How Flash's Speed Force Works (And What It Means For The 'Flashpoint' Movie)
That loud rumble you heard Sunday night was people across the world roaring in excitement when "Flash enters the Speed Force" from Zack Snyder's Justice League won "Most Cheer-Worthy Movie Moment Ever" at the Academy Awards, which we already knew it would because obviously we all voted for it (it totally wasn't the same 25 Snyder fans over and over). It was the highlight of the evening. One thing, though: what the hell is the "Speed Force"? How does one enter a force? Could it be responsible for the release date for Ezra Miller's Flash movie traveling in time from 2021 to 2022 to 2023? If you're a Flash fan and you have no idea what this all means, don't feel bad, because not even some of the people writing his TV show seem to know.
The name "Speed Force" started as kind of a joke. In a 1994 issue of his comic, Flash runs so fast that he gets stuck in a moment, and now he can't get out of it. An older super-fast hero called Max Mercury shows up to help Flash get himself together and resume the normal flow of time, which he must do by connecting to an "energy-force" all speedsters get their powers from.
Flash sarcastically calls him "Yoda" and says he doesn't believe in a "Speed Force" ... but, of course, all that mumbo jumbo turns out to be true and plays a big role in the Flash's future (literally, since he uses that power to travel in time). It also provided a convenient explanation for why Flash shoots lightning bolts from his body as he runs: it's because he's tapping into a higher plane of existence all speedsters go to when they die, you see, not because it just looks cool.
Flash briefly called this place the "Speed Field," but in the end, "Force" was the term that stuck -- which its creator, writer Mark Waid, always regretted, because he admits it's not a very "unique name" (at least he didn't explain it via Speed Midi-chlorians). So it's kind of funny that this throwaway name ended up being said out loud in like 50 episodes of a TV show, displayed an Academy Awards ceremony, and will no doubt play a big role in the upcoming movie.
We already know the film will be based on the Flashpoint DC Comics series, in which Flash travels back in time to prevent his mother's murder but ends up royally screwing up the timeline. Given that movie Flash has already tapped into the Speed Force in Justice League, that seems like the most likely explanation for his time traveling (as opposed to, say, running into a hot tub that's also a time machine). We also know for a fact that Miller's Flash will meet other versions of himself, perhaps even his TV counterpart, as seen in the CW's Crisis on Infinite Earths event. Thanks to the loose pseudo-scientific magic of the Speed Force acting as connective tissue between realities, we might see the same scene from below again, this time from another perspective and with even more muted colors.
In other words, we might get an entire film of Flash entering the Speed Force. Hope you can even hear the movie over the sound of everyone constantly cheering.
Top image: Warner Bros. Pictures