The Flash -Reuniting iconic and beloved DC characters across timelines

When I was first called about writing The Flash, I was pretty daunted,” says screenwriter Christina Hodson. “This is a very beloved character with an incredibly rich history. The thing that got me most excited was just the opportunity to tell a big, universe-changing, epic story that also had an incredibly intimate, personal heart at the center of it. I think it’s rare you get to do that in a big movie like this.”

The Flash is a film that puts the fan-favorite DC Super Hero front and center in a big-screen outing filled with epic action, surprising humor and heart, along with the wish-fulfilling superpower of the ability to bend time… and change the past. Reuniting iconic and beloved DC characters across timelines– Batman, The Flash, Supergirl and another Batman!–and featuring one of the canon’s towering villains in Krypton’s own General Zod, this film distinguishes itself as a cinematic spectacle that elevates the genre through the unique lens of director Andy Muschietti.

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And the character of The Flash is more than deserving of such extraordinary treatment. Introduced in 1940 as “quicker than the rapidity of thought” in Flash Comics #1, he was created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Harry Lampert. Later, with Fox partnering with Carmine Infantino on 1961’s Flash of Two Worlds, The Flash became the first character in comics to play with a multiverse, when the Silver Age Barry Allen traveled back in time to meet the Golden Age Jay Garrick–a then revolutionary idea that continues to fuel stories and fire imaginations today, including the talented cast and gifted filmmakers behind The Flash.

Directed by Andy Muschietti (the IT films, Mama), the screenplay was crafted by Christina Hodson (Birds of Prey, Bumblebee), with a screen story by John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein (Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, Spider-Man: Homecoming) and Joby Harold (Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, Army of the Dead), based on characters from DC.

© 2023 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved. TM & © DC

Worlds collide in The Flash when Barry uses his superpowers to travel back in time in order to change the events of the past. But when his attempt to save his family inadvertently alters the future, Barry becomes trapped in a reality in which General Zod has returned, threatening annihilation, and there are no Super Heroes to turn to. That is, unless Barry can coax a very different Batman out of retirement and rescue an imprisoned Kryptonian… albeit not the one he’s looking for. Ultimately, to save the world that he is in and return to the future that he knows, Barry’s only hope is to race for his life. But will making the ultimate sacrifice be enough to reset the universe?

In Conversation with Filmmakers

Director Andy Muschietti: For me, it was about the purity of the emotional core of the story underneath this massive action adventure. There’s something that is in the foundations of the story that is very emotional. It’s a story between a kid and his mother. Without that, there’s no way to build anything on top of it. And that’s what I look for in movies, that’s what I appreciate, and that’s the kind of movies that I want to make. And this story has a beautiful emotional core. It was powerful enough to spawn an adventure with these dimensions. Of course, making a superhero movie for me was a journey back to childhood, because that’s the period of my life where I was more connected with comic books. So, it meant a lot. It was like the same way that IT connected me to my teenage years. That’s a book that I obviously had in my heart for a long time. “The Flash” took me back to the years where I would buy comics, mostly Superman and Batman, but Flash was always around. It’s a beautiful nostalgic trip for me
and bringing “The Flash” to life was a beautiful challenge.

© 2023 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved. TM & © DC

The multiverse allows all these worlds to coexist without conflict. We respect the universe and aesthetic of each Batman. For example, with Keaton’s Batman, it was about “creating” a Batman that continued to work as Batman ten years following the last time we saw him in a movie. We do our best to balance it all and create the space for improvisation, humor, action, adventure. And then with the edit, we bring it all back to earth, kill some darlings and refocus.
In creating a time travel, multiverse story, this was a real challenge. Barry is meeting his younger self—a completely different version who hasn’t dealt with the hardships and obstacles he will go on to face. Ezra had to play two completely different characters. It’s obviously fun to come up with a story like that, but technically speaking, you don’t realize the challenge until you’re actually there shooting. It speaks to their work as an actor—they were able to create humor in that situation that is unique to them.

Producer Barbara Muschietti: I always loved DC, since I was a little girl. There is something childlike in the Flash that, as a child, I think you are drawn to. I couldn’t resist it. They’re all so guarded, the Super Heroes. They have to hold themselves strong and invincible and that’s the opposite of The Flash. The Flash is love and humor, so open and self-deprecating, which… I love that so much in human beings, but even more in a Super Hero. The Flash is my favorite Super Hero because he’s the most human.

I work with my brother because I admire my brother and I’ve given my professional life to collaborate with him, because I believe wholeheartedly in who he is as an artist, who he is as a person. What I’ve seen this time around, it doesn’t surprise, because I always knew he would be able to achieve it. It makes me so proud that my little brother has directed a movie of this scope and has made a movie of this size without ever forgetting what was always his vision, which was to make a huge adventure, superhero movie with an intrinsic, very emotional core… that is the love of a mother and child.

Screenwriter Christina Hodson: Writing two different versions of Barry Allen also meant writing two versions of Flash, and that was super challenging, but also really, really fun. I kind of love the idea that if you go back in time and change what you think is one simple thing, you can end up with two versions of the same person who are wildly different. And it was great playing with the ways in which the two Barrys are the same and the ways in which they are completely opposite. It’s kind of like a really heightened version of your annoying little brother. And as an annoying little sister myself, I just loved writing those scenes, honestly. My goal was to find a way to make each of the two Barrys feel distinct enough that their friendship feels really relatable and something you can really root for.

Working with Andy on this movie was such a blast. He brings so much passion and joy, and he’s just a true fan, so it was an absolute pleasure working with him. We spent many, many hours just discussing character, joking around, debating time travel, talking through the logic of multiverses, and he was an incredible collaborator. I think the thing that Andy brings that’s so special is an ability to juggle different tones. He has moments where he’s fun and funny and wacky and kind of nuts; moments where he can do real drama and emotion; moments that are scary; and also incredible crazy set-pieces and action that have real scale and spectacle..
I think the moment on this movie where I realized we were going to have a great time working together was when we were talking about the opening set piece. I had written something in the first draft that was a save-the-day, big, fun spectacle with Batman and Barry, and Andy took me to one side and pitched me the idea of a baby shower. And I was like, “You want 12 babies falling 10 stories out of a hospital window?!” Suffice to say, we had a lot of fun coming up with all of the chaos that ensues…

CHRISTINA HODSON (Screenwriter) is a British-born, Los Angeles-based writer and producer of films and television. She first transitioned from development executive to screenwriter in 2012. Since then, among various projects for studios, she wrote BUMBLEBEE for Paramount (2018) and wrote and co-produced HARLEY QUINN: BIRDS OF PREY (2020) for Warner Bros. and DC Comics. She also wrote the upcoming film THE FLASH for Warner Bros. and DC Comics. Christina is currently co-writing the 11th installment of THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS franchise with Oren Uziel.
In addition to writing, Christina is producing through her company, Hodson Exports, which she runs with executive Morgan Howell. Hodson Exports, a writer-driven company, is focused on working closely with talent to tell stories that place complex and unique characters at the center of the action. In 2019, Hodson Exports teamed up with Margot Robbie’s LuckyChap Entertainment to launch the Lucky Exports Pitch Program and successfully sold all six of the program’s pitches to major buyers. Alongside Temple Hill Entertainment, Christina and Morgan are producing the adaptation of the highly anticipated Penguin Teen book, Thieves’ Gambit, from debut author Kayvion Lewis. The book is being adapted by Henry Gayden (SHAZAM! franchise) and will be directed and produced by Steven Caple Jr. (CREED II, TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS).

JOHN FRANCIS DALEY (Screen Storywriter) and JONATHAN GOLDSTEIN (Screen Storywriter) most recently wrote and directed the critically acclaimed tentpole DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: HONOR AMONG THIEVES, based on the classic tabletop role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, for Paramount and Entertainment One. The pair are also executive producers on the film. Goldstein and Daley previously helmed Warner Bros.’ hit 2018 comedy GAME NIGHT. Prior to that, they wrote and directed New Line’s 2015 VACATION reboot. The duo’s additional writing credits include SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, Hulu’s hit comedy VACATION FRIENDS, HORRIBLE BOSSES, CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 and THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE.

JOBY HAROLD (Screen Storywriter) is an English screenwriter, producer and director who runs Safehouse Pictures with his producing partner Tory Tunnell. Harold’s the writer and executive producer of Disney+’s OBI-WAN KENOBI, directed by Deborah Chow and starring Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen and Joel Edgerton. Harold also co-wrote Paramount’s new TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS, directed by Steven Caple Jr, and the screen story for Warner Bros. new film for the DC Universe, THE FLASH, directed by Andy Muschietti. Previously, Harold executive produced JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM, starring Keanu Reeves (after doing production rewrites on JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2); EDGE OF TOMORROW, starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt; and ROBIN HOOD, as well as co-writing and producing Guy Ritchie’s KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD for Warner Bros. He is currently adapting the globally acclaimed manga MY HERO ACADEMIA for Legendary and Netflix. Through Safehouse, Harold is executive producing the UNTITLED MONSTERVERSE event series featuring Godzilla and the Titans for Apple and Legendary, which is currently in post-production. He also produced sci-fi tentpole ATLAS, for Netflix, which is also in post-production. Harold previously executive produced SPINNING OUT for Netflix; the critically acclaimed UNDERGROUND, and MY BLIND BROTHER, Through Safehouse, Harold is also
currently producing / developing SPACE MOUNTAIN for Disney, based on the famous theme park ride; THE LIBERATORS, with Michael B. Jordan at Warner Bros.; BATTLE OF BRITAIN, with Ridley Scott directing for 20th Century Studios; BACKWARDS, with Shawn Levy directing for Netflix; and a host of others. Safehouse has an overhead deal with Legendary TV, and a first-look deal with Amazon Studios. Harold is repped by CAA, Kaplan Perrone and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman et al.