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As Ezra Miller's legal woes mount, Warner Bros. reconsiders 'The Flash' release plan
With a $200 million movie on the line, Warner Bros. weighs its options.
Warner Bros. is once again weighing what to do about The Fastest Man Alive, and more importantly, how to handle the mounting legal troubles of the actor who plays him.
This week, The Flash star Ezra Miller was charged with felony burglary in Vermont, where they also own a home, and ordered to appear in court next month after allegedly entering a home and taking "several bottles of alcohol." That news, stemming from an incident dating back to May, arrived the same week that Rolling Stone reported Vermont authorities are looking deeper into the case of a woman and her three children who allegedly lived on Miller's property, with allegations that Miller could be attempting to "evade service" on the woman's behalf.
All this means that, for at least the second time in the past five months, Warner Bros. Pictures executives are mulling their options in terms of what to do about Miller, and about The Flash. According to insiders speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio is reportedly considering three major options, one of which includes the drastic move of scrapping the very expensive film altogether.
The first, and probably best, option for everyone involved is to get Miller help to deal with their various issues, which include arrests and restraining orders filed against them in Hawaii earlier this year. The studio has apparently "received indications" that Miller and their mother will enlist "professional help" to face the actor's personal problems, then give some kind of interview or statement to that effect, which would hopefully set in motion a rehabilitation and some degree of explanation. The Flash, directed by IT helmer Andy Muschietti and co-starring Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck as two different versions of Batman, could then move forward with release, with Miller taking on a limited role in promoting the 2023 opening.
The second option, according to THR's report, feels like the one most people watching the saga unfold have come to expect from the studio: Release The Flash despite Miller's issues, limit Miller's exposure, and recast the role should Barry Allen appear in future DC movie projects. Then there's the third, most drastic approach, which would be to simply shelve the film if Miller's ongoing issues continue to worsen. Though some fans have called for recasting or digitally replacing/reshooting Miller, with the suggestion of The Flash TV star Grant Gustin floated frequently online, THR's sources note that's not a feasible solution. Miller plays multiple versions of Barry Allen throughout the film, and appears in virtually the entire runtime of a project already estimated to have cost $200 million. Scrapping the movie would be basically unheard of, but it could be cheaper than trying to replicate it under a cloud of drama.
That the studio is even considering scrapping the film, months after executives seemed to come to the conclusion that they should soldier on, indicates just how serious the issues are. Despite Miller's frequent appearances in the press for legal troubles, The Flash has done very well with test audiences, and on an earnings call earlier this month, Warner Bros. Discovery head David Zaslav highlighted the film as part of his strategy to shift DC properties back to big theatrical events. The Flash was clearly positioned as one of the studio's biggest swings of 2023, and it was finally on track after a development process stretching back to at least 2014, but now that's all on the verge of crumbling.
Whatever happens, we can only hope that Miller gets the help they need first and foremost.
The Flash is, for the moment, still slated to hit theaters in less than a year, on June 23, 2023.
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