Inside the ending of "The Flash" and that cameo secretly shot 6 months ago

Inside the ending of “The Flash” and that cameo secretly shot 6 months ago

Logo text

(This story contains spoilers for The flash.)

Hollywood secrets have become notoriously difficult to keep, but Warner Bros. and the filmmakers of The flash made a doozy with the last moments of their DC movie.

After more than 25 years, George Clooney returned to the role of Bruce Wayne, marking a remarkable change of heart for an actor who was unequivocally done with one role. It was also a secret that the studio was able to keep close to for nearly six months.

In a moment in the film with the mic dropping, one that made the audience howl, The flashThe final scenes show Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) on the phone with Bruce Wayne. The phone call comes after a climactic court hearing and Barry is finally back on his Earth and his timeline. Wayne pulls up to the courthouse in his car and as he gets out, the assembled crowd separates to reveal Wayne… played by Clooney, not the version of Ben Affleck Barry expected.

Related stories

Clooney played Bruce Wayne/Batman in director Joel Schumacher’s film Batman and robin, the ill-fated 1997 film considered one of the worst superhero movies of all time. The actor has disowned it over the years, being the most visible shortcoming of his legendary career.

She told Howard Stern in late 2020 that it was physically painful to watch her work in the role. The actor said: “The truth is, I’ve been bad. Akiva Goldsman – who has since won the Academy Award for screenplay – wrote the screenplay. And it’s a terrible script, he’ll tell you. I’m terrible, I’ll tell you. Joel Schumacher, who just died, directed it and he was like, ‘Yeah, that didn’t work.’ We’ve all smelled that.

Clooney was known as a television actor in the famous medical procedure AND when he was cast as Batman. It was supposed to be a defining moment for the actor, becoming a full-fledged movie star at a time when movie stars, not brands or IP, mattered. Instead, the film has been a nail in the coffin for DC and Batman movies for years, with Batman finally returning to the big screen with 2005. Batman begins.

Clooney’s return to Bruce Wayne didn’t take years. In fact, it was made in a few weeks with a few phone calls, two screenings of the film and half a day of shooting in January.

It was also the third ending made for the film, which director Andy Muschietti accomplished through three separate regimes at Warners. The flash serves as a one-film studio that has survived and evolved in a rapidly changing media landscape, dealing with the dictates of several sets of studio heads and a multibillion-dollar acquisition.

The flash began life under the studio regime run by Toby Emmerich and his lieutenant, DC Films head Walter Hamada. Most of the filming and post-production was undertaken under that leadership, with the film as part of Hamada’s plan Fast build a major reset of the entire DC cinematic universe, starting with the one established by director Zack Snyder with Man of Steel a decade ago. Hamada planned to Fast sequel and then wanted to move on to a film inspired by the classic 80s comedy event, Crisis on Infinite Earths.

The flash, as it was originally conceived and shot, ended on the courthouse steps with Supergirl, played by Sasha Calle, and Batman, played by Michael Keaton, who was already featured in the film as a returned Batman. It was meant to highlight that Barry didn’t reset the timeline like he thought he did. It was an ending that was screen-tested time and time again, one that reversed the deaths of Supergirl and Batman early in the film.

However, the film was caught in the lightning storm that was Discovery’s 2022 acquisition of Warner Bros.. Emmerich and Hamada were ousted, and Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav was looking for an executive to direct the DC. Meanwhile, Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy have been installed as presidents and CEOs of the Warner Bros. Pictures group. Meanwhile they were tasked with overseeing DC and suddenly and certainly not unexpectedly had their plans.

A new The flash final was conceived. This new version was still on the courthouse steps, but now Calle’s Supergirl was joined by Superman, played by Henry Cavill, and Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot. Keaton also stayed. De Luca and Abdy believed they were strategic with the ending. Cavill was about to make a cameo for the DC movie Black Adam and was being groomed to return to a role in a brand Superman new movie. Supergirl was kept because even though executives were killing development on a Supergirl standalone film, they were open to her returning in some form and didn’t want the last picture audiences saw of her to be her death at the hands of a supervillain (Michael Shannon’s General Zod).

Meanwhile, the studio was developing a third installment of Wonder Woman with director Patty Jenkins and star Gadot. This was a nice way to keep Wonder Woman in the cultural conversation. This finale was shot in September involving Miller, Cavill and Gadot as well as Keaton and Calle.

Then came another stroke of lightning. In November, Zaslav announced that director James Gunn and producer Peter Safran would head DC Studios, overseeing all of DC’s film and television efforts. And suddenly, and certainly not unexpectedly, they had their own plans.

Knowing they were restoring the DC Universe to their vision, Gunn and Safran realized that having Cavill and Gadot in the new ending was potentially promising something their plans wouldn’t go through with. One of the first actions the duo took was to scrap Cavill’s Superman film, and they parted ways with Jenkins, effectively killing the third Wonder Woman installment.

The filmmakers, according to multiple people associated with the film, then looked for alternatives but wanted to keep the germ of the idea: Barry Allen thinks everything is fine, but then pulled out the carpet at the last moment. They also went back to an idea joked earlier in the filmmaking process: “How many Batmen can we get?” Clooney was brought up as a long shooter, but Gunn and Safran jumped at the idea.

The duo contacted Clooney’s agent at CAA, Bryan Lourd, showing him a portion of the nearly finished film. He liked it and then he showed it to Clooney. Clooney liked it and he agreed to be a part of it.

The shoot was quickly assembled, and one January morning on the Warner lot, Clooney was there as Wayne, back for the first time in 26 years. Also on set was Miller, making his first appearance on the lot since the fateful day in August when they met with De Luca and Abdy to discuss their controversial behavior (including multiple arrests) and come forward.

Miller was in top form that day, sources say, for what has been described as quick and efficient shooting. Clooney and Miller spent time together between takes with the veteran actor chatting to the younger actor, giving encouraging advice on how to handle being in the public eye and performing in public.

Warner has kept the new ending under wraps as much as possible. The study didn’t even test it. And when he screened the film at CinemaCon for theater owners and the press in April, he stopped short of revealing who made it to the courthouse steps. The first time the new ending was seen by anyone other than the filmmakers was at press screenings the week of June 4, and then at the film’s premiere on June 12.

“It’s rare that you have a film in post-production that tackles three separate regimes with three separate schedules,” notes an insider. “None of them were demolished out of ill will, just different visions.”