The Flash is one of the most beloved characters from DC comics. Due to the popularity of the character, The Flash has been brought to life several times in movies, TV shows and games. However, only a handful of actors have played the character in live action projects.
The superhero made his live action debut in 1979, and in the decades since, numerous actors have donned this speedster’s iconic red suit. While some of these actors have become virtually synonymous with the character, there are others you may have likely forgotten about. As such, here’s a list of all the actors who have played The Flash in live action projects.
Grant Gustin is one of the most famous actors to take on the role of The Flash, playing the speedster in the CW TV series, The Flash. The show debuted in 2014, with Gustin playing the character for 9 seasons, till 2023. However, prior to The Flash, Gustin debuted as Barry Allen (The Flash’s real identity) on Arrow in 2013. With 10 years under his belt, he is now one of the most popular portrayals of the Scarlet Speedster across media.
The CW show does an excellent job of showing fans different aspects of Barry’s life when he isn’t trying to save the world, which is a refreshing angle for the speedster. Viewers have journeyed with him as he fell in love, started a family, faced tragedies, and of course, fought villains for a decade. Gustin will remain one of the most memorable actors to play The Flash in a live action project.
Ezra Miller first portrayed The Flash in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and has since appeared in a number of projects including 2016’s Suicide Squad, Justice League, and a cameo in the Peacemaker series. Miller then took center stage in 2023’s The Flash. However, their turn at the superhero was mired in controversy, with charges of assault, burglary, disorderly conduct, and grooming minors. While revealing his plan for the DCU’s first chapter, James Gunn addressed Miller’s future as The Flash, revealing that he would be taking a wait-and-see approach.
John Wesley Shipp
While you might recognize John Wesley Shipp as Barry Allen’s father in the CW series The Flash, he was a speedster before stepping into the role of a father. He played Barry Allen in CBS’s The Flash from 1990 to 1991. Although the series was short-lived, the actor has worn the iconic red suit more times than he expected. Shipp has played variations of The Flash from other timelines over the nine seasons of CW’s The Flash. Recently, he also played another version of the Flash in the DC series Stargirl during a flashback episode.
In 1979, Rod Haase became the first actor to portray The Flash in Live Action. The actor played the speedster in Legends of the Superheroes, which saw Adam West and Burt Ward reprising their iconic roles as Batman and Robin. While not the most referenced portrayal of The Flash, Haase definitely set the path that is now treaded whenever an actor portrays the hero.
Kenny Johnston played Barry Allen in the 1997 Justice League of America. Although shot as a pilot for CBS, it was never picked up and instead released as a movie. Alongside The Flash, the movie featured other heroes such as Green Lantern, Ice, The Atom, Fire, and Martian Manhunter. Justice League of America was critically panned; as such, it is understandable why the pilot did not get a series order from CBS.
Stephen Amell is a Canadian actor known for his role as Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) in the CW series Arrow. In season 5 of The Flash, Barry and Oliver wake up to find they’ve switched bodies but nobody on their team believes them. That’s when they decide to go to Earth 38 to get help from Supergirl (Melissa Benoist). While the situation eventually gets sorted out, it was exciting seeing Amell wear The Flash’s red suit, even just for a little while.
All the live-action iterations of The Flash have certainly been interesting in their own ways. They each contributed something different to the speedster’s enduring legacy. It will be interesting to see what’s next for the superhero on both the big and small screens.
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