Robert Zemeckis, Matthew Vaughn, and Sam Raimi racing to direct The Flash

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May 19, 2017, 8:52 PM EDT (Updated)

At this point, all we really know for sure about Warner Bros.' The Flash is that it will star Ezra Miller, and that it will be released ... eventually. The studio had previously slated the film for March 2018, but continued director and script issues have pushed that back to the point that Warners would rather focus on getting the film right than hitting a day on the calendar. That makes sense, because everyone from Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The LEGO Movie) to Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) to Rick Famuyiwa (Dope) has worked on the film, and they've all fallen by the wayside. As 2017 dawned, the project was getting a rewrite and searching for a new director who could finally nail it.

According to varying reports, three big names are now contending for the director's chair: Robert Zemeckis, Matthew Vaughn, and Sam Raimi.

Zemeckis, the Oscar-winning director known for iconic films like Back to the Future and Forrest Gump, is now apparently a frontrunner to direct Barry Allen's first movie, according to The Wrap. The report comes just weeks after Screen Junkies reported that their sources tied Zemeckis to the project, as well. So, what felt like it might only be a rumor in April is now feeling more and more solid in May. Vaughn's name entered the conversation thanks to a Variety report that arrived shortly after the new Zemeckis news. That report claims both men are the "top choices" for the job, though other names are still in the mix. That apparently includes Raimi, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Joby Harold (King Arthur: Legend of the Sword) is rewriting the script for the film, which is still set to star Miller as Barry Allen, Billy Crudup as Henry Allen, and and Kiersey Clemons as Iris West. At the moment, Zemeckis is at work on an adaptation of the documentary Marwencol, which will arrive in November of next year, so it's not clear how soon he could get involved in the DC Extended Universe. Vaughn, meanwhile, is eager to get to work on a third Kingsman film after The Golden Circle arrives this fall, marking significant scheduling hurdles for both men. Raimi, on the other hand, hasn't directed a film since 2013's Oz the Great and Powerful, though he's obviously got plenty of superhero cred, thanks to the Spider-Man trilogy.

Zemeckis hasn't really worked in superhero cinema before, but he has a long history with sci-fi and fantasy adventure, and with integrating cutting-edge effects into live-action. He also knows how to infuse lots of emotion and fun into even the grimmest moments of his movies, which would make him a particularly helpful guy to have in DC's corner right now, when the studio's still getting plenty of flack for the darkness of its films. He's also, quite simply, one of the most ambitious and accomplished filmmakers of the last 35 years. So, there's that.

Vaughn, meanwhile, has lots of genre blockbuster experience, including particular success with superheroes thanks to X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass, and Kingsman. He doesn't have Zemeckis' trophy case, but he does have a massive fanbase of his own and a significant tracked record of making fun movies rooted in comic book action.

If DC Films can land any of these names to helm The Flash, it would be the second major directorial win for the studio this year, after securing Joss Whedon for Batgirl.

What do you think? Will Zemeckis, Vaughn or Raimi be the director who finally takes The Flash into production?