The Flash: A Guide to the DC Multiverse and Its Alternate Realities

The Flash, starring Ezra Miller, explores the DCU’s multiverse and alternate timelines as Barry Allen tries to alter history. Using his power to travel back in time, Barry attempts to prevent his mother’s death in his childhood. But his actions have major consequences that create a new timeline that endangers the world.

Based on the Flashpoint comic book arc, The Flash showcases Barry’s ability to manipulate time and visit other universes on-screen as he seeks to undo his tragedy. 

However, the DCU’s multiverse and its alternate timelines are intricate and nonlinear, mirroring the comic book version. If you are a confused fan who’s looking for some clarity regarding the DCU’s multiverse theory, or just want to learn more about it, you’re at the right place. In this article, I will explain how the multiverse and its alternate timelines work in the DCU.

1. How Barry Allen’s Time Travel Creates Unpredictable Timelines

Barry Allen discovers his power to run so fast that he can travel through time in the first act of The Flash, as he did in Zack Snyder’s Justice League to defeat Steppenwolf. Using the Speed Force, the source of his power, Barry can access a “chronobowl” that shows him multiple outcomes and timelines at once. 

The Flash: A Guide to the DC Multiverse and Its Alternate Realities
Barry Allen aka The Flash

He can enter different points in time and change events as he wishes. However, his actions in the past do not guarantee expected results in the present.

The Flash confirms that the DC multiverse is different from the MCU’s more linear multiverse where branch realities are created from a main timeline. Barry’s alteration affects not only his present and future but also past events before the change with retro-causalities. 

It’s hard to foresee what other changes may happen besides the intended one. For example, Barry goes to the past to put a can of tomatoes in his mother’s grocery cart, so his dad stays home when she’s killed. But this creates many changes across the whole timeline that the Flash could not have anticipated.

2. Batman’s Spaghetti Multiverse Explained

When Flash meets his younger self and looks for Bruce Wayne’s help, they find Michael Keaton’s Batman instead of Ben Affleck’s version of the same character. This is the main example of an unexpected retrocausality caused by Barry’s actions. This Batman knows about the multiverse and uses spaghetti as a metaphor.

The Flash: A Guide to the DC Multiverse and Its Alternate Realities
Batman and The Flash in The Flash

Like spaghetti, timelines are tangled and have crossing points as fulcrums in the multiverse. These are called “intersectional inevitabilities” where some characters and events are fixed. Barry calls them moments of fate. 

Similar to nexus beings/events in the MCU or canon events in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, these intersections are vital for the multiverse’s balance. However, Flash learns that he can’t change these intersections without destroying the universe. He can’t save his mom without risking everything.

3. The Three Main Timelines in the DC Universe

The Flash features three main timelines. The first is the main DC timeline that follows the DCEU continuity starting with Man of Steel in 2013. 

This is the timeline where Barry’s mom was murdered in his childhood while his dad was out to buy a can of tomatoes. Barry tries to change this timeline by putting a can in his mother’s cart earlier that day, so his dad stays home.

The second timeline is the one where Barry’s mom survives, and his father is not falsely accused of her murder. Barry has both parents in his life. But this change affects the whole universe, creating a world without metahumans to defend it from General Zod’s attack in Man of Steel. 

Wonder Woman is still hidden, and Cyborg is still a football player, while Aquaman never existed, and Superman was killed by Zod as a baby. This is also the reality where Michael Keaton is Batman, who retired after making Gotham a safe city.

The third timeline is formed after Flash accepts his mother’s fate. He takes away the can of tomatoes, making sure his mom will die as in the original timeline. But he puts all the cans on the top shelf in the store, so security cameras can see his dad’s face, proving his innocence in the present and freeing him. 

But this action also causes changes, such as George Clooney being Batman instead of Keaton or Affleck. The status of the other League members is unknown, but The Flash’s post-credits scene shows Jason Momoa is still Aquaman.

4. A Tour of the DC Multiverse

The Flash movie takes the audience on a journey through the DC multiverse, where different versions of the iconic characters coexist in parallel universes. The main Barry Allen and his evil counterpart, Dark Flash, travel through time and space and witness some of these alternate realities. 

They see a black and white DC Universe that pays homage to the classic TV show starring George Reeves as Superman in the 1950s, as well as the original Flash from the Golden Age of comics, Jay Garrick. They also visit the 1966 Batman TV show universe, where Adam West’s campy Caped Crusader and Cesar Romero’s clownish Joker battle for Gotham City’s fate. 

Another universe they encounter is based on the beloved movies directed by Richard Donner in the late 1970s and early 1980s, featuring Christopher Reeves as Superman and Helen Slater as Supergirl. Finally, they glimpse the Nicolas Cage Superman universe, inspired by the scrapped Superman Lives project from the 1990s, which would have been written by Kevin Smith and directed by Tim Burton. 

However, not all is well in the multiverse, as Dark Flash’s meddling causes some of these universes to collide and threaten the stability of reality. The main Barry Allen must find a way to stop him and restore order to the multiverse.

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5. About The Flash (2023)

The Flash is an upcoming American superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name. The film is directed by Andy Muschietti and a part of the DCEU.

The movie will see Barry Allen travel back in time to prevent his mother’s murder, which brings unintentional consequences to his timeline.

Miller will be joined by actors Ben Affleck, Michael Keaton, Sasha Calle, Kiersey Clemons, Maribel Verdu, and Ron Livingston. The movie is set to release on June 16, 2023.

Epic Dope Staff

Epic Dope Staff

Our talented team of Freelance writers - Always on the lookout - pour their energies into a wide range of topics bringing to our audience what they crave - fun up-to-date news, reviews, fan theories and much much more.


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