James Gunn Is Still Pushing ‘The Flash’ After Everything With Ezra Miller
DC Entertainment is in the midst of a massive upheaval as the company seeks to take on Marvel with James Gunn’s rebooted DCEU. Unfortunately, it seems like they’re moving ahead with the June release of The Flash, starring troubled actor Ezra Miller.
Despite Miller being accused of burglary, assault, kidnapping, and grooming, Gunn and DC Studios co-head Peter Safran are continuing to promote the new Flash film which is set to hit theaters on June 16. “I will say here that Flash is probably one of the greatest superhero movies ever made,” Gunn said to Variety. He made similar remarks in his video breaking down the future of the DCEU, where he calls The Flash “a fantastic movie that I really love.”
Perhaps more concerning is Safran sidestepping the subject of Ezra Miller’s behavior by talking about the actor’s mental health, framing it in such a way as to suggest a connection between the two:
“Ezra is completely committed to their recovery,” Safran said. “And we are fully supportive of that journey that they’re on right now. When the time is right, when they feel like they’re ready to have the discussion, we’ll all figure out what the best path forward is. But right now, they are completely focused on their recovery. And in our conversations with them over the last couple of months, it feels like they’re making enormous progress.”
Safran’s statements appear to be rehearsed and are likely the work of both PR and legal teams. We’ve written previously about how DC and Warner Bros. have defended Miller, but the specific framing of them here feels disingenuous. It doesn’t address the accusations against Miller, and if anything, seems to pass the blame onto the actor’s mental illness.
I want to make it clear that most people struggling with mental health issues are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. However, Miller’s violent actions should neither be downplayed nor left unaddressed. The strangulation video is particularly horrifying as many experts cite strangulation as the “edge of homicide” and one of the most deadly forms of domestic violence.
Miller’s mental health struggles also don’t account for the accusations of child grooming from multiple families.
So why are DC and Warner Bros. still going out of their way to promote the film?
The Flash and Aquaman 2 are the only holdovers from the Snyder-verse, but the former may still be relevant to Gunn and Safran’s plans. Some people theorize the Flash movie, which is based on the famous “Flashpoint” storyline, will effectively reset the DCEU. Even if that wasn’t the plan prior to Zack Snyder’s exit, it certainly offers Gunn and Safran a convenient transition. Whether or not The Flash is directly connected to the DC reset, the allegations against Miller are numerous and troubling.
Which raises the question: should the movie be released at all?
Granted, Miller is not the only person in this movie; thousands of cast and crew have worked hard on this movie and their work should not be discounted because of the lead actor’s actions. Yet it feels so strange that Miller’s big DC movie will be released while Batgirl has been deemed “unreleaseable” by the higher-ups.
At this point, I don’t think even DC cares that much. What they are concerned with is making money. Where Batgirl only cost them $90 million and was probably more valuable as a tax write-off, The Flash reportedly cost $200 million. That, plus Black Adam flopping and the company’s stock dropping following the Discovery Merger, has left Warner Bros. strapped for cash. As such, they want to squeeze any and all revenue out of the film that they can.
But promoting an alleged abuser in order to maximize profits is definitely not a solid foundation for a new era of superheroes.
(featured image: Warner Bros.)
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