Grant Gustin in The Flash

By just about any measure, Grant Gustin‘s take on the iconic superhero known as the Flash is a hit. His CW series is beloved by both discerning critics and casual TV viewers, hardcore comics geeks as well as audiences who’ve never so much as set foot inside a comic book store. When it came time for Warner Bros. to cast a big-screen version of the character for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the other DC movies, however, they went in an entirely different direction, tapping Ezra Miller to don the red suit.

The choice has inspired some head-scratching and grumbling from fans loyal to Gustin’s take on the Scarlet Speedster. Why anoint a new Flash when a perfectly good one is sitting right there and ready to go? But Zack Snyder has now gone on the record to explain why TV’s Flash won’t show up in the DC films. His answer will probably not surprise you.

Speaking to The New York Daily News, Snyder revealed he’d never even considered bringing Gustin’s Barry Allen into Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or the other DC movies. “I just don’t think it was a good fit,” he responded. “I’m very strict with this universe and I just don’t see a version where…that [tone is] not our world.” Snyder is referring here to the relatively light and upbeat tone of The CW’s The Flash, in contrast to the darker, grittier, broodier world of Batman v Superman and its related films.

And then there’s the fact that The Flash show takes place in an entirely different universe from The Flash movie. Gustin’s The Flash connects to fellow CW series Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow, but has no narrative relation to Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeJustice League, or any of the other movies in that franchise. Explained Snyder, “Even if Grant Gustin is my favorite guy in the world and he’s very good, we made a commitment to the multi-verse [idea], so it’s just not a thing that’s possible.”

Fans who adore the TV Flash‘s sunny optimism might not be thrilled by Snyder’s explanation, especially since many of those same fans probably dislike the films’ commitment to grim pessimism. But Snyder’s explanation seems reasonable enough. Those films do need to maintain at least some consistency, lest crossovers like Justice League fall apart. That’s not to say the Flash solo movie due out in 2018 will be a dour affair — in fact, Snyder has promised it won’t be — but a new Flash will let director Seth Grahame-Smith and his team tweak the character to suit the universe he’s in.

The Flash movie is due out March 16, 2018, though we’ll see Miller’s take on the character in films before that.

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