In a move that feels like, well, we got what we wanted, now what? Seth Grahame-Smith has parted ways with Warner Brothers’ planned film version of The Flash, still scheduled for release on March 3, 2018. Citing “creative differences,” Grahame-Smith will no longer make his directorial debut with this project, and let’s face it, we were all skeptical about it anyway.
However, Warner Brothers is still planning to use his screenplay, adapted from one written by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (who themselves are allegedly working on the Young Han Solo project for Star Wars Stories). And, of course, Warner Brothers still have Ezra Miller in the role of Barry Allen. The young actor known for The Perks of Being a Wallflower and We Need to Talk About Kevin has already appeared as The Flash in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Grahame-Smith is still working with Warner Brothers, having written the screenplays for The LEGO Batman Movie and Beetlejuice 2.
But this is odd. Granted, he wasn’t a popular choice in the first place, but Warner Brothers’ public line is that they want to give each director on their superhero films creative freedom — so creative differences? I know, I know — it’s a company line on both sides. Maybe Grahame-Smith had a vision, and maybe it clashed with Warner Brothers’ hopes.
The reality is that once you’ve locked a certain path in place by “previewing” characters before their movies have actually started filming, creative freedom can only go so far. The look of The Flash and even to some small extent the attitude of the character has already been set by Zack Snyder. (Wonder Woman’s solo film, directed by Patty Jenkins, is likely an exception because references to it were inserted into Batman v Superman only after Jenkins had begun filming; the director had a say in what was being used.)
The problem is that almost every step of the way in developing this cinematic Justice League, things have felt like there isn’t a vision. Even the initial announcement of Batman v Superman came after Zack Snyder had been talking up what he planned to do with Man of Steel 2, and suddenly — ah, yes. We need Batman.
There are also unconfirmed reports that Ben Affleck has been afforded complete creative control on his solo Batman film — and in this case, it’s believable because as a director, he’s proven that the Ben Affleck business is very good for Warner Brothers. As an actor, Ben Affleck has also proven that he’s very good for the Batman business. How fickle fandom may be…
In about twenty years from now, the best movie about the Justice League will be the movie about everything that happened trying to bring the Justice League to the big screen. If there is a big screen twenty years from now…