The 9 Most Shocking Cameos in The Flash, Explained
The Flash is practically overflowing with Easter eggs.
In case its trailers hadn’t already made it clear, The Flash has a lot of cameos. The Andy Muschietti-directed blockbuster is an ambitious sci-fi superhero story that’s filled to the brim with references to not only the DC Extended Universe’s past films but also several of Warner Bros.’ legacy DC titles. The Flash, in other words, finds plenty of opportunities to bring back past DC actors — sometimes through, frankly, unsavory means — and tie them into its grand, multiversal story.
Not all of The Flash’s cameos are quite as obvious or self-explanatory as others, either. Therefore, here’s everything that both die-hard and casual DC fans alike should know about The Flash’s many, many surprise cameos.
The Justice League
Like so many modern superhero movies, The Flash opens with a CGI-filled action sequence. The film’s opening minutes follow Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) as he races around a crumbling Gotham City hospital trying to save as many lives as he can. Along the way, Barry interacts with not only Ben Affleck’s Batman but also Jeremy Irons’ Alfred and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. The latter’s role in the film is limited to just one brief scene with Batman and The Flash, while Affleck shows back up later for an important conversation with Miller’s Barry.
Affleck, Gadot, and Irons, notably, aren’t the only Snyderverse stars who appear in The Flash. Temuera Morrison briefly reprises his role as Thomas Curry, the father of Jason Momoa’s Arthur/Aquaman, when Barry calls him during The Flash’s second act, while Man of Steel star Michael Shannon returns as General Zod for what is essentially a glorified cameo. Momoa’s Aquaman later appears opposite Miller in The Flash’s surprisingly lighthearted post-credits scene as well.
Ultimately, neither Momoa nor any of Miller’s other Snyderverse co-stars have huge roles in The Flash, but it’s still fun to see them all briefly share the screen together again.
A Bat of Many Faces
When Ezra Miller’s Barry travels back in time and saves his mother’s life in The Flash’s first act, he creates an alternate reality where Bruce Wayne is no longer played by Ben Affleck, but Michael Keaton. The latter actor famously played the Caped Crusader in Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns, and The Flash, to its credit, does as much with Keaton’s long-awaited reprisal as it can. Out of all of The Flash’s many cameo characters, Keaton’s Bruce has easily the biggest role.
Keaton isn’t the only former Batman actor who appears in The Flash, though. During the film’s climactic multiversal sequence, viewers also briefly skip through an alternate reality where Batman and Robin are still played by Adam West and Burt Ward. Additionally, in The Flash’s final scene, Barry learns that his last-minute decision to ensure his father’s freedom from prison has resulted in Affleck’s Bruce Wayne being replaced yet again.
The Flash consequently ends with Barry coming face-to-face with an older version of Bruce Wayne who is played by Batman & Robin star George Clooney. The actor’s appearance in the film is a genuine surprise, if only because Clooney himself has gone out of his way over the years to acknowledge and apologize for his involvement in Batman & Robin, which still ranks high among the worst comic book movies ever made.
Men and Women of Steel
During the same multiversal sequence that pays homage to Adam West’s Batman TV series, The Flash dives into two other worlds. In the first, viewers see Christopher Reeve’s Superman and Helen Slater’s Supergirl looking on as the fabric of their reality begins to tear apart. In the second, a version of Superman played by Nicolas Cage uses his heat vision to kill a giant, extraterrestrial spider. Cage, notably, came incredibly close to playing Superman in the 1990s in what was meant to be a Tim Burton-directed blockbuster titled Superman Lives.
The project was ultimately abandoned before it was made, but images of Cage in a Superman suit that were taken during the film’s costume fittings can be found online. In its climactic sequence, The Flash tries to offer longtime DC Comics fans a glimpse at what Burton’s Superman Lives could have looked like. Of course, it does so while using de-aging VFX to make Cage look closer to how he would have had Superman Lives actually been made.
The film, meanwhile, uses deepfake technology to try to bring Christopher Reeve back to life for his “cameo” in its third act. It looks like the same technology was used to have Slater’s Supergirl stand alongside him as well. In all three cases, The Flash’s rough visual effects just make Cage, Reeve, and Slater’s “cameos” all fall a little flat. The film’s decision to ignore Reeve’s real-life passing in 2004 leaves the scene with a sour taste.