Perhaps appropriately for DC Comics scarlet speedster, news that The CW would launch a TV series based on “The Flash” made the rounds fast when it came out at earlier this month at the annual Television Critics Association gathering. But the 2015-season spinoff will starts its run this year on The CW’s current DC Entertainment hit “Arrow” where Barry Allen will appear in three episodes across that drama’s second season.
The move is brand new territory and somehow a full circle return for both the Flash as a character and for “Arrow” show runner Marc Guggenheim. Longtime fans may recall that “The Flash” took to network TV once before for a one season run on CBS in 1990. That series was created by “The Rocketeer” producers Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo who returned to the world of the character in 2006 for a run on the DC comic “The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive.” The final issues of that series served as one of Guggenheim’s earliest DC writing gigs where he brought Bart Allen back onto the page after a long absence, making this new “Arrow” spinoff a roundabout return.
“I feel like I’m just following Bilson and DeMeo. Whatever they do, I seem to follow in their footsteps,” Guggenheim laughed. The writer told CBR that from comics to TV, the goal of the “Arrow” production team is to expand out the DC Universe while keeping the tone and feel of their show its own unique story platform.
“Honestly, I’m just excited to help be a part of expanding the DC Universe,” he said. “I think one of the big thing that appeals to me about comics in general is the idea of the shared universe. It’s a lot of fun to be able to do that in television, and growing up one of the things I enjoyed was the ‘Six Million Dollar Man’ and ‘The Bionic Woman’ and the way those two shows would interact with each other. We’re at least a season away from ‘Arrow’ interacting with ‘The Flash,” but the potential for that is really exciting for me.”
Though The CW has gotten into the spinoff game before with their upcoming “Vampire Diaries” spinoff “The Originals,” the act of transporting a comic universe fully to live action TV with multiple franchises is new territory the “Arrow” team doesn’t take lightly. “I think it is a little bit unique. I don’t think we planned it,” Guggenheim explained. “But at the same time, quite frankly, we didn’t plan to expand the DC Universe so much in the first season of ‘Arrow.’ For example, Greg [Berlanti], Andrew [Kreisberg] and myself never said ‘In the first season of this show, we’re going to introduce the Huntress and Deathstroke.’ We really didn’t have that plan. We were hoping to one day get to those characters, but we never thought it’d happen as quickly as it did.”
Kreisberg, who serves as Guggenheim’s show running partner on “Arrow,” will develop Barry Allen’s character in writing each of those three episodes this season on “Arrow,” and Guggenheim said that is all part of a masterplan that stretches back before their recent run of announcements. “Andrew is taking the lead on ‘The Flash.’ This has been in the works for a while and had been in the works since before Comic-Con. But we made the decision, as these things are announced in a rollout, to take a strategy where we’d announce Black Canary, Bronze Tiger and Brother Blood at Comic-Con. We felt like, ‘That’s a lot for Comic-Con. Let’s save something back for when T.C.A. comes around.’ I want to disabuse anyone of the notion that we decided to do Flash after Comic-Con. We’re just capable of keeping secrets every now and again.”
And overall, the writer wanted to stress that an additional superhero -Â and one with some more super powers -Â won’t change the core of what “Arrow” is. In fact, Guggenheim leaned on a comparison with DC’s main competitor to explain how each series will develop over time. “I think a lot of people are justified in asking ‘What does this mean for Arrow in terms of its tone?’ And my answer is that the trick that we have -Â and this is a challenge we’ve discusses a lot and have an awareness of how to face it head on -Â is the fact that ‘Arrow’ is like ‘Iron Man’ where ‘The Flash’ will be ‘The Hulk.’ And just as ‘The Hulk’ coming out did not change the tone of the Iron Man movies, ‘The Flash’ will not change the tone of ‘Arrow.’ We’re very cognizant of what ‘Arrow’ is all about, and I think the Marvel movies demonstrate that each piece of a universe can have its own feel. ‘Thor’ is consistent with the tone of Thor while ‘Captain America’ is consistent with the tone of Captain America’s character. ‘Arrow’s’ tone will remain consistent much in the same way, and we are looking forward to expanding our canvass a bit. And judging from the announcement, I think the fans are looking forward to it as well.”
“Arrow’s” second season debuts October 9 on The CW.