Looks like Barry Allen is zooming into a multiverse... of trouble. The first trailer for Warner Bros.'s upcoming superhero feature The Flash — starring Ezra Miller as DC Comics's resident Scarlet Speedster — dropped during Super Bowl LVII. And while the movie is named The Flash, the breakout star of the first two-and-a-half minute spot is The Bat: Specifically Michael Keaton's Batman, making his return to the big screen for the first time since 1992's Batman Returns. (Watch the trailer above.)
Heavily inspired by the famous Flash comics storyline "Flashpoint," the movie's plot finds Barry still mourning the death of his mother, who was killed years ago. Having figured out how to access the Speed Force and literally race into the timestream, he's now also capable of changing the past. But as another Batman — Ben Affleck, aka Batfleck, making one of his final appearances in the DC Extended Universe — warns him, that may not be the best idea. "You have no idea what the consequences could be," Affleck's Bruce Wayne warns. "You could destroy everything."
Sure enough, Barry's scheme breaks the DCEU as we've known it since 2013's Man of Steel. While there's no sign of Henry Cavill's Superman — who reportedly filmed a cameo that may or may not be used in the film — we do get another appearance by Michael Shannon's General Zod, who now succeeds in his quest to rule over a world without metahumans.
But luckily there still is a Batman, and he's ready to suit up to restore Barry to his proper timeline. Additional super-assistance is provided by a second Barry as well as Kara Zor-El aka Supergirl (Sasha Calle), Superman's cousin who also survived Krypton's destruction. While they'll likely succeed in their mission — this is a superhero movie, after all — the DC timeline won't be restored exactly as it once was.
Incoming DC Studios co-chief James Gunn has already revealed that The Flash "resets everything" about the DC's cinematic multiverse, thus providing the starting line for the "Gods and Monsters" storyline that will kick off in earnest with the release of Superman: Legacy in 2025. Gunn has also described Andy Muschietti's Flash film as "one of the greatest superhero movies ever made," and reiterated his praise on Twitter following the trailer's release.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) February 12, 2023
But The Flash does still have to stay ahead of Miller's real-world legal troubles and the pall those have cast over the project. The actor, who is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, is reportedly in the midst of treatment for their "complex mental health issues" and Gunn and DC Studios co-chief Peter Safran have both expressed support for their road back to wellness.
"Ezra is completely committed to their recovery,” Safran recently told a group of journalists during a press day announcing DC's upcoming slate, while also declining to say whether Miller would continue in the role beyond this film. "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."
Reaction to The Flash trailer on Twitter is evenly split between those who profess excitement for the film and those still dubious about celebrating its star. That's a divide that may catch up with the movie as it speeds ahead to a June 16 release date.
Honestly The Flash trailer goes hard and seeing Michael Keaton does make me happy https://t.co/XqeKNrzL4I
— Oscar Villatoro (@ovillatoro27) February 12, 2023
Reminder that Ezra Miller is a terrible person and neither them nor Warner Bros has made an effort to apologise for their actions https://t.co/OmhXvc62j0
— MAStermind (@samisntokay) February 13, 2023
This is what everyone wanted Multiverse of Madness but wasn't.
The Flash, best movie of 2023.
— Sharon ⚡️#FlashPack (@Sharito742) February 13, 2023
They really want people to forget that they are keeping Ezra Miller in the Flash flick by just adding Supergirl and Michael Keaton to it lmao
— Pedro (@definetly_pedro) February 13, 2023
I see why WB don’t wanna cancel Ezra. The Flash may be the best thing that’s about to happen to new DCEU 😭🔥 https://t.co/JfRW22Ifx6
— Steph (@Teedeeso) February 13, 2023
While The Flash trailer was the Super Bowl's main event, other blockbusters-to-be dropped Big Game advertisements as well. Here's a round-up of some of the other Super Bowl spots, including a fresh Indiana Jones teaser and more Guardians of the Galaxy.
Creed III (March 3)
Rocky Balboa's former pupil becomes his own fighter in the third Creed bout, this time with star Michael B. Jordan behind the camera. His opponent, a super-buff Jonathan Majors, sure looks like he could beat Clubber Lang.
Air (April 5)
Best buddies Ben Affleck and Matt Damon rewind the clock to 1984 in the Affleck-directed docudrama about the creation of Nike's iconic Air Jordon sneaker line. We're expecting a Dunkin' tie-in when the movie comes out.
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 (May 5)
He may be hyping up The Flash, but James Gunn is probably pretty excited about his trilogy-capping Guardians of the Galaxy movie as well. The latest Vol. 3 trailer features more music, more action, more Drax one-liners and, of course, more of our favorite odd couple, Groot and Rocket.
Fast X (May 19)
A revenge-seeking Aquaman takes on Groot and the rest of the Fast and Furious family in the penultimate Fast Saga chapter. Next time, let Rita "Abuela Toretto" Moreno drive.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (June 30)
Harrison Ford goes for one last ride as his whip-cracking alter ego. The Super Bowl spot offers up a longer glimpse of Mads Mikkelsen's past (and maybe present?) Nazi scientist villain and Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Indiana Jones's adventure-seeking goddaughter.