The Crimson Comet is in hot water. Ezra Miller, who was lauded for bringing a much-needed dose of awkward, boyish charm to the gritty, DC Extended Universe, reportedly has Warner Bros. executives squirming to figure out what to do with their Flash. Is it possible DC’s fans already have the solution?
What happened — Miller was arrested in Hawaii in late March after allegedly threatening a couple staying in the small town of Holi. This isn’t the first time the actor has acted out. In the last two years, Miller has exhibited a pattern of random volatility and aggression.
Meanwhile, Grant Gustin, the actor who portrays Barry Allen in The CW’s Arrowverse show The Flash, has had a successful eight-season run on the show since its debut in 2014. Gustin has also done so with nary a blemish to his reputation, with no public scandals to date.
As rumors have been circulating online about Miller’s fate in the DCEU, fans are calling for Gustin to don a new kind of golden boots — only this time, for a franchise with a bigger budget, better production, and a wider audience.
Even David Nutter, who directed the first two episodes of the CW’s The Flash agrees that Gustin is more than qualified to step into the role. (Stay tuned to Inverse for more from Nutter on his big new show, HBO’s The Time Travelers Wife.)
“Absolutely, nobody better,” Nutter tells Inverse. “I thought Grant Gustin was the Flash of all ages. And I think that after eight seasons of being on a very successful show and being well-loved, why not bring him back? You’ll only find different, you’ll never find better.”
Nutter isn’t alone in his beliefs. Inverse spoke with self-professed No. 1 fans of both DC shows and movies to get a better sense of why some are hyping up Gustin for a big-screen Scarlet Speedster role and why others think Warner Bros. should find a fresh face to play Flash in future DCEU projects.
Why fans want Grant Gustin in the DCEU
For many fans, Gustin is the perfect embodiment of Barry Allen (aka, The Flash), and for that reason, Twitter user @Flashverse_yt believes the TV actor should replace Miller in the DCEU.
“We have seen this man play this character for eight years, so we have seen him fully grow and fully develop into the character,” he tells Inverse. “It would feel odd to see someone else in his shoes.”
“The Flash represents that what you have lost doesn’t have to define you.”
Another fan who goes by PVR (or @TOAA_Shill_ on Twitter), wants Miller to face repercussions for their actions, and Gustin to take their place in the DCEU because he has “had time to really dive into the character and perfect his each and every mannerism.”
As PVR points out, the casting of Flash is important because these legacy comic book characters mean a lot to people.
“Superman represents hope, a young teenage boy can understand responsibility from Spider-Man, and the Flash represents that what you have lost doesn’t have to define you — it’s what you still have,” PVR says. “For an actor who plays a character who means so much to so many people worldwide to go ahead and take part in such activities shouldn’t go scot-free.”
Alexander Page (@PagmystYT on Twitter) is most excited for Gustin to possibly bolt to the DCEU because Grant has, in their opinion, “always brought his A-game when it comes to heavy scenes that need to strike an emotional chord.”
Where it concerns Miller, Page adds, “You never want anyone to lose their job, or potentially careers, but if you are a repeat offender and are putting the hard work of countless others at risk, or putting it in a bad light, then I think drastic actions like recasting or just being fired as a whole should be seen as reasonable option.”
On that note, PVR still feels that much of the Miller drama is partly the studio’s fault. Warner Bros. was “well aware” of Miller’s situation, the user noted, referencing an incident in which the actor choked a woman in Iceland in 2020, yet continued to make the film without any help given to them.
Is it too early to replace Ezra Miller?
The circumstances surrounding Miller’s alleged behavior are still too unclear, which leaves some fans thinking that “replacement talks” shouldn’t be happening this soon.
“I wasn’t exactly shocked considering Ezra’s history. If anything, I was just in disbelief at how cursed this movie has been for years now,” Neb (@NebsGoodTakes) tells Inverse, referring to all of the production delays that have caused the movie to be pushed years out from its original debut date.
“I initially hoped for the best,” they continue, “but as more details of their violent escapades have come out over the next few days, I firmly believe their career is unsalvageable unless the context suddenly changes.”
Neb notes that while a recast should happen, rehab should be the priority, and focusing on replacement rather than rehabilitation may be premature. They also don’t feel that Gustin would be the best replacement, as his version of Barry Allen is far too different from Miller’s to feel right.
“Plus, I don’t think people realize how taxing being a lead on The CW for 8 years is,” Neb says. “The guy deserves to relax!”
Alexander Zalben, managing editor of Decider, also doesn’t think that Gustin should take over as the Flash in the new movies, despite thinking Gustin has done a phenomenal job on The CW.
“He seems like a genuinely good guy, and I’d love to see him continue to have a successful career. However, casting Gustin in the movies would make them feel like they’re tied to the TV show, rather than their own original franchise,” Zalben says. “Let Gustin finish up The CW’s Flash with a band and then move on to other projects that will challenge him in different ways.”
Zalben is not excited about Miller’s involvement in the DCEU’s Flash, and Neb agrees that Miller should be let go. Moreover, Neb does not think that mental health is “an excuse to terrorize locals or something,” but they also feel that there’s a time and a place for a discussion of replacement, and it shouldn’t be when we still don’t know the extent of the events of an ongoing situation. (As of this morning, for example, the restraining order filed against Miller by the couple in Hawaii was dropped.)
“It reveals your priorities when a real news story like this breaks and your initial response is to go, Good! Now we can get the real Flash I always wanted! with a poorly photoshopped poster or a low-quality gif,” Neb says.
Why bringing Gustin into the DCEU is possible
While some fans may be divided about whether Gustin should replace Miller in the DCEU, it’s worth pointing out that the transition would technically make sense from a narrative perspective.
The Flash will likely be an adaptation of the 2011 comic book series Flashpoint, during which Barry partners up with an alternate reality Barry to save his mother’s life. This would make bringing in Gustin in later projects entirely feasible and in line with the DCEU’s grander multiverse plans, as an alternate reality Barry could easily wind up as the “new” face of the film franchise.
Meanwhile, the Arrowverse has already established a link between the CW shows and the DC movies. In the TV adaptation of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Gustin and Miller’s versions of the Flash even meet, meaning that Grant Gustin could technically enter the DCEU without breaking canon.
If and when the next big DC crossover movie (or movies) happens, Page affirms that it will probably be an “Avengers Endgame level-event film.” “I think it would be crazy not to build up to an event like that.”
“If the DCEU were going to make a Crisis event then, I believe it would most likely be better than The CW’s, primarily because they would have a higher budget,” says Twitter user @Flashverse_yt. Some characters he hopes to see if such a movie were to happen are Christian Bale’s Batman, Brandon Routh’s Superman, and of course, Gustin’s Flash.
With the multiverse being all the rage these days, it’s not surprising to see fans speculating how DC could leverage their many established universes to bring a beloved actor, like Gustin, to the big screen. For now, that remains a pipe dream for many Flash fans. Warner Bros. has not released a statement on what it plans to do with Miller in light of their bad behavior these past few weeks.
Only time will tell what the future holds for The Flash.
The Flash races into theaters on June 23, 2023.