The Flash is Barry Allen’s first solo adventure on the big screen and there are many ways the DCU’s version of the character differs when comparing The Flash movie vs. the show. The DCU and the Arrowverse began two years apart, with Man of Steel in 2013 and the Arrow in 2011. What Zack Snyder was doing with his DCU movies and what The CW was doing with its DC shows were not connected. After Man of Steel, audiences had hopes Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen and the other DC characters set up in Arrow could be brought into the DC movies. However, in the same week that The Flash’s pilot aired, Ezra Miller signed on to play Flash in the DCU. It was clear the Arrowverse and DCU would remain separated.
The DCU’s The Flash movie arrives as The CW’s The Flash show ends its nine-year run. Miller has portrayed Barry Allen five times so far – Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, Justice League, The CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, and the HBO Max series Peacemaker. Not much is known about the DCU’s Barry Allen compared to other characters like Superman and Wonder Woman, although the recut Zack Snyder’s Justice League offered more backstory. Thanks to what Justice League established, there are several ways the DCU’s version is different from The CW’s Flash series. While these differences can cause confusion for those only familiar with The CW Flash, they ensure DCU’s The Flash adds something new to the character rather than just repeating what The CW’s The Flash show has done over nine seasons.
The DCU Flash Is A Member Of The Justice League
The first major difference between The Flash movie vs the show is that the Ezra Flash is part of the Justice League, whereas in the Arrowverse the JLA doesn’t exist. The Flash was the second superhero in the Arrowverse, and the first to have superpowers. The CW had limitations as to what characters from DC Comics they could use, which is why Batman never appeared in the Arrowverse and why it took so long for Superman to show up. That was not a problem in the DCU. In fact, the Justice League movie happened when the only solo DCU projects were Man of Steel and Wonder Woman.
The DCU’s The Flash has an experienced Barry Allen who has already fought alongside the Justice League, while The CW’s Barry never joined an actual Justice League (despite having numerous team-ups). Although Ben Affleck’s Batman is the only other Justice League hero confirmed to appear in The Flash, the movie will most like reference the Justice League and the Flash’s status as an established superhero. As a comparison, the lack of a bigger DC universe was one of the Arrowverse’s biggest problems. This was no fault of the Arrowverse itself, but it was a downside nonetheless. In the DCU, on the other hand, the Flash will be able to interact with a much broader DC universe.
The Flash Movie Is Not Banking On Reverse Flash
When looking at The Flash movie vs. the show, Reverse Flash has been an important part of The CW’s version throughout its entire run. The CW show created its own version of the Reverse Flash, combining elements from the comics into what was both a great adaptation and an original character. Both Tom Cavanagh and Matt Letscher played variants of the CW’s Reverse Flash on many occasions, and there is no doubt that the Reverse Flash was Barry’s biggest nemesis throughout the show. It was this one character who was responsible for Barry becoming Flash, to begin with.
The DCU’s The Flash does not seem like it will involve Reverse Flash, although there was no development on who killed Barry’s mother in the DCU. No announcement was made regarding Reverse Flash in the DCU, and while The Flash is inspired by the comics’ Flashpoint storyline, the focus seems to be on the multiverse rather than time travel. The only villains confirmed for the DCU’s The Flash are General Zod and Faora, both of whom previously appeared in Man of Steel. Considering how much Reverse Flash appeared in The CW’s The Flash, it is a good thing that the DCU’s The Flash will most likely not feature the villain.
The DCU’s Barry Isn’t Close To The Wests
In The CW’s The Flash, Barry Allen was adopted by Joe West after Nora Allen’s death. That was something created for the show only, meaning that it did not come from the comics. In the DCU, Barry Allen is not close to the West family. In fact, Zack Snyder’s Justice League shows Barry meeting Iris West for the first time. The DCU’s Iris West is played by Kiersey Clemons, and the character is confirmed to appear in The Flash. Considering that Barry being raised by the Wests is something created by The CW’s The Flash, it makes sense that this was not brought into the DCEU.
Barry Allen Operates Alone In The DCU
Perhaps one of the biggest differences in The Flash movie vs. the show is that the former does not typically have a supporting team – the only exception obviously being the Justice League. In fact, the DCU’s Flash even joked in Justice League that he did not have friends (nor did Barry yet have the Flash name). The DCU’s Barry also did not have a forensic chemist job until the end of Justice League, and unlike The CW’s Flash, he does not have any connections with STAR Labs.
The CW’s Flash, on the other hand, had a team to assist him and later fight by his side throughout the show, a dynamic that was repeated in all Arrowverse series. While a multiple set of supporting characters works for a TV show, the Flash does not have many sidekicks and partners in the comics outside Wally West, which explains this particular difference between The CW’s Barry and the DCU’s Barry. With Barry going to a new timeline and not seeming to want to leave, he clearly has no loved ones to go back home to in the DCU.
The DCU’s Flash’s Mentor Figure Is Batman (Not Arrow)
One of the biggest changes in The Flash movie vs. the show is that, in the Arrowverse, Barry’s mentor was Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow. Barry Allen’s very introduction in the Arrowverse was in Arrow season 2 when Barry still did not have his powers. Oliver and Barry became friends before Barry’s STAR Labs accident, and by the time the Flash came to be, the two had already created a strong bond. In fact, Oliver is the one who advised Barry Allen to wear a mask.
In the DCU, Batman is the one who serves as a mentor figure for the Flash. Bruce Wayne recruited Barry Allen to the Justice League, and Batman instructed the Flash on how to be a superhero and is there to mentor him in the new DCU movie. Bruce was even supposed to give Barry a new suit in Justice League, but Zack Snyder later scrapped the idea so that The Flash’s director could create their own new suit. Green Arrow and Flash’s friendship is something unique to the Arrowverse, and fortunately, the DCU’s The Flash will have a different superhero dynamic to offer.
The Arrowverse And DCU Flash Have Met
One thing to keep in mind with comparisons between The Flash movie and show is that both characters exist in the same multiverse. The CW vs. DCU flash debate doesn’t extend beyond over-passionate fans. The DCU and CW Flash’s even met each other in the 2019 Arrowverse crossover event Crisis on Infinite Earths. In the episode, Barry was running through time and ended up in the Speed Force while attempting to solve the multiversal crisis spanning multiple CW properties including Supergirl, Arrow, Batwoman, and Legends of Tomorrow. It is here that Grant Gustin’s Arrowverse Flash met the DCU Barry Allen.
So much happened at this moment. The two realized that they were both Barry Allen, although only the Arrowverse version was called The Flash (the DCU version hadn’t even considered the name yet). The Arrowverse Flash also mentioned how this “wasn’t possible” which might have set the ideas in motion for the DCU version to travel to alternate Earths. Even if Grant Gustin doesn’t cameo in The Flash movie, it’s still at least canon that Miller’s version was introduced to the multiverse by a traveler from the CW. The two were very different, but also connected to each other. Whatever the future holds for the live-action Flash, the Flash movie vs show debate is somewhat redundant when it’s possible for every version of The Flash to exist at the same time.
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