When GamesRadar+ sits down with The Flash director Andy Muschietti and producer Barbara Muschietti, the DC blockbuster has already been screened countless times for fans and critics alike. Hype is at a critical level, with Stephen King's praise and Tom Cruise's enthusiastic cold-call especially making waves. With so much buzz building around the film, then, are the Muschietti siblings feeling the pressure?
"No," Andy says. "If anything, [we got] more confidence in the thing that we did, because the movie was finished by the time that [Cruise and King] saw it, so it was a confidence boost if anything."
Barbara feels much the same way. "It's a very cynical industry, and to hear people that really have no skin in the game, because they have nothing to gain, just say something that lovely – in the case of Tom Cruise, he called us, talked for 15 minutes, praising Andy, praising the film, and it just feels very good because we really work very hard to make these movies."
The Flash is a high-octane multiversal adventure focused on Ezra Miller's Barry Allen, the titular Scarlet Speedster. Barry discovers he can use his super speed to travel back in time and prevent his mother's murder, though, as Ben Affleck's Batman warns him, that could well destroy everything. Barry fails to heed this warning – and the next thing he knows, he's teaming up with a younger (and far more annoying) version of himself, Michael Keaton's legendary (but retired) Batman, and a brand new Kryptonian in the form of Sasha Calle's Supergirl. The Justice League is nowhere to be found, which means it's up to this motley crew to save the day.
"Ezra got very stimulated by the idea of creating an unlikely team of heroes," explains Andy. "Unlikely in the term that they're not the Justice League, they're a strange version of that. Initially, they seem like underdogs. Because, as you see in the movie, Barry is struggling with their superpowers and with young Barry. We have a Batman that is retired, so initially, he doesn't seem to be in a good place, he's a reluctant character.
"Supergirl is a wildcard in this movie, they find her by mistake, and we don't know where her loyalty sits," he continues. "It's stimulating, especially because of that vulnerability that the group has – not each of the characters solo, but as a group, they're a very vulnerable group. That stimulated everyone, because there's an arc there, and there's transformation, and they find strength in togetherness."
One of the most exciting aspects of The Flash's team of misfits is the return of Michael Keaton's Batman, last seen on screen in Tim Burton's duo of Bat-movies. He's not quite how you remember him, though, having hung up the cape and cowl – and grown an impressive head of hair.
There are some interesting sartorial choices, too. "Andy fixated on: 'I'm going to put Batman in flip-flops,'" laughs Barbara.
Naturally, the flip-flops aren't the only thing that has changed in the years since Batman Returns. "It's always a thrill to speculate or imagine that that Batman will come back, but also the thing that was very exciting to me was basically filling the space of those 30 years where we haven't seen what Bruce is up to," says Andy. "And that was part of my conversations with Michael Keaton, and it was great because we had a lot of fun creating that timeline where we don't know what he did."
We're not left totally in the dark about how Bruce has been keeping busy, though. "There's things that imply what he was up to," Andy says. "You see the technology that he created. The idea is that, after Batman Returns, he went on for 10 years being Batman and he did some alterations and improvements to his gear. We see a new Batwing, we see a new suit. Some of the sketches seem new, the Batcave is a little bit refurbished. The Batmobile is the only thing that didn't change. I wanted to keep that the same."
If you're wondering why we're dealing with two Batmen, a Supergirl rather than a Superman, and a double dose of Barry Allen, the answer is simple: in the multiverse, anything is possible.
"That was total freedom," says Andy, when GR+ asks if there were any rules about playing in the multiversal sandbox.
"We brought [cameo redacted] in, there really were no rules," chimes in Barbara, name-checking one of the film's most jaw-dropping appearances.
"As long as they were DC characters, everything was allowed," adds Andy. "And I made a list of superheroes that I love, that I would love to see, and it was a long list. And then, for time matters, for pacing, we had to shortlist that a little bit. The movie is the result of that shortlist, but I'm pretty thrilled by the superheroes that we gather."
The multiversal shenanigans mean Michael Shannon's formidable General Zod is back, once again aiming to terraform Earth into a new Krypton. The battle between Zod and Superman played out in Zack Snyder's Man of Steel, which has been remixed and incorporated into The Flash.
"I talked to Zack," Andy confirms. "But it wasn't technical or narrative or anything. I just wanted to reach out and say, 'Hey.' Because we haven't met before, and I just wanted to tell him that we would be respectful to the stuff that he did before." Barbara adds: "And to the cast he put together."
"Man of Steel obviously is foundational to this movie because the big threat of Zod coming to Earth is a big twist in this story, and it's something that most DC fans know very well," Andy explains. "And that's one of the great things that can form the narrative of this movie."
Zod isn't the only familiar face from the SnyderVerse to make an appearance, either; Affleck's Batman also features in what's thought to be a send-off to the character (pending a potential Aquaman 2 cameo).
When GR+ puts this to the Muschiettis, though, they aren't so sure. "How do you know it's his last time?" Barbara asks.
"The truth is that the multiverse allows everything to happen," says Andy. "As Bruce Wayne says [in The Flash], there are infinite timelines and inevitable intersections, and that's one of the things that excited me about portraying the multiverse in this movie, is that it opens up the possibility to bring people back the moment you'd least expect. So I would like to think that it's not a send-off – we'll see."
The future, then, is unknown for now. It's a time of flux for the DC universe, with James Gunn and Peter Safran taking the reins to usher in Chapter One: Gods and Monsters, a brand new slate of films and TV shows. One of these projects is a Batman movie, titled The Brave and the Bold. Andy Muschietti has been tipped to be the frontrunner to direct that film, though he's reluctant to share anything at this stage.
"Unfortunately, I can't [speak about it]," Andy says. "I'd love to. But this is still too early to talk about it."
There are also reports swirling that a sequel script for The Flash is ready to go, but Barbara is similarly hesitant on that subject. "That I think was a bit premature," she says. "We're not really familiar with that draft. I think that draft has been around for a while."
Instead, Barbara is focusing on the here and now – a sentiment that seems very fitting for the time-travelling extravaganza that is The Flash. "We love our movie," she says. "And we hope people love it just as much."
The Flash is in UK cinemas this June 14 and US theaters this June 16. In the meantime, check out our guide to all the upcoming DC movies and TV shows for everything else the studio has in store.