SPOILER ALERT: The following article contains major spoilers for The Flash. We recommend reading it only after you’ve seen the film.
The Flash is more than a superhero movie. It’s a love letter to the DC Universe’s film legacy. The Andy Muschietti-directed blockbuster tells a heartwarming family story about the Flash, one of DC’s premiere superheroes, but it also pays homage to the 2013 film Man of Steel, Tim Burton’s Batman films, and so much more. As I watched the movie, here are some of the many Easter eggs, cameos and references to DC movies and comics that I caught.
- The Easter eggs begin in the first frames! As the film gets started, an old version of the DC logo appears onscreen. It then transforms, showing us various versions of DC’s logo through the years.
- Within the first few minutes of the movie, we get the return of Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth.
- Ben Affleck is back as Batman! Affleck previously played the role in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Justice League, and new scenes for Zack Snyder’s Justice League. This is his fifth outing in the role, which puts him ahead of every other live-action Batman in terms of movie appearances.
- The villain Batman is chasing at the beginning of the film is Alberto Falcone, son of the crime boss Carmine Falcone. Alberto first appeared in the critically acclaimed storyline Batman: The Long Halloween. Alberto was one of the individuals who donned the identity as the Holiday Killer.
- By the way, Alberto has stolen a virus that he plans to threaten Gotham with. Could this be a reference to the Clench, the deadly virus that plagued Gotham during the “Contagion” storyline?
- Did you catch the map of Gotham City on Alfred’s computer screen? It’s the same map that has been used in the comics since 1999’s Batman: No Man’s Land #1.
- Gal Gadot is back as Wonder Woman! This is Gadot’s seventh appearance as Diana of Themyscira, having previously played the role in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman, Justice League, Wonder Woman 1984, Zack Snyder’s Justice League and Shazam! Fury of the Gods.
- We’re introduced to Barry Allen’s coworkers, and all of them have a rich legacy in the comics. Patty Spivot was a Central City Police Department crime lab assistant who was first seen in 1977’s DC Special Series #1. Albert Desmond was a forensic scientist who turned to a life of crime as the villain Doctor Alchemy. He was first seen as the villain Mr. Element in 1958’s Showcase #13. David Singh is the supervisor of the crime lab (and sometimes police captain depending on the story). He was first introduced in 2010’s The Flash Secret Files and Origins.
- Kiersey Clemons is back as Iris West! Clemons previously played the role in Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
- During Barry’s conversation with Iris, we learn more about the situation with his parents. The premise of Henry Allen being framed for the death of his wife Nora comes from the comics, but it wasn’t always that way. Nora and Henry Allen were introduced in 1962’s The Flash #126 (below). Both of Barry’s parents were healthy and played a supporting role in his stories. They even found out his secret identity in 1981’s The Flash #303. However, everything changed in The Flash: Rebirth, which established the backstory of Nora’s murder and Henry taking a fall for it. As Barry soon learned, this change happened due to his enemy Reverse-Flash going back in time to create the family tragedy.
- The notecard that Bruce Wayne sends to Barry Allen has a similar design to the one he sent to Diana in the 2017 Wonder Woman film. A nice bit of continuity!
- Henry Allen is incarcerated in Iron Heights, the maximum security prison that was first introduced in The Flash: Iron Heights #1.
- During the flashbacks to Barry’s childhood, he could be seen wearing a Scooby Doo shirt. Scooby Doo has had numerous team-ups with the Flash and the rest of the DC Universe. A poster for Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed can also be seen in young Barry’s bedroom. Why is that significant? Well, look up who the screenwriter for that was.
- When Bruce Wayne warns Barry Allen about the dangers of time travel, pay attention to the storefronts in the background. There is a store called Graysons, which reminds viewers of Dick Grayson, the original Robin. I would chalk this up to a coincidence, except the storefront is directly behind Bruce Wayne as he talks about how he’s destined to be alone. This makes the placement seem deliberate. Barry’s neighborhood also has a comic shop called Whizz. I’m thinking that’s a reference to Whiz Comics, the series that introduced the world to Shazam.
- When Barry Allen looks inside of his fridge, we can see a leftover soft drink cup from Big Belly Burger. The fast food chain has been a huge part of the DC Universe since its introduction in 1988’s Adventures of Superman #441 and will next make an appearance in August’s Blue Beetle (at least if the trailer is any indication).
- As Barry travels back in time, we are shown images from Zack Snyder’s Justice League, including Superman’s revival.
- This is a good time to mention that the plot for this film is heavily based on Flashpoint, a storyline where Barry Allen goes back in time to prevent his mother’s murder.
- The door of 2013-Barry’s bedroom has a V for Vendetta poster. The 2005 movie was actually based on a Vertigo limited series. Does this mean that DC Comics exist in the movie universe?
- The computer monitor in 2013-Barry’s apartment is displaying a Mortal Kombat game. Another monitor has the Looney Tunes on it. Both of these are franchises that have crossed over with the DC Universe.
- This one is probably not deliberate, but still something I found to be cool. 2013-Barry’s apartment has a poster for the 1996 film Mars Attacks! Why is that significant? First of all, it’s directed by Tim Burton. It also stars Jack Nicholson and Danny DeVito, two actors who went up against Michael Keaton’s Batman. In fact, now I’m wondering if Bruce Wayne saw the movie and hated it because the guy playing the President looked like the man who killed his parents.
- Michael Shannon is back as General Zod! Shannon previously played Zod in 2013’s Man of Steel. We even get another version of the broadcast he sent during that film.
- Speaking of Man of Steel, did you know it’s the film’s 10th anniversary? This makes Zod’s return and all the Man of Steel imagery fitting.
- As 2023-Barry explains Zod to 2013-Barry, a truck with the name Gleason can be seen in the background. Could this be a reference to Patrick Gleason, the superstar comic book artist?
- When Barry tries to track down Victor Stone, he looks up an article on the Gotham Globe. The newspaper has been a part of the DC Universe since 1948’s All-Star Comics #43. However, it’s also significant for being the newspaper that Vicki Vale and Alexander Knox worked for in the 1989 Batman film. It’s almost like it’s foreshadowing Keaton’s appearance.
- If you look at Barry’s browser closely, you’ll see that the website also mentions the Metropolis Meteors and Gotham Knights, two sports teams that have existed in the DC Universe for years.
- Temuera Morrison reprises his role as Thomas Curry. We previously saw the lighthouse keeper in the 2018 film Aquaman.
- The production team did a great job of recreating the exterior of Wayne Manor from the 1989 Batman film. The statues on the gate are identical!
- As 2013-Barry and 2023-Barry explore the interior of Wayne Manor, we see many familiar rooms from the Tim Burton Batman films, including the hall of armor from the 1989 movie.
- Michael Keaton is back as Batman! Keaton is playing the Dark Knight for the first time since 1992’s Batman Returns.
- As Bruce talks to the Barrys, the television behind them is playing a broadcast from GNN. Gotham News Network is one of the many news channels seen in Batman media, including the 1995 film Batman Forever and the television series Gotham.
- The exploration of the Batcave is full of Easter eggs. First, composer Benjamin Wallfisch evokes Danny Elfman’s classic Batman theme beautifully. We also get the classic batcomputer and the iconic 1989 Batmobile. 2013-Barry also finds the laughing bag that was pulled out of Joker’s coat pocket at the end of Batman.
- Did you see all of those batsuits in Keaton’s armory? From Adam West to the classic toyline, each suit references a piece of Batman’s rich history. I could spend an hour breaking each suit down, but then I would’ve missed the rest of the movie.
- When Keaton said “I’m Batman,” my entire theater erupted in applause. Keaton previously said the iconic line during the opening act of the 1989 Batman film. It might seem simple on paper, but nobody ever forgot the way he delivered it. It’s just as chilling in 2023 as it was in 1989.
- As Batman and both Barrys eject from the Batwing, the craft can be seen against the moon. This is a visual Easter egg, evoking a similar shot from the 1989 Batman movie. That shot was immortalized as the cover to Danny Elfman’s Batman soundtrack.
- Batman uses his grappling hook to travel up the mountain with 2023-Barry. This scene is framed in the same way as a similar shot with Kam Basinger in the 1989 Batman film. In fact, I was fully expecting Bruce to ask Barry how much he weighed.
- As Batman fights the Russian villains, he seems to be using the remote-controlled Batarang that was introduced in 1992’s Batman Returns. Be careful with that toy Keaton, the last time you used it, you were framed for the murder of an ice princess.
- Ladies and gentlemen, introducing Sasha Calle as Kara Zor-El. Superman’s cousin Kara was introduced back in 1959’s Action Comics #252.
- 2023-Barry’s plan to regain his powers by building an electric chair in the Batcave is taken directly from the Flashpoint comic.
- Antje Traue is back as Zod’s right hand woman Faora-Ul. She was previously seen in 2013’s Man of Steel.
- As Kara flies with 2023-Barry, she says, “I’ve got you.” This evokes the iconic line Christopher Reeve’s Superman said to Lois Lane when he rescued her in the 1978 movie.
- Speaking of iconic lines, shortly before the final battle, Keaton recites another one, “You wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts.” Keaton’s Bruce Wayne said this memorable line during a particularly charged moment in the 1989 Batman film.
- During the final battle with Zod, Flash uses his powers to create a mini-cyclone. This moment had me grinning ear to ear. This is a signature battle move from the Flash, which dates all the way back to the Silver Age.
- Surprise, 2013-Barry was Dark Flash all along! In the comics, Dark Flash was a version of Wally West from an alternate timeline. He was first introduced in 1999’s The Flash #150.
- As the timeline begins to collapse, don’t even think about blinking, checking your phone, or going to the bathroom, because there are tons of DC Universe cameos! We see George Reeves as Superman and Adam West as Batman. We see Christopher Reeve and Helen Slater together as Superman and Supergirl. (That last one really made me happy since Slater’s Supergirl never had a chance to interact with Reeve’s Superman on film.)
- We see Jay Garrick’s Flash racing through the timeline—this was Barry Allen's Golden Age predecessor who made his debut in 1940’s Flash Comics #1. These days, Jay resides with the Golden Age superheroes on Earth-2. Could that be what we're seeing here?
- I can’t believe I’m typing this, but we saw Nicolas Cage as Superman, wearing a costume originally designed for a cancelled ‘90s movie. He’s fighting a giant spider, a battle which was first described in the script for the cancelled Superman Lives film.
- As Barry rushes to his father’s parole hearing, he steals a hot dog from an unsuspecting citizen. That citizen is none other than Andy Muschietti (above), the director of the film.
- After the parole hearing, Barry is greeted by Bruce Wayne—as played by George Clooney! Yes, George Clooney returns as Bruce Wayne, for the first time since the 1997 film Batman & Robin. Full disclosure, I immediately texted my DC editor Tim Beedle because this made me lose my mind.
- Did you think we were done with cameos? The film’s final surprise appearance occurs in the post-credits scene, as Jason Momoa reprises his role as Aquaman. He’s a bit inebriated, but he should be back on his feet by the time Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom hits theaters this December.
The Flash has a lot of Easter eggs, and I felt like I needed super speed to catch them all or maybe reverse time to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Then again, I listened to Michael Keaton’s spaghetti speech, so I know that this isn’t the way to do it. Besides, the film is still in theaters. I can just go and see it again.
I challenge all of you to go on your own Easter egg hunts as you watch the movie. Maybe you’ll be able to catch some stuff I missed. If you do, feel free to drop it on the DC Community and reach out to me on Twitter!
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DC.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Joshua Lapin-Bertone and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros., nor should they be read as confirmation or denial of future DC plans.