The upcoming superhero film The Flash is shaping up to be an epic affair with massive implications for DC’s shared movie universe going forward. Under filmmakers Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, however, the Scarlet Speeder’s first big-screen solo outing likely would have looked a bit different.
During an interview with Variety, Goldstein and Daley discussed the vision they had for The Flash prior to exiting the project. “We pitched this idea of a ground-level superhero where it isn’t entirely end-of-the-world stakes,” Daley said. “He’s just learning his powers and is also somewhat dysfunctional with his life. The more imperfect we can make a superhero, the better, because that’s the inherent challenge: How do you give imperfection to someone that is, you know, physically perfect?”
Why Goldstein and Daley Left The Flash
Goldstein and Daley also opened up about why exactly they left The Flash. Prior to writing their version of the script, the filmmaking duo actually met with the film’s star, Ezra Miller, over dinner. “They were intense and very bright,” Goldstein said of Miller. “Later, it became clear that they didn’t want to quite do the same thing as we did.” The Flash had a notoriously troubled production, with numerous writers and directors being attached to the project at one point or another, including Goldstein and Daley.
Warner Bros. Pictures was eyeing Goldstein and Daley to both write and direct The Flash as of early 2018. In 2019, it came to light that Miller was writing a competing version of the film’s script alongside acclaimed comic book writer Grant Morrison. Warner Bros. ultimately rejected Miller and Morrison’s script. However, Goldstein and Daley apparently saw the writing on the wall, and left the project themselves not long after.
“It was a number of creative differences that caused us at a certain point to decide that it was time to go,” Daley told Variety. “If we feel like the powers-that-be aren’t excited about making the same movie as we are, we’re not going to win that battle. And so it’s better to cut your losses and get out of there,” Goldstein added. The Flash was ultimately directed by Andy Muschietti from a screenplay by Christina Hodson, with Goldstein, Daley and Joby Harold receiving story credits.
Goldstein and Daley recently got the chance to screen The Flash — and while a lot obviously changed, they were still able to see shades of their original vision in the final film. “They took what we had started and really ran with it and made it a very fun and emotional movie,” Goldstein said. “We’re really happy with how it all turned out.”
Barry Allen Breaks the Universe in The Flash
The Flash follows Barry Allen/the Flash (Miller) as he goes back in time to prevent his mother’s murder, inadvertently causing a ripple effect that drastically alters the DC (Extended) Universe as we know it. Barry’s actions create a world where General Zod (Michael Shannon) is alive, well, and bent on global domination — with no Superman to stop him. In an effort to save the world, Barry joins forces with an alternate version of himself, as well as Kara Zor-El/Supergirl (Sasha Calle) and the Burton-Verse version of Bruce Wayne/Batman (Michael Keaton). The film is loosely inspired by the 2011 limited series Flashpoint, which served to reboot DC’s comic book universe.
After being in the works for several years, The Flash is finally slated to release in theaters this summer. However, the road has certainly been bumpy. In addition to its lengthy and troubled development process, the film has been the subject of controversy due to Miller’s highly-publicized legal woes. The actor is currently in treatment for “complex mental health issues” and Warner Bros. is still committed to releasing the film. Notably, The Flash’s story not only holds major implications regarding DC’s future, but has also reportedly played very well with test audiences.
As for Goldstein and Daley, the two are certainly no strangers to superhero projects, having previously co-written the 2017 Marvel Cinematic Universe film Spider-Man: Homecoming. Up next for the duo is the fast-approaching Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, which hits theaters at the end of this month. Goldstein and Daley directed the D&D film from a script they co-wrote with Michael Gilio.