The Flash Editor Finally Explains the Movie's Strangest Cameo
The Flash truly was a team effort.
The Flash’s visual effects aren’t the best. It’s a truth that’s been acknowledged since the film first hit theaters, and its reputation is only sinking lower as more fans share clips of the most baffling scenes across the web.
One of The Flash’s most talked-about moments features cameos from all over the DC Universe. From Christopher Reeves’ Superman to the original Flash, Jay Garrick, The Flash really pulled out all the stops in depicting its uncanny multiverse. Production, however, has gotten a lot of flack for this particular scene. It doesn’t help that so many of the voice-only cameos were ripped from YouTube, of all places; The Flash also resurrects long-dead actors with some pretty rubbery CGI. Not a great look for the film that was supposed to wrap DC’s Extended Universe with a satisfying bow.
That said, you do have to hand it to the artists who worked behind-the-scenes to bring DC’s multiverse to life. The visual effects team was clearly working with everything they had. For better or worse, it was an inside job — and that even meant casting members of the crew to complete the film’s biggest moment.
Jay Garrick was probably one of the more surprising additions to The Flash. Many assumed that the film would feature more than one version of the hero, but few expected to see this alternate-universe Flash in the film. In the comics, Garrick actually bears the mantle before Barry Allen. Though he’s not exactly a household name, he does appear in the second season of The Flash. John Wesley Shipp portrays him in the CW series, though the villain Zoom (Teddy Sears) also briefly assumes his identity.
Once The Flash hit theaters, many assumed it was actually Sears standing in as Jay Garrick. The composite bears a striking resemblance to actor, but director Andy Muschietti actually tapped his co-editor, Jason Ballantine, for the cameo. Ballantine confirmed as much while appearing on the Rough Cut podcast:
“There was a moment with [Andy Muschietti] figuring out the Chrono Bowls and the revisiting to the different time periods ... and the Jay Garrick character, the black and white Flash, and Andy’s conceptualizing that. He wanted [him] as one of the characters, and quite large on screen. And then DJ [Desjardin], our visual effects supervisor, said, ‘Well, if we’re going to have a digital character that large on screen, then it would be better to have a real face just to help with the look of the shot.’”
Ballantine volunteered instantly. “I stuck my hand up,” he continued. “My arm nearly flew off my shoulder.” It’s not every day one gets to appear in a film of such magnitude, so the editor’s enthusiasm is certainly warranted.
His cameo in The Flash is also one of the least distracting, since it draws on a living, breathing likeness instead of 100% CGI. Desjardin definitely had the right idea when it came to the Garrik cameo. If only the other cameos from the film could have used real faces instead of computer-generated composites. It wouldn’t excuse all The Flash’s flaws, but it certainly would have improved upon its most glaring.