Hear that? That’s the sound of the door shutting on any potential crossover between DC Entertainment’s televised universe and the massive feature film one that was just announced.
Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara opened a massive can of DC news today, confirming the release of the oft-rumored Justice League, Shazam, Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad, The Flash, and more films. The announcements came with plenty of details that kill the idea of one cohesive DC Universe that exists in both television and film.
The biggest indicator is Ezra Miller’s casting as the Scarlet Speedster in the 2018 The Flash film. The identically named TV show, currently on the CW, already has Grant Gustin cast as a separate Barry Allen. Ezra’s inclusion also cuts short the idea that the film would star Wally West, as DC Comics recast the character as African American in the New 52 (Ezra, just to be clear, is Caucasian).
And by the time The Flash movie lands in theaters, the show would already have four seasons under its belt. There’s no way that Warner Bros would try to launch a studio franchise off of a story with four years of backstory and continuity. It would require too much prior knowledge for the mainstream audience who think "The Flash" and "Flash Gordon" are the same character.
It’s an almost identical situation for Suicide Squad. While the big screen Squad is penciled for 2016, a version of the team already exists in The CW’s Arrow. It’s been announced that the Squad movie, directed by David Ayer, will include a cast of four “A-list stars.” The actors who currently portray the Squad on Arrow, while talented, would not fall under most people’s standards for “A-list.”
Like The Flash, the CW’s Suicide Squad would bring too much baggage for single film. At this point in the CW universe, Arrow’s partner, Diggle, is too connected to the Squad for mainstream viewer's understanding. Plus, the CW has tentative plans to make a Suicide Squad miniature season between Arrow’s winter breaks. This would be a similar move to what Marvel is doing with Agent Carter between Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s mid-season break.
There’s just no room for congruency between the televised and feature film versions of DC’s characters. At best, the television shows will serve as primers for their big screen brethren. As Tsujihara said at the announcement today, "Fans among the world will become more acquainted with [The Flash] through our hit show on The CW.” Marvel is doing the opposite by having their ABC and Netflix series tie into their films. This isn’t a bad difference, necessarily. Fans should view the move as an opportunity to double their DC action.
But sorry, Stephen Amell. It doesn’t look like you’ll join the Justice League anytime soon.