The Flash Ending Explained: What Does It Mean For The DCEU?

The following article contains spoilers for The Flash – you have been warned.

We followed Barry Allen into the Speed Force – and came out of it not knowing whether he will return in the DCEU or not.

After several months of hype (and weeks of endless spoilers), The Flash is finally in cinemas, and we can finally break down the ways in which this resets the universe ready for James Gunn’s takeover. There are still a couple more films to arrive before the Gunn era begins – Blue Beetle and Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom – but this has been heralded as the great reset.

How does it set the stage for a full universe reboot?

“You’re Not Batman”

Warner Bros

Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) learned the consequences of the Butterfly Effect in disastrous fashion, with the film’s third act leading to the deaths of both Michael Keaton’s Batman and Supergirl (Sasha Calle) on the battlefield. Saving his mother from her death resulted in countless timelines ending with the inevitable – these characters dying at the hands of Zod (Michael Shannon).

Aiming to go back in time again, he’s attacked by Dark Flash within the speed force, discovering that this is Young Barry from the future; Young Barry sacrifices himself, which wipes away Dark Flash in the process, and our Barry goes back in time to reset the universe. He takes the tomatoes out of Nora’s shopping trolley, but places them on a lower shelf to ensure his dad has an alibi in court – if you’ve read this article without seeing the film, then no, we will not go into further depth about the significance of this.

Things seem like they’ve gone back to normal, with the added benefit of his dad being found not guilty. He gets a call from Bruce Wayne, only to discover that it’s not Affleck’s Wayne, but instead… George Clooney’s.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Yes, the climax of The Flash reveals that the Butterfly Effect is still transforming Barry’s life, leaving him with a happy ending, albeit comfortably outside the current DCEU. This will undoubtedly save DC from the headache of having to hire Ezra Miller again.

As with the rest of the film, the suggestion of multiple Batmen existing concurrently helps clear up endless franchise confusion. We know Robert Pattinson will return for a sequel to The Batman, but there will also be a different Bruce Wayne cast in The Brave And The Bold – this ending seems to be priming audiences to accept that, yes, multiple Batmen can co-exist, even if they’ll never share the same universe.

Post-Credits Breakdown

Warner Bros. Pictures

If you’ve waited through endless credits for the hope of an important tease, you’ll be out of luck – the post-credits stinger is instead a fun sequence between Barry and Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa). Our Aquaman is drunk after a night on the sauce, desperate to keep drinking as Barry tries to explain what he’s seen throughout the multiverse.

However, there is one crucial throwaway line here, with Barry noting that Arthur is “pretty much” the same person wherever he goes, in contrast to Bruce. This suggests that, whilst Gunn may be more flexible with the amount of Batmen allowed into his revamped DC Universe, there will only be one actor playing Aquaman for the time being – and that his upcoming sequel won’t necessarily be the last we see of him.

The Flash is in UK cinemas now.

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Alistair Ryder

Alistair Ryder


Alistair is a culture journalist and lover of bad puns from Leeds. Subject yourself to his bad tweets by following him on Twitter @YesItsAlistair.