After years of trying to get The Flash off its feet, the Andy Muschietti blockbuster finally speeds into theaters in June 2023 following its latest delay. The latest obstacle facing the speedster franchise comes with titular star Ezra Miller, who was recently arrested for harassment in Hawaii and is facing a restraining order from a couple claiming they made threats against them.
Miller has been the subject of many controversies over recent years, starting in April 2020 when a viral video circulated of the actor choking a fan outside a bar in Iceland. The actor even took to social media earlier in the year to hurl death threats at a Carolina chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.
With Miller proving to be a PR nightmare for Warner Bros., many are wondering if the studio will take action against them or even sever ties altogether. The movie giant previously removed Johnny Depp from its Fantastic Beasts franchise due to domestic abuse allegations from his ex-wife, Amber Heard.
As Miller's DC and Fantastic Beasts fate continues to hang in the balance, Warner Bros. reportedly called for an emergency meeting to discuss the actor's future.
An Uncertain Future for Ezra Miller's Flash
In a video posted on YouTube, movie industry insider John Campea reported Warner Bros. is discussing options for the future of Ezra Miller's Flash, following the recent controversy surrounding the actor's actions.
Campea revealed that after the news broke surrounding Miller's arrest, he contacted a source at Warner Bros. to ask if it intended to address the situation, take any action, or part ways with Miller. The popular YouTuber received a somewhat cryptic response saying that "they’re discussing options" for how to handle the situation:
"When stuff was going on last week, or earlier in the week, with the Ezra Miller stuff, I wrote to somebody I knew at Warner Bros.… saying, ’Hey, look, is Warner going to do anything about this? Are they going to address it this time? Is there a possibility you guys could part ways with Ezra Miller?' And all that kind of stuff… not really expecting to hear anything back. And then… last night I got a response that was a little cryptic, but said ‘They’re discussing options.’”
Campea was quick to clarify that "discussing options can mean a lot of things," from replacing Miller to taking no action and "discussing how to spin that:"
“Now, before we blow that phrase way out of proportion, I want to remind everybody that discussing options can mean a lot of things. It could mean… ‘We have decided to get rid of Ezra Miller, and we are looking currently at the best ways to go about doing that.’ Okay, sure. That’s one way you can look at it, but it could also mean that they’ve decided to do nothing about it, and they’re just discussing how to spin that.”
According to Rolling Stone, Warner Bros. and DC held an emergency meeting on March 30 to discuss Ezra Miller's future at the studio. Their source claimed the overall consensus from the meeting was to halt future projects with Miller, including any DC appearances.
Another source claimed the Flash actor had “frequent meltdowns” on the DC set last year and described Miller as “losing it.” The insider went on to state that “Ezra would get a thought in his head and say, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing.'”
How Will Warner Bros. Handle Ezra Miller?
Ezra Miller has been involved in a string of recent controversies following their harassment arrest in Hawaii and other legal problems. Back in 2020, a viral clip depicted Miller choking a female fan at a bar in Iceland.
With the long-awaited release of The Flash right around the corner, Miller has become something of a publicity burden for Warner Bros., one it could look to remove. The studio will have a tough time handling the repercussions of parting ways with the controversial star as they are heavily involved in both the DCEU and Fantastic Beasts franchises.
The Harry Potter spin-off franchise has already suffered great difficulty up to this point, having received a powerful negative reaction to The Crimes of Grindlewald. Following a domestic abuse legal battle with ex-wife Amber Heard, Warner Bros. opted to replace Johnny Depp with Mads Mikkelsen for The Secrets of Dumbledore.
If Warner Bros. was willing to replace Depp in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, they might do the same with Miller in both the Wizarding World and DCEU worlds. But if Ezra Miller's Flash was to be removed from DC's Cinematic Universe, how would the studio handle that decision?
The Flash is already utilizing the Multiverse to establish a new DCEU with Michael Keaton stepping back into the Batman role in place of Ben Affleck. With the blockbuster release having recently shifted to June 2023, Warner Bros. has more than enough time to reshoot the ending in a way that would see a new actor replace Miller.
The studio could also simply opt to recast the actor for future films with no acknowledgment of the change of appearance. Ezra Miller was never exactly a popular choice for the role, so there would unlikely be much resistance. DC could even bring Grant Gustin's TV Flash to the big screen, something many have been calling for in recent years.
But Barry Allen isn't the only individual to have taken on the Flash mantle over the years, with Jay Garrick and Wally West being two other famous speedsters. From a story perspective, the easiest option would be to instead introduce one of the two as another Flash and simply abandon Allen.
This is all assuming Warner Bros. wants to remove Miller. After all, Amber Heard has held onto her role in Aquaman 2 despite persistent calls for her to be replaced, although Miller's arrest and charging make the situation infinitely more complex.
John Campea made clear the studio is still "discussing options" for how to handle the backlash, which could mean a number of things. Warner Bros. may simply be eyeing a way to spin the situation in the public eye, or may even just ignore it altogether. Only time will tell.
The Flash hits theaters on June 23, 2023.