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The Flash’s Panabaker on Caitlin’s Chilly Transformation into Killer Frost

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The Flash’s Panabaker on Caitlin’s Chilly Transformation into Killer Frost

Not everyone in Central City wants superpowers, and a founding member of Team Flash is among that number.

Ever since the discovery of Earth-2 exposed the Flash and his friends to a number of their evil doppelgängers, Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) has been tormented by the possibility that she could transform into the cold-hearted Killer Frost.

RELATED: Arrowverse Crossover Will Reveal New Information About Flash’s Future

After Barry accidentally created the alternate Flashpoint universe, Caitlin began to demonstrate icy abilities, much to her dismay. Rather than receding or becoming more controllable, her powers have continued to grow. Now, Caitlin is terrified her worst fears are coming true.

Ahead of tonight’s episode, “Killer Frost,” Panabaker spoke with CBR about Caitlin’s mutation into the titular character, what it means for Team Flash, and her experiences working with director Kevin Smith. Looking beyond this chapter of her character’s development, Panabaker discussed the CW superhero crossover event, and “The Flash” musical episode.

CBR: When you learned that Barry would be creating this alternate Flashpoint universe, what did that mean to you? How much did the producers clue you in on how it would impact Caitlin?

Danielle Panabaker: Initially, not a whole lot, because I think they were still sort of working it out themselves. One of the great things about this job is there are so many twists and turns. Yes, I play a doctor on a television show, but Caitlin doesn’t always just show up and deliver medical jargon. There’s so much more to her. It’s such a joy to be on a show where I’m excited to read the script each week to see what new challenge they are coming up with.

Caitlin had been harboring this secret about her growing powers. What’s been going through her head as she slowly transforms into Killer Frost?

I think Caitlin is really struggling right now. I think she’s confused and I think she’s scared. Obviously, she met Earth-2’s Killer Frost last season, so she’s terrified that’s her future. Hence, her hesitancy in telling Team Flash. She’s afraid she’s going to have to leave them all to protect them. Those people have certainly become her family, particularly in the loss of her own dad and the absence of her mother. She’s afraid of what could happen and scared and upset. I think there is a bit of anger in there because she didn’t ask for this.

Cisco spilled the beans to the team about Caitlin’s development. It seemed everyone supported her and she was okay with them knowing. So, what sets Caitlin off in tonight’s episode?

I don’t think Caitlin set down this path intentionally. In tonight’s episode, she’s trying to use her powers and trying to be out there and hang out with the big guys. Maybe she’s not quite prepared for that. You’ve seen all the speedsters go through a fair amount of training. Caitlin probably needs some guidance herself.

How much does Caitlin blame Barry for her predicament?

That’s an interesting question. I don’t know if Caitlin Snow walks around every day with anger in her heart. I do think that she is aware of what Barry did and how that affected her life. In her darker moments, she is angry and mad at him. That prompts her to have some bad behavior.

The teaser trailer showcases a few battles. What can viewers expect from Killer Frost’s rumble with Vibe?

The Vibe you saw in last week’s episode is not necessarily going to be a part of this week’s episode. I think that Vibe is actually going to be much further into the future. In terms of her rumble with Cisco/Vibe in episode 7, Cisco is trying to help her. He hates to see his friend in pain; he’s come to help, and she’s not exactly open to it.

Cisco gained superpowers and doesn’t seem the least concerned about turning into his villainous Earth-2 counterpart. Why can’t Caitlin embrace them and pitch in with Team Flash?

Caitlin is a different person. She does have a colder side that has been so hurt by her mother, and again more recently by Zoom, or Hunter Zolomon, or Jay Garrick – or whatever version of him that he actually was. It’s that thing of, what we resist, persists. She is scared that this is going to happen to her, whether it’s rational or not. I think being in captivity with Earth-2’s Killer Frost has affected her as well. Zoom also told her at the end of the last season that there was darkness inside of her. That has stuck with Caitlin.

You were disappointed you didn’t get to spend much time with director Kevin Smith for his episode last season. What was it like working with him this time around and how did Kevin help out with your performance?

It was fantastic. It was truly a dream come true. He is so passionate about his storytelling. He comes to set every day dedicated to making the best show possible, and is an inspiration for the rest of the crew and to the actors. Being an incredible storyteller, and also a fantastic writer, Kevin is great at finessing some of the dialogue on the day, just to make it as cohesive and as powerful of a story as possible.

Looking ahead, how much fun was filming the massive crossover next week, and where does Caitlin fit in?

It was so amazing to film the crossover. I was so impressed they were able to pull it off. It was a treat to see everyone from all the various shows. Caitlin is still struggling in the crossover episode. She’s not really sure where her place is or how to contribute, especially looking around at all these experienced superheroes. She turns to an old friend for some help and guidance.

What else can you tease about Caitlin’s trajectory this season?

We are filming episode 12 right now. I don’t know much beyond 13 and 14. I’m excited to what the rest of the season holds for Caitlin. This is the story I’ve wanted to tell since I joined the show. I’m in no rush to tell it quickly. I’m excited to get to see her journey.

It sounds like a slow burn instead of fixing everything in one hour.

Yes, it’s not like everything is tied up in a pretty little bow at the end of the episode. It’s a process.

Caitlin and Barry belted out some karaoke tunes at one point. What kind of presence are you hoping to have in the musical episode?

I don’t know. I don’t think any of my bosses were particularly impressed by my singing abilities. I’m not sure that’s in the cards. I had asked Carlos [Valdes], who is an incredible musician, “Carlos, will you teach me how to sing?” And he looked at me and said, “Ugh, that would take too much time.” So I’m not sure that’s in the cards for Caitlin.

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