Barry Allen will have his first solo movie in the upcoming film The Flash, but Ezra Miller’s iteration is hardly the first live-action version of the Scarlet Speedster. The Flash has been a major DC Comics superhero since the Golden Age of comic books. Barry Allen and other iterations of The Flash have appeared in numerous live-action adaptations, making the hero one of DC’s most popular characters outside of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.

Fascinatingly, Barry Allen’s introduction set DC Comics on a course toward a plethora of reboots and multiversal storytelling. Allen’s debut acknowledges Jay Garrick, prompting DC to later explain that the two heroes are each The Flash of their respective realities. Moreover, Barry Allen’s powers (later explained as a connection to a cosmic energy force known as the Speed Force) allow him to travel through time and into other realities, further popularizing the concept of the multiverse. Throughout their many film and TV appearances, Barry Allen and other The Flash titleholders have been depicted by numerous actors. Here is every actor to play The Flash in a live-action property.

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8 Rod Haase

Rod Haase as The Flash in Legends of the Superheroes.

The Barry Allen iteration of The Flash made his live-action debut in 1979’s Legends of the Superheroes, a two-part television special that included the return of Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin, respectively. Portrayed by Rod Haase, The Flash appears in both parts, though his role, like that of all the other superheroes, is played for laughs. While the 60s Batman TV series was intentionally campy and a loving self-parody, Legends of the Superheroes was a comedy variety show, complete with a laugh track. That said, just as Batman’s next live-action iteration was considerably darker, so too was Barry Allen’s.

7 John Wesley Shipp

John Wesley Shipp in The Flash (1990 CBS TV series)

1990’s The Flash saw the introduction of a far more serious depiction of Barry Allen and his heroic alter ego, played by John Wesley Shipp. The series took a hefty amount of inspiration from 1989’s Batman, giving the series a darker and grittier aesthetic than the comic source material, but Barry Allen, his supporting cast, and the tone of the show itself were earnest and relatively naturalistic, earning it a loyal fan following. The show’s run was brief, but John Wesley Shipp returned to The Flash property as Henry Allen and Jay Garrick in the Arrowverse before eventually reprising his role as Barry Allen from the 1990 show, which was retconned into a separate reality in DC's live-action multiverse.

6 Kenny Johnston

Kenny Johnston as The Flash in Justice League of America.

While the 1990 The Flash TV series ended early, despite its positive reception, the 1997 film Justice League of America was sharply criticized. The film was intended to serve as a pilot episode to a live-action TV series, but its poor reception likely resulted in the project never coming to pass. The film includes a new version of Barry Allen, though his iteration of The Flash has more in common with his successor in the comics (and former sidekick) Wally West. The film’s villain, Weatherman, appears to be loosely based on the classic Flash villain Weather Wizard.

5 Kyle Gallner

Bart Allen meets Clark Kent for the first time in Smallville

The Superman prequel TV show Smallville introduces a unique new version of The Flash in its take on Bart Allen, played by Kyle Gallner. Despite sharing the name of Barry Allen’s descendent in the comics (who typically goes by the superhero moniker Impulse), Smallville’s Bart Allen is established as having used the names Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, and Wally West as aliases. Moreover, while Bart Allen is billed as The Flash in Smallville’s marketing, he initially lacks a superhero title until he eventually adopts Impulse as his codename. Notably, Smallville also depicts Allen as being far faster than Superman.

4 Billy Mitchell

Billy Mitchell as Jay Garrick in Smallville.

Although Smallville’s iteration of Bart Allen uses Jay Garrick as an alias, the show depicts the “real” Jay Garrick as a former superhero played by Billy Mitchell, giving the original iteration of The Flash his live-action debut. Garrick, like his Justice Society of America teammates, is retired after being framed for a crime he did not commit, forcing him to publicly reveal his secret identity. While Mitchell’s iteration of Garrick has few appearances in the Smallville TV series, he plays a much larger role in the TV show’s comic book continuation, Smallville Season 11.

3 Grant Gustin

grant gustin as the flash on the cw

By far one of the most successful interpretations of The Flash is the Arrowverse’s Grant Gustin's Barry Allen. Gustin’s version of Allen first appeared in Arrow but soon starred in his own TV series, The Flash, which lasted for nine seasons. 2014’s The Flash embraces its comic source material, adapting The Flash’s iconic rogue’s gallery and giving Allen’s time travel and multiversal abilities a prominent role in the series. The series has been critically well-received, and it has helped the Arrowverse expand to encompass other DC properties in its live-action multiverse, leading to a live-action adaptation of Crisis on Infinite Earths.

2 Keiynan Lonsdale

Wally West as Kid Flash in a promo photo for The Flash

2014’s The Flash introduced numerous classic DC Comics characters, including Barry Allen’s sidekick, Wally West, played by Keiynan Lonsdale. Like his comic counterpart, Lonsdale’s version of Wally West is initially known as Kid Flash. But in contrast to the DC Comics hero, Wally never becomes the true Flash and never evolves beyond his Kid Flash identity. An alternate timeline introduced in the Arrowverse’s Flashpoint arc, however, includes a new version of Keiynan Lonsdale’s Wally West, who actually became The Flash instead of Barry Allen.

1 Ezra Miller

The Flash Ezra Miller Speed Zack Snyder Justice League

The Barry Allen iteration of The Flash made his theatrical debut in the DCEU’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, played by Ezra Miller. While Miller’s role is only a cameo in Dawn of Justice, he later stars in 2017’s Justice League and its director’s cut, Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Like his Arrowverse counterpart, Ezra Miller's Barry Allen can travel through time and across the multiverse, with Miller briefly meeting Gustin's character in the Crisis on Infinite Earths TV event. Miller will reprise his role as Barry Allen in the upcoming The Flash, which will be the first Flash solo movie.

2023’s The Flash will be a loose adaptation of Geoff Johns’ Flashpoint comic, and it will end the DCEU universe to make way for James Gunn and Peter Safran’s DCU film franchise. According to Gunn, elements of the old DCEU will remain in the new DCU, including characters like John Cena’s Peacemaker and Viola Davis’s Amanda Waller, with only the DCEU’s Batman and Superman confirmed to be recast and reimagined. The future of Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen is therefore unknown, with the actor’s recent controversies and the potential success of 2023’s The Flash possibly influencing a decision to keep or recast him.

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