When Warner Bros. surprised Comic Con International: San Diego fans with news its upcoming Flash film would be titled The Flash: Flashpoint, comic book readers understood the deep potential of that name.
And when Jeffrey Dean Morgan shared photos on Twitter and Instagram that hinted he might be part of the project - playing Thomas Wayne again, but this time in a costume as Batman - the message seemed loud and clear.
Flashpoint was the much-hyped, five-issue crossover event in 2011 where Barry Allen (as the Flash) traveled back in time to prevent the Reverse-Flash from killing his mother, but accidentally created a dangerously altered timeline. When he tried to fix the timeline, what resulted as a reboot of the entire comic book DCU into "New 52".
At the very least, a Flashpoint film (with the comic book's writer Geoff Johns producing, no less) means Barry Allen will be time-traveling, and the villain will be the Reverse-Flash.
But knowing the story of the comic book, it opens up a lot of other interesting possibilities...
Could the Flashpoint film greatly alter the entire DCEU?
The Flashpoint comic book event in 2011, which was created by DC movie executive Geoff Johns and artist Andy Kubert, gave birth to the "New 52," a revamped universe that changed most of DC's comic book characters into younger, less-experienced versions. It even led the publisher to re-tell the origin of the now-brand-new Justice League.
In fact, the "New 52" universe is still the current continuity in comic books, although there have been recent alterations.
In effect, Flashpoint enabled DC to start over with many of its characters, or at least make changes to them as the company saw fit.
And it could do the same for the cinematic universe.
The Flashpoint concept also allows for the "cherry-picking" of concepts that need tweaking while keeping the ones that don't. For example, an altered Flashpoint timeline could leave most of Wonder Woman's continuity alone, since that film was so successful, but could revamp the characters around her as needed, perhaps making the entire Justice League younger - or even unknown to each other.
And Flashpoint is not untested on mainstream audiences - it's been done twice, in fact.
In the CW television show The Flash, the main character went back in time and accidentally altered the timeline, creating what he called a "flashpoint." When Barry Allen arrived there from the past, characters had died, and others had changed. Yet the current TV continuity still exists in the altered "Flashpoint" universe. And TV audiences understood the concept and, presumedly, accepted it as the show's new reality.
And in 2013, Warner Bros. Animation adapted Flashpoint as the movie Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. While it didn't connect to the other DC animated projects or any larger continuity, it streamlined the story to focus more on the Flash - something the The Flash: Flashpoint live-action movie would, assumedly, do as well.
So if Warner wants to make changes to its cinematic universe, this would be an opportune time to do it.
With reports already circulating about Warner Bros. wanting to "gracefully" replace Ben Affleck as Batman (although the actor combated those at SDCC), The Flash: Flashpoint could offer an in-story reason for Batman to change. And even if the actor didn't change, it would open the door for a new approach on the character.
In the comic book version of Flashpoint, Barry Allen's changed timeline caused Bruce Wayne to be the one who was shot in Crime Alley, while his parents were spared. Thomas Wayne lived and became so obsessed with his son's shooting that he became Batman. Without his son alive, he donned the cowl and became a much more brutal version of the Caped Crusader (with less of an aversion to killing). Instead of being the generous doctor from Bruce's childhood, the Flashpoint version of Thomas Wayne ran Wayne Casinos to fund his activities as brutal Batman.
The Flashpoint version of Martha Wayne, on the other hand, had become so broken by the loss of her son that she became the Joker of the Flashpoint universe.
As soon as Warner Bros. made their Flashpoint announcement, Jeffrey Dean Morgan tweeted a photo of him and his Walking Dead co-star Lauren Cohan together. The two played Thomas and Martha Wayne in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The implication was enforced soon after, when Morgan also posted unattributed fanart of Thomas Wayne and Martha Kent from Flashpoint on his Instagram.
What does that mean, exactly?
It means there's a good chance fans could see Morgan in a Batman suit.
And although it seems doubtful that Warner would put the Joker into a Flash movie, it's at least likely that Cohan would have a juicy role, whether she's wearing clown make-up or not. (But really, how doubtful is Joker in a Flash movie? He debuted in a Suicide Squad movie, afterall).
But perhaps most importantly, what it means is that after Barry "fixes" things to put the world back the way it was - a timeline which once again has Thomas dying and Bruce in the Batman suit - that version of Batman could be different.
It could retcon the Batman corner of the DCEU, allowing Johns and cohorts to tweak what was done with the character in the past. Another actor, another version of the costume, or even a completely different approach to the Caped Crusader.
DC Civil War
Another element of the Flashpoint comic book event that could be utilized for film is a war between Wonder Woman's Themyscira and Aquaman's Atlantis.
In fact, the war was the story element that provided the clearest justification for Barry change back the timeline - the war had caused millions of deaths and was on the verge of causing many more as other countries entered the fray.
While it may seem questionable that a Flash film would depict a planet-wide war between superheroes, it's not exactly unprecedented. Marvel packed a slew of costumed heroes into Captain America: Civil War, even though it was Cap's movie.
And the company has a hot property on its hands with Wonder Woman and her island sisters, one that could help drive fans to the theater to see a Flash film. Plus it would provide another vehicle for the Aquaman franchise to be showcased as the hero fights beside his fellow Atlanteans, assuming the company has confidence in the upcoming Aquaman.
The special effects of an Aquaman-Wonder Woman war could be dazzling. And they could help make the film version of The Flash a much bigger spectacle than what would be expected from a speedster movie. (And, quite frankly, would differentiate the property from the already successful TV version of The Flash.)
Other characters from the DCU played key roles in the comic book version of Flashpoint as well. For example, Cyborg was the world's best known hero, pretty much taking the place of Superman (who had been imprisoned by the government since childhood).
With little news of Warner's Cyborg film announced back in 2014 for 2020, Flashpoint might provide an opportunity to showcase that character before risking a whole movie on the hero.
But the possibilities are practically endless. With the DCEU being pretty well established by the time The Flash: Flashpoint would be released, any variety of already known characters could cameo in the film, but it could also introduce new ones.
Plus, the heroes do plenty of fighting against each other in the comic book version of Flashpoint. Fans wouldn't mind seeing something similar in film - giving the DCEU its own version of Civil War.
Such a multi-hero battle would give Warner the opportunity to effectively release another Justice League movie, this time with the Flash getting the spotlight, but still allowing the company to move its entire franchise forward.