Geoff Johns Talks The Flash and the DC Multiverse

Geoff Johns has gone from fan favorite comic book writer to the mastermind behind the DC universe on TV and film, helping to develop the slate of three new shows debuting this season–“The Flash,” “Gotham” and “Constantine”–as well as executive producing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. As the chief creative officer and spokesperson for DC Entertainment, Johns just did an interview with BuzzFeed in which he discusses the alluring concept of “the multiverse” and how the shows and movies will be separate but inherently tied worlds, as with Ezra Miller portraying The Flash in movies and Grant Gustin donning the red suit for TV.

“We had talked about it previously being distinct,” Johns said, “but I can’t really talk about the films. We haven’t really gone into detail about what that stuff is so I don’t want to get too detailed yet,” adding “You have to have conversations about what’s happening in TV and film between everybody because you don’t want to do the same thing. That’s super, super important.”

With Miller only just announced last week, it’s no wonder there hasn’t been too much set in stone about the character, but DC has no plans to have their shows and movies overlap the way Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and the upcoming “Agent Carter” ties in with their cinematic universe. So even if there is a Justice League Dark movie, don’t expect to see Matt Ryan playing John Constantine in it. 

“‘Arrow’ and ‘Flash’ are the same universe, and we get a lot of great story out of that – especially when we have episodes that cross them over, but that’s also where our superhero universe lives,” Johns explained. “We look at it as the multiverse. We have our TV universe and our film universe, but they all co-exist. For us, creatively, it’s about allowing everyone to make the best possible product, to tell the best story, to do the best world. Everyone has a vision and you really want to let the visions shine through… Maybe one day we’ll link a show to a film if it makes sense, but the creative process we’re going through right now is to let the stuff live and breathe and be its own thing and own it.”

That said, the DC shows are taking a page from the Marvel playbook in teasing characters with a larger plan in mind.

“We’re trying to utilize as many characters as we possibly can,” Johns said, “but there is a conscious effort to explore the DC universe. Like on ‘Constantine,’ we already have Jim Corrigan, we put Dr. Fate’s helmet in the pilot; that wasn’t just a easter egg. I like the term easter egg, but I prefer all our easter eggs actually lead somewhere, that they’re foreshadowing… There might be someone out there who sees Dr. Fate on an episode of ‘Constantine’ and suddenly they love that character and they become a creator later on and tell me they have a great take for a Dr. Fate TV show. That’s what we want to happen. Like, I can’t believe Gorilla Grodd’s gonna be in a ‘Flash’ TV show. That’s insane.”

Finally, Johns discussed the importance of diversity in the DC universe with its programming, including some new female-centric shows on their slate.

“We have ‘Supergirl’ and ‘Lucifer’ in development, and they’re both very different than everything we’re doing now,” promised Johns. “It’s well past time there’s a female superhero out there, both in film and on television, and it’s awesome that we’re on the forefront of that… ‘iZombie’ was like this dark horse than showed up because Susan Rovner [co-president of Warner Horizon Scripted Television] and Rob Thomas had been talking about doing something new and we had been talking to Susan about ‘iZombie,’ and she helped champion that.”