Few superhero movie projects have been through as much development hell as Warner Bros.’ DC Comics adaptation The Flash, but we now have a somewhat clearer idea of one version of the story that was potentially coming to the big screen.
The film’s development originated back in October 2015, and has since gone through four different directors including Seth Grahame-Smith and Rick Famuyiwa. Most recently, Warner Bros. tapped Game Night helmers John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein to direct, but the filmmakers were reportedly butting up against a difference of opinion on the direction of the story with star Ezra Miller. So last year, in an exercise meant to further outline how he saw the movie going forward, Miller teamed up with comics writer Grant Morrison to write their own draft of the script.
While Daley and Goldstein ended up departing the film over creative differences, Warner Bros. also opted not to use Miller and Morrison’s take on the story. Christina Hodson (Birds of Prey) was hired to tackle the script, while Andy Muschietti (It) is now onboard to direct with the studio having set a June 2022 release date.
But what was Miller and Morrison’s take on the project like? That’s the question Collider’s own Liz Shannon Miller asked Morrison when she spoke with him recently about his work on the Peacock series Brave New World (for which he’s an executive producer and writer). Morrison said he and Miller had a blast working on the story, but didn’t get to go through many drafts:
“Yeah, I mean, Ezra Miller and I wrote that last year, but it kind of, you know what it’s like? It was just one of those things we all… Well, I thought we had a really good version of The Flash and we wrote it as fast as The Flash, because it was so demanding, and it was pretty good. And I think after a few drafts, it would have been great. But the way some studios work, these things just come and go. I think about 15 people have already written versions of The Flash. But it does seem to be going ahead now, but not with the version that we did. I had fun. Ezra came over to the house and we just had a real blast and created the story. And maybe one day the script will leak out into the world.”
Morrison went so far as to say their take was more in the realm of a science-fiction story like Back to the Future than a traditional superhero movie:
“Yeah, it was pretty good. I mean, I don’t know what they’re doing with it. But it was pretty good. And it was a very different kind of superhero thing. It was more like Back to the Future, I would say, than a superhero movie.”
While it was originally reported that Miller wanted a “darker” version of the story, Morrison said that wasn’t really the case:
“No, it wasn’t [darker] really. I mean, elements of darkness were there and the material that they wanted us to use [was] the Flashpoint stuff. So, Ezra and I were actually trying to do something that was a bit more —like I say, it’s kind of like just a great science-fiction story. And if you don’t know [the comics], it would have made sense. But I have to say, I mean, I don’t want to talk about that, because somebody else has done their own work on it and I’m sure it will be great. And maybe, as I say this will leak out one day and people can judge.”
We’ll likely learn more about this current version of The Flash at the upcoming virtual convention DC Fandome later this month, for which both Muschietti and Miller are scheduled to appear. But we’ll be forever curious about this “Back to the Future-esque” take that Miller and Morrison dreamed up.
Look for our full interview with Morrison on Collider soon.
Reporting by Liz Shannon Miller contributed to this article.