The DC Extended Universe is undergoing a bit of a remodel after the critical bashing of Zack Snyder's Batman V Superman. Instead of Snyder at the helm of the universe, Geoff Johns has now taken over as the Kevin Feige of DC, and fans have been responding well to the decision. Johns has a lot of work to do on this expanding universe, but one of his first priorities must be finding a new director for The Flash, slated to release in March 2018.
Late last month, it was announced that filmmaker Seth Grahame-Smith was dropping out as the writer and director of The Flash due to creative differences. While we still aren't sure what those differences are, we know that the film needs to find a director ASAP. With Wonder Woman having wrapped principal photography, Justice League currently filming, and Aquaman in the casting phase, The Flash is the next film to get rolling. They have their star, Ezra Miller, already attached to the film, but that's about it. With less than two years to go, and with a film as big as this one, it's really time Johns and the folks over at DC picked a director.
There are a ton of great filmmakers out there, but only a handful who could really capture the essence of The Flash. We know the film will be going for a lighter tone than its DCEU counterparts, but the director should still have some grounding in fast-paced action. Not only is the film itself a challenge, but there will be added pressure due to the success of The Flash series over at CW. The filmmaker brought on to helm this project will need to bring their own voice to the film, and make it stand out in a world where Marvel is king. We've seen directors really let us down with projects like these, but I trust Geoff Johns' judgement. Let's take a look at 12 directors who could realistically helm The Flash, and who could make a film that comic and movie fans can be proud of.
Duncan Jones is a name nerds everywhere are about to hear a lot of. On June 10, his latest effort, Warcraft, will be released in the US. The feedback from critics has been mediocre so far, but fans of the game have loved what he did with the source material.
It's tough to hear that the critics haven't been so kind to the film, but they haven't completely ravaged it either. It seems to be a fun summer blockbuster with incredible effects and action. Those are two things The Flash will surely need. According to fans of World of Warcraft, Jones also did a great job adapting the material. This could be a great sign for DC fans, because The Flash is one of the company's most popular characters. If a director came in and didn't do the source material justice, there would be plenty of geeks in an uproar. The other great thing Jones has going for him is his debut feature film, Moon. The sci-fi thriller was a critical hit, and it left audiences at the edge of their seats. Moon, Source Code, and Warcraft give this young director quite the resume.
The only thing that could keep Duncan from taking the job would be his next project, Mute. Starring Paul Rudd and Alexander Skarsgaard, the film is listed as being in pre-production. That could mean any number of things, but it could mean that he would be tied up when it came time for The Flash to begin filming.
Ever since his debut film, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, premiered in 1998, Guy Ritchie has been a favorite among fans and critics. Many film nerds know him best for his cult classic gangster film, Snatch, while most casual movie goers love his work with Robert Downey Jr, Sherlock Holmes.
If Ritchie knows one thing, it's how to blend pace with comedy. Each of his films has plenty of action, and keeps things moving from start to finish, but also has enough comedic elements to keep an audience laughing throughout. His timing is superb, and it really showed in both of the Sherlock Holmes films.
Guy has also got a knack for working with actors made popular by big franchises. In addition to RDJ, Ritchie has worked with Henry Cavill, Vinnie Jones, Jason Statham, Charlie Hunnam, Aiden Gillen, Jude Law, and Eric Bana. His resume is impressive, but his ability to bring out the best in experienced actors is even more so. He would do a phenomenal job directing a talent like Ezra Miller, as well as giving The Flash his signature tone.
The only thing in Ritchie's way is his possible workload. He is currently in post-production for his latest film, Knights Of The Roundtable: King Arthur. While that shouldn't be a huge obstacle, he and RDJ have expressed interest in a third Sherlock Holmes film. We're not sure what kind of contract Ritchie is under for that franchise, but WB could have him complete that trilogy, rather than starting a new franchise. At the same time, his current status with WB could mean he's a front-runner for the film.
Known more for his writing, Alex Garland has become one of Hollywood's most talked about young directors. His directorial debut, Ex Machina, turned out to be one of the industry's most acclaimed films in 2015, and studios were lining up to acquire Garland's services.
He only has one film to his name, sure, but his second feature is poised to stand out as well. Annihilation is currently in filming, and it's looking to be one of 2017's hit movies. Starring Natalie Portman and Oscar Isaac, the film tells the journey of a group of women on a dangerous expedition. The book trilogy the film was based on has become a phenomenon, and it seems as though the film will be too. It's clear that inexperience as a director hasn't hindered Garland's abilities, and his writing is second to none.
He has written both of his features, as well as a few other classics that nerd and sci-fi cultures have raved about. Before his first outing as a director, Garland penned the screenplays for 28 Days Later, Never Let Me Go, and the extremely popular Dredd. If that wasn't enough, Garland has signed on to write the script for the Halo film adaptation. The guy is wickedly talented as a writer, and The Flash still needs a script.
My hesitation with Garland is his commitment to the Southern Reach trilogy. Annihilation will be done filming in time for The Flash, but will its success spawn the production of the other two books in the series? If that was to happen, Garland would be at the forefront of a major franchise, and wouldn't have time for that and the DCEU.
Another director with minimal experience, but maximum hype, is Dan Trachtenberg. He's only got one film to his name, but it was an absolute hit among critics and fans.
When 10 Cloverfield Lane was released earlier this year, audiences were unsure what to expect. What we got was an incredible thriller full of pace, action, and wit. Trachtenberg knocked it out of the park, and then some. He figured out how to work with tight angles, master a suspenseful tone, and direct extremely talented actors. It was clear that Dan would be a great choice for a bigger budget movie with the way he handled the finale of the film. With the setting finally leaving the bunker, we got a look at the aliens that had been haunting the planet, and it gave us an idea of how the director could handle a bigger budget. Again, he delivered.
Could his inexperience, however, lead to a tough time handling such a big project. His one film was great, but that's all we've got to go on. He hasn't really written anything either, so his style still remains somewhat of a gamble. The other really interesting piece of this puzzle is this; why hasn't he signed on for another film yet? As quickly as studios move to hire fresh talent, it seems odd that Trachtenberg doesn't have a new project. Could he be working something out with an extended universe like the DCEU? Given the time he's taking to decide on his next film, that's a very real possibility.
It's been awhile since Lexi Alexander has made a feature length film, but her talent is evident. She's long overdue for a return to the big screen, and The Flash could easily fit her intelligent style.
Bursting onto the scene in 2005, former kickboxing champion Lexi Alexander released her debut film, Green Street Hooligans. The visceral drama about a group of violent Hooligans in London gave us a unique kind of action that we hadn't yet seen. It was a premise all its own, and Lexi found a way to really capture the street-level perspective. Beautiful hand-to-hand combat gave us some intense sequences, and the film launched the career of superstar Charlie Hunnam. While her follow-up film, Punisher: War Zone, was received with much more critical disdain, it was still very evident that Alexander had a great touch for gritty action.
In addition to being an action veteran, Lexi Alexander also has plenty of experience with DC material. Over the last year or two, she has helmed episodes of both the Supergirl, and Arrow series'. Those aren't big budget films, but she excelled at the tone the DCEU is trying to capture. The heads of DC have seen what she can do with their properties, and I'm sure they weren't disappointed.
Unlike a lot of the directors on this list, Gareth Edwards has already made his foray into the world of big-budget franchises. Following the success of Godzilla in 2014, Edwards was given the first Star Wars spin-off film, Rogue One.
It's clear that Gareth Edwards knows sci-fi, no matter the budget. His debut film, Monsters, had little to work with, but he found a way to peak our interest. Godzilla had a much larger budget, and it still left us excited for more of his work. Rogue One doesn't debut until December, but the trailer has fans everywhere awaiting the film with incredible anticipation. The footage we've seen looks as beautiful as it does intense, and it seems as though it will be met with incredible acclaim.
The successes of both franchises Edwards has been a part of only lend to his appeal as a filmmaker. If he were to helm The Flash, there would be no need for any kind of second guessing. People have seen his work, and they believe he knows what he's doing. He is becoming a household name, and that would help the DCEU gain positive attention.
His work with Star Wars may be his biggest selling point, but it could also be the one thing that would keep him from taking over The Flash. First of all, we don't know if he's locked into any long-term contract with the franchise. Secondly, does his current contract keep him away form DC properties? Star Wars is owned by Disney, who also owns Marvel. It's completely possible that there is some kind of clause preventing him from taking on a DC film.
When we talk about modern sci-fi, Blomkamp's name is always mentioned. District 9 put the South African director on the map, and he's remained in the spotlight ever since.
With his own unique style of sci-fi, Blomkamp made a way for the genre to feel much more realistic. Much like Ridley Scott did with Blade Runner, District 9 brought the elements of science fiction to a place we could understand, and it gave us a way to connect with the film on a human level. There were moments of heart in this movie that would fit perfectly into Barry Allen's story. Blomkamp has shown he knows how to bring us a story of an outcast that we can root for, and that's exactly what he could do with The Flash. His talents as a writer also help his case for the film, since a writer/director is what it really needs.
We all loved District 9, but Blomkamps following two films left us a little disappointed. Elysium and Chappie were both bigger budget sci-fi films, but they lacked the heart and style that were so perfect in District 9. Neither one of these films were bad, by any means, but they made us wonder if Blomkamp's best work was behind him. If we got a Flash movie similar to District 9, we'd be in for a serious treat. But the gamble of getting one like Elysium is a tough chance to take, especially when the studio really needs The Flash to be a hit.
Probably the most unknown on this list, Ben Wheatley has a style that is difficult to compare to any other. He's a one-of-a-kind voice that could really nail a super-hero film, but it's a big risk to take.
A dark indie-comedy director, Wheatley is best known for his newest film, High-Rise. The film, starring Tom Hiddleston, is a wild romp through the futuristic 70's that leaves audiences with open mouths and serious questions. It's a beautifully made film, and the acting is superb, but the story felt a bit confusing. After watching it a time or two, the film makes more sense, but could that take away from a project as popular as The Flash.
His style as a director is one that could take The Flash to places that no other filmmaker could, but it's his unique brand of storytelling that could hinder him. It's obvious a director with a darker sense of humor can transition into a super hero franchise, but is Wheatley the right guy for Flash? One thing is for certain, we would be getting a version of The Flash we have never seen before. It would definitely set itself apart from the TV Series, but would it be too different for fans of the character to enjoy?
Shane Black's vision matches perfectly with Barry Allen's personality. Fast-paced, sarcastic, unique, and a little on the darker side, these two seem like a match made in heaven.
His newest film, The Nice Guys, has received high praise from critics. The 1970's period comedy is as heartfelt as it is hilarious, and it is the perfect example of Black's tone. Much like he did as the writer of Lethal Weapon, Shane Black made a masterpiece out of a couple of normal guys who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. The witty dialogue that he brings to the table sounds like it's straight from Barry Allen's mouth, and his films give us consequences that feel real in order to actually get us invested. Just like he did in Iron Man 3, Black could find a way to mix his style with a superhero franchise and give us a version of The Flash that is entirely his own.
Unfortunately, Shane Black is looking to be a busy man. He's about to start filming his reboot of The Predator franchise, a film that will undoubtedly consume a large chunk of time. It was also announced recently that he's written a Doc Savage movie to film the The Rock. Both of those films sound awesome, but it probably prevents Shane from entering The Flash conversation.
Probably one of the most talented writers in this group, Damien Chazelle is a name we will be hearing a lot more of as the years go on. With a couple of stand-out films to his name, it would be the perfect time for DC to make a move on Chazelle; before someone else does.
In 2014, Whiplash made headlines across Hollywood, and emerged as one of the front-runners for Best Picture at The Oscars. The nail-biting story of a drummer trying to make it big, Whiplash was praised for it's visceral style and engaging characters. To follow up this achievement, Chazelle penned the script for this year's breakout hit, 10 Cloverfield Lane. Two incredible scripts back-to-back, and Chazelle is on everyone's radar.
Damien has a brilliant way of bringing these characters to life with their dialogue, and he could easily make Barry Allen the most beloved of all of the characters in the current DCEU. By bringing the script down to an emotional and human level, audiences would be brought to tears by Allen's story, and Chazelle would have an incredible franchise on his hands.
Damien's newest film, La La Land, has already been completed, and will be released in the US later this year. He still hasn't listed a new project to follow up the Ryan Gosling vehicle, so there's a great chance he could be making the move into a bigger franchise. With Marvel's success at finding young and upcoming directors, this could be DC's best shot at levelling the playing field.
Most of these filmmakers are prolific in either comedy or sci-fi films, but Gilroy's knack in the thriller genre makes him an interesting choice. After penning the scripts for bigger films like The Bourne Legacy, Real Steel, and Two For The Money, Gilroy made his directorial debut in spectacular fashion.
Nightcrawler amazed audiences and critics alike with its unique brand of creepy thrills. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, the film took us on one man's journey into fame and insanity. It may not be the exact tone we want from The Flash, but Gilroy has an incredible voice that would work well in any franchise. That voice may be darker than we expected, but it's the kind of dark that leaves you hanging on every single word said on screen.
Gilroy seems like the most interesting choice in terms of making a gritty version of The Flash. The downside here is the DCEU is supposed to be going after a much lighter tone. Gilroy's scripts have shown he can make a deep story lighter, and that could be the key to nailing The Flash. Aside from Nolan's take on Batman, we haven't really seen a director find that perfect balance of light and dark. Gilroy could be the man to do it, and that would make all the difference for DC going forward.
I think this is everyone's top choice for The Flash. After leaving Marvel and Ant-Man at the last minute, all fans have wanted is to see Wright's take on a super hero film. We saw elements of his storytelling leftover in Ant-Man, but we missed out on Wright's brand of direction that we all love so much.
With hit after hit, Edgar Wright continues to impress audiences around the world. Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World's End were all incredible comedies, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was an instant classic among comic fans. His speedy transitions are a staple of his directorial style, and they would fit flawlessly into Barry Allen's world. There isn't a better comedy director on the planet than Edgar Wright, and he would be perfect for a comedic hero like The Flash.
His latest effort, Baby Driver, is already in post-production, so Edgar has a completely free schedule. If he and Simon Pegg sat down and penned a script for The Flash, we would no doubt have the best DCEU film to date waiting in the wings. This would also be his chance to stick it to Marvel for giving him the boot. They wouldn't let him make the story his way, so why not just take his talents over to DC where they need every ounce of talent he's got? No one could tell this story like Wright, and I think fans everywhere would love to see this film.
What do you think of this list? Who would you love to see helm The Flash? Let us know in the comments below!