Teddy Sears Flash black and white cameo in The Flash


Jay Garrick’s ‘The Flash’ cameo is so bad, fans assumed he was played by AI

The film's editor clarified this week that he played the character's face in a digital composit.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on Jul 20, 2023

The Flash‘s cameo montage is one of the most unpopular scenes in an already-unpopular movie.

Featuring a series of DC characters including Christopher Reeve’s Superman, the scene was criticized both for the quality of its CGI and for the decision to use the likenesses of dead actors.

One cameo earned particular backlash among Flash fans: A vintage black-and-white version of the Flash, Jay Garrick. Fans couldn’t figure out who played him, speculating that it might be Teddy Sears, who portrayed a different Flash on TV. After Sears clarified it wasn’t him, people began to theorize the character was computer-generated.

The most obvious casting choice for Garrick was John Wesley Shipp, who played him on TV. However, this cameo clearly isn’t Shipp, leading fans to wonder why he wasn’t cast. In turn, this overlapped with the backlash around Grant Gustin’s absence from the film.

After nine seasons of portraying the Flash on TV, Gustin seemed like a shoo-in for a movie cameo. Yet the film avoided any TV crossovers, annoying some of the Flash’s most dedicated fans.

The mystery of Jay Garrick’s casting became a sticking point, sparking rumors of Warner Bros. using AI or deepfakes instead of established actors.

Who really played Jay Garrick in The Flash movie

As it turns out, Jay Garrick was played by a human performer. Mostly, at least. In an interview with Frame.io Insider, the film’s editor Jason Ballantine revealed that he played Garrick’s face.

Ballantine describes a conversation between The Flash director Andy Muschietti and other members of the creative team, indicating that Garrick might otherwise have been a “digital character.”

“[Muschietti] wanted [Garrick] as one of the characters and quite large on screen. And then DJ, our visual effects supervisor, said, ‘Well, if we’re going to have a digital character that large on screen, then it would be better to have a real face just to help with the look of the shot.’ And so I stuck my hand up, my arm nearly flew off my shoulder, to volunteer to have an opportunity to have my face stuck on the original Flash.”

So while the character wasn’t computer-generated, he was still a strange casting choice when certain TV actors were available.

To Ballantine, this is clearly just a fun anecdote about receiving a surprise cameo role. But to disgruntled Flash fans, it confirms their complaints about Muschietti’s attitude to the TV franchise. Not to mention his willingness to use CGI instead of living actors.

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*First Published: Jul 20, 2023, 8:53 am CDT