Posted by Sarah
One of the major pop culture narratives of summer 2022 is “where in the world is Ezra Miller”, as headlines out of Hawaii in the spring painted an image of an increasingly troubled star going through…something…in the public eye. But then Miller disappeared, while stories about their behavior kept piling up from all over the world. At one point, there was even a story going around that Elvis star Austin Butler punched Miller in a Tokyo bar, a story that, by mid-summer, seemed totally reasonable, not because Butler seems like the bar-brawling type—he doesn’t—but because the headlines around Miller had grown so bonkers. The Tokyo incident didn’t happen, but the fact that everyone heard the rumor and went, Yeah, that sounds about right, tells you how wild the Ezra Miller story has become this year.
But “wild” is just one way of saying “bad”, and the Ezra Miller story is, in fact, bad. It’s also sad, but it has larger implications now than just what happens next to Miller: individual person. They were spotted for the first time in months at their mother’s home in Vermont, where they have been charged with felony burglary stemming from a May break-in. You can see those photos here. This is Miller’s third arrest this year, following the two in Hawaii in the spring, and there are still those unattended allegations of grooming and “cult-like” behavior coming out of Iceland to deal with.
Amidst all this, everyone is wondering what is going on with The Flash. It’s hardly the most important facet of everything happening, but since the cancellation of Batgirl, many people are wondering why Warner Bros. Discovery is keeping The Flash, an increasingly troubled, if not outright besieged, production going for a 2023 release instead of just canning it like Batgirl. The answer should be obvious, though: money. It’s not about the budgets, either, as The Flash is a classic $200 million-plus superhero production and Batgirl was meant to be a sub-$100 million effort like Birds of Prey. It’s about what Warner Bros. Discovery, and CEO David Zaslav, see as potential earnings. As a streaming exclusive, Batgirl posed no real incentive to the company (because no one is making money on streaming). But The Flash is a marquee character, and the movie features not one but TWO versions of Batman, sure to be a lure for audiences. If they can get The Flash out without Miller’s troubles totally overshadowing it, it could be a huge blockbuster.
Big if, though. According to The Hollywood Reporter, there are three potential fates for The Flash. One is that Miller gets professional help in the coming days—they are supposedly staying with their mother in Vermont now—and then gives a mea culpa interview and does limited press for the movie next summer. The second option is that Miller makes no effort to clean up their public persona, the film is released without their participation, and the role of Barry Allen is recast going forward. The third option is the nuclear one, in which Warners tanks the movie altogether, a la Batgirl. Reshooting with a new actor isn’t viable as Barry Allen is in nearly every scene of the movie, so it would basically mean remaking the movie, an investment Zaslav’s newly cost-cutting obsessed company is unwilling to make.
Frankly, I don’t know how they can release The Flash with all the adjacent Miller-related problems while canning Batgirl, given how bad that looks, but I also know comic book nerds can be a fickle lot. If Miller can put a decent face on the last few months and look contrite enough in whatever primetime interview Warners books them, the movie will come out and fans will just be happy to finally have a solo Flash movie. And that’s really what Warners is banking on, that fans are hungry enough for a Flash movie that they’ll overlook all the problems and accept the movie regardless. Never mind the Batgirl fans who wanted to see that movie, the priority is clearly saving The Flash, if at all possible, even when its star is embroiled in multiple scandals. Whatever happens, though, Ezra Miller is probably done as Barry Allen after The Flash.