Well this is something. Last month’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice kicked off Warner Bros.’ interconnected superhero universe in earnest, giving audiences a first look at Ben Affleck’s Batman, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, Ezra Miller’s The Flash, and Ray Fisher’s Cyborg and teasing their various DC Extended Universe films to come. Most of those had already been set, with Zack Snyder already back in the director’s chair on Justice League, Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman entering post-production, and James Wan hard at work developing Aquaman. There was also one other major superhero standalone in the works, a The Flash movie, but that project has now taken a step backwards as it’s lost its director over “creative differences.”
Last October, Warner Bros. set Seth Grahame-Smith to write and direct The Flash movie starring Ezra Miller. It was a surprising choice to say the least, as Grahame-Smith’s only directorial credits are helming two episodes of the MTV series The Hard Times of RJ Berger, meaning the massive superhero tentpole The Flash would mark his feature directorial debut. But now THR reports that Grahame-Smith has left the project due to “creative differences,” and Warner Bros. is beginning its director search anew.
The studio had wanted The LEGO Movie and Jump Street directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller to helm The Flash, but while they wrote a treatment for the project, the duo quickly became unavailable when Star Wars came a-calling. Grahame-Smith worked off of Lord and Miller’s treatment to pen the script for the film, which THR says Warner Bros. will retain. That to me signals that the studio likes Grahame-Smith’s take, but maybe wants a more accomplished filmmaker to make the vision a reality.
There’s no major scramble here, as The Flash isn’t even set for release until March 3, 2018 and star Miller is busy shooting Justice League at the moment. So they have time to find a new director for the project, and if they’re keeping Grahame-Smith’s script, they won’t be starting from scratch.
But one does have to wonder if the reception of Batman v Superman had anything to do with Grahame-Smith’s departure. The film suffered a critical shellacking and was far from the box office behemoth that Warner Bros. was hoping for (it’s yet to crack $900 million worldwide), so it’s possible the studio is doing a bit of retooling when it comes to the DC Extended Universe to come. Grahame-Smith always felt like a bit of an odd choice when it came to a project as big as this, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of filmmaker the studio sets in his stead.
In the meantime, Grahame-Smith remains in the Warner Bros. fold as he’s a writer on The LEGO Batman Movie and is working on the screenplay for Beetlejuice 2. But now that Grahame-Smith is off of The Flash, who should take his place? Another newbie, a more established filmmaker, or someone in between? If they want someone with a comedic touch, Sleeping with Other People filmmaker Leslye Headland would make for an interesting choice. Sound off with your pick in the comments below.