Here Comes ‘The Flash’: A Low-Profile Ezra Miller, the ‘Secret Ending’ Warners Is Trying to Preserve and a Sequel Script on Ice

“The Flash” is almost here, and the rollout has been anything but typical. 

With just 13 days to go before the film’s June 16 release, titular star Ezra Miller has done no press and will make a low-profile appearance at the Los Angeles premiere on June 12, only posing for photos rather than doing interviews. The film’s director, Andy Muschietti, and cast members Ben Affleck, Sasha Calle and Michael Shannon will also hit the red carpet that will be missing the standard press gauntlet. (The film’s Michael Keaton and fellow DC Universe superhero Jason Momoa will miss the premiere as they are filming movies in London and New Zealand, respectively.)

Typically, the star of a $190 million tentpole will promote the film in interviews across print, TV and oftentimes podcasts spanning multiple continents. (Harrison Ford has been ubiquitous in the run-up to the June 30 bow of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” including a high-profile showing at the Cannes Film Festival.)

“Ezra wants the movie to open and the conversation to be about the movie and not about Ezra,” a source close to Miller explains. “They are focused on their mental health and don’t want it to be transactional.” (Miller uses they/them pronouns.)

Warner Bros. is attempting to pull off an unprecedented feat by taking its latest DC offering into the global marketplace without any promotion from its star, who was mired in controversy following arrests and erratic behavior but who has stayed out of trouble since last summer after seeking treatment for “complex mental health issues” following “a time of intense crisis.”

But will Miller’s lack of shilling hurt “The Flash’s” box office prospects? The answer appears to be no. The film is tracking for an estimated $75 million opening, higher than 2018’s standalone “Aquaman,” which went on to earn $1.15 billion worldwide after gaining huge momentum abroad. In lieu of Miller’s junketing, Warners has been aggressive with its advertising, putting the film’s trailer into heavy rotation during the NBA and NHL playoffs.

Warners’ decision to throw one premiere only, just four days ahead of the film’s release, has raised eyebrows around town. But a knowledgeable source explains that the move had little to do with Miller and was made “to keep the ‘secret ending’ under wraps.” The version that screened at CinemaCon in April ended abruptly, with a chunk of the final scene missing. At screenings on the Burbank lot this week, the final scene was intact, but Warners blurred out key elements. In fact, the final scene was changed multiple times pre-CinemaCon, the source adds. At the height of Miller’s PR problems, Warners was looking to keep its options open with regards to the future trajectory of the speedster.

For additional PR exposure, Warners is hosting “Flash” screenings — sans Miller — in key cities including one tonight in London that Keaton will introduce as well as events in Toronto, Miami, Buenos Aires, Madrid and Sao Paolo with Muschetti. The studio also has launched a massive word-of-mouth screening program with 400 across the United States and Canada. 

Though Warners never announced it, the studio already has a finished sequel script from David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick (“Aquaman”) if a Part 2 is in the cards. That script is said to have guest-starred Keaton’s Batman and Calle’s new Supergirl. Muschetti, for one, wouldn’t consider recasting Barry Allen/The Flash. “If [a sequel] happens, yes,” Muschietti told the Discourse podcast about bringing back Miller. “I don’t think there’s anyone that can play that character as well as they did. The other depictions of the character are great, but this particular vision of the character, they just excelled in doing it. It feels like a character that was made for them.”

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