The Flash post-credits scene explained (spoilers)

As usual, the DC superhero movie saved some big surprises for after the credits have rolled

EZRA MILLER as Barry Allen / The Flash in The Flash. (Warner Bros.)
Ezra Miller as Barry Allen / The Flash in The Flash. (Warner Bros.)

If you’ve read historic leaks of what the supposed post-credits sequence tagged onto the end of The Flash contained, your expectations might be dashed by what we actually get.

The Flash (out now in the UK on digital) does have a post-credits sequence — just the one — as well as a crowdpleasing ending that ties into it.

Read more: The Flash review: Spectacular multiverse mayhem is tonally uneven

So what happens during The Flash’s ending and its post-credits sequence, and what does it mean?

If you haven’t yet seen The Flash and want to avoid knowing what transpires, consider this your spoiler warning.

The Flash spoilers incoming

What happens at the end of The Flash?

EZRA MILLER as The Flash, MICHAEL KEATON as Batman and EZRA MILLER as The Flash in The Flash. (Warner Bros.)
Michael Keaton as Batman in The Flash. (Warner Bros.)

The ending of The Flash gives us a surprise reintroduction to George Clooney in character as Bruce Wayne stepping out of Batman’s Mercedes, to the tune of Barry Allen asking “Who the f*** is this?”

A question those among the audience who hated Clooney’s much-derided performance as the Caped Crusader in Joel Schumacher’s flop Batman & Robin might also be uttering as the bad memories come flooding back. It’s okay – Clooney himself has gone on record as saying he “f***ed it up so bad” as Batman.

When Allen says, “You’re not Batman,” Clooney’s Wayne replies: “What’s wrong with you?”

USA. George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell  in a scene from the ©Warner Bros film : Batman & Robin (1997) . Plot: Batman and Robin try to keep their relationship together even as they must stop Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy from freezing Gotham City.  Ref: LMK110-J6508-140520 Supplied by LMKMEDIA. Editorial Only. Landmark Media is not the copyright owner of these Film or TV stills but provides a service only for recognised Media outlets.
George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell in 1997's Batman & Robin. (Alamy)

This feels like a fun nod to the Joel Schumacher films and Clooney’s one-movie stint as the Dark Knight (nipple suit, anyone?) over anything holding significant repercussions in the all-new James Gunn-Peter Safran helmed DC Universe.

It’s in keeping with the rest of the film, which shows us glimpses of previous incarnations of DC superheroes such as Superman, Supergirl, and Batman. Don’t tell me you missed that snapshot of Adam West. Iconic.

Read more: Joel Schumacher shares Batman & Robin regrets in one of his final interviews: 'There's no one to blame but me'

So what about The Flash’s post-credits stinger and how does the film’s ending tie into it?

The Flash post-credit scene

EZRA MILLER as Barry Allen/The Flash and EZRA MILLER as Barry Allen/The Flash in The Flash. (Warner Bros.)
The Flash features two Ezra Millers. (Warner Bros.)

Well, in it we learn that after Barry Allen’s journey back in time wiped metahumans out of the picture on Earth, his attempts to put things right might have resulted in breathing new life into Clooney’s Batman (note that he never actually answered Barry’s question about his identity).

But it also had the effect of making sure Arthur Curry aka Aquaman was no longer obliterated from existence. In whatever timeline Barry Allen now exists, of course.

Read more: Man of Steel: Ten actors who almost played Superman

In the sequence, we see Allen – who stresses to Aquaman that can’t get drunk because of his metabolism and that he’s unable to drink alcohol full stop – helping his aquatic friend out of a bar. Curry is worse for wear but professes a love for booze.

Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller arrive for the Warner Bros. Pictures Invites You to The Big Picture at CinemaCon 2017, The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV on March 29, 2017. (Photo by GPA/imageSPACE) *** Please Use Credit from Credit Field ***
Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller at CinemaCon 2017. (GPA/imageSPACE)

Allen, meanwhile, at the same time as trying to keep his friend upright, is explaining having come across various different Batmans – all different people – during his time-travelling, multiverse-straddling adventures. But when it comes to Aquaman, says Allen, he’s always “pretty much” the same person.

Ultimately, this post-credits scene is played for laughs, with Aquaman crashing into a lampost before falling into a puddle on the ground – seemingly happy to spend the night there over Barry’s couch. He is aquatic after all. Arthur wants more booze and offers Barry one of his rings – Atlantean treasure – to go get some.

This is a fun sequence that tees Aquaman up for a return in the Gunn-Safran DCU but suggests strongly that Batman is changeable.

Read more: The troubled timeline of The Flash

With The Flash opening up the concept of the multiverse, it’s an easy way to leave the way clear for Gunn and Safran to do what they want – cherrypicking the things that work to go forth into the new DCU and leaving behind the things they believe don’t.

The suggestion is that they like Jason Momoa’s Aquaman and he’ll figure in the DCU plans going forward, but Batman will change – and we know that the upcoming The Brave and the Bold will indeed cast a new Batman. It also accounts for the fact that there have already been several screen Batmans, and the DCU wants to include them all in its canon.

EZRA MILLER as The Flash and SASHA CALLE as Kara Zor-El/Supergirl in The Flash. (Warner Bros.)
Ezra Miller as The Flash and Sasha Calle as Kara Zor-El/Supergirl in The Flash. (Warner Bros.)

In the film’s main ending, it’s interesting that Barry Allen thought he was back in his original universe unchanged after he went back to put things right – undoing his redo to ensure that his mother dies after all. But in doing so, he also made a small tweak that enabled him to produce video evidence to get his father off the charges of murdering his mother.

Clearly, because we see Clooney as the apparent Batman back in Barry’s “OG” timeline, his actions had the Butterfly Effect he discussed with Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne earlier in the film.

What happened to Ben Affleck’s Batman, we don’t know. Perhaps all will be revealed at some time in the future. Or perhaps we’ll never know.

We don’t yet know what the future holds for The Flash either, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

The Flash is available to rent or buy on digital now.

Watch the trailer for The Flash.