in the first place? — but it will undoubtedly create a disruption in the DC Extended Universe.
The Flash’s solo movie in 2022, simply titled The Flash directed by Andy Muschietti, is expected to be heavily inspired by Flashpoint while exploring the DC multiverse. (Think Into the Spider-Verse but with The Flash.) One of the biggest indicators of Flashpoint’s influence is in the presence of two Batmen: Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck, previously retired from Caped Crusader duty, reprising their iterations of the Dark Knight. The film also recently cast actress Maribel Verdu (Pan’s Labyrinth) as Nora Allen, which again emphasizes the prominence of Flashpoint’s influence on the movie’s premise.
While much of The Flash in 2022 is still kept under wraps, one thing is for sure: Barry Allen can travel through time, and the DC Universe will never be the same.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is streaming now on HBO Max.