Back in The CW’s pilot for The Flash, after the particle accelerator explosion partially destroyed S.T.A.R. Labs and infested Central City with a legion of metahumans, we caught a quick glimpse of a cage, the door torn off its hinges, with a name plaque that read Grodd. At first, it looked like nothing but a tease. The Flash was only just getting started, after all, and had barely found its footing. In fact, with sister series Arrow going into its third season at the time, and Barry Allen only just stepping over the starting line, there wasn’t much room for the more outlandish aspects of the comic books both shows hailed from. Yet.
Fast forward a few years and now, the world of the Flash and Arrow television shows — aka the Arrowverse — is bigger than ever, with a quantity of shows that has doubled with Supergirl and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and a real who’s who line-up of superheroes that could rival any comic book on the stands. With Legends now entering its third season, the show’s producers have revealed that Gorilla Grodd will appear as a villain in the time-traveling ensemble team-up show, an announcement that was met with approval and cheers from the audience who first heard it at Comic-Con International. This just goes to illustrate how important the character is to the Arrowverse and its fans, and how much popularity he has gained since his first appearance.
Back in the early days of The Flash, we didn’t know how far the series would dig into the comic book mythology, how far it would go to incorporate speedster characters and colorful Flash villains. Back then, the hero’s dark red suit didn’t even have its iconic lightning emblem, and Weather Wizard didn’t have a wand. It was a simpler time, filled with questions, hopes and Easter eggs, like the Grodd tease. Every Flash comic book reader got excited when they saw this name appear on a cage, but then reality and practicality quickly kicked in, forcing us to question how a gigantic gorilla could be brought to life on a television budget. Some theorized a puppet costume, others hoped for the technology from the recent Planet of the Apes film series, yet both possibilities were preposterous to consider. Most people just assumed that this was nothing more than a nod to fans, something that could never be realistically be followed-up on.
All of that changed by the time The Flash came back from its first winter break. It was in the end-credits stinger of its 12th episode, “Crazy For You.” In that scene, we saw two maintenance workers in the sewers who discovered etchings in the stone that read “Grodd.” And if that weren’t enough, the men then found themselves at the mercy of a hulking beast hunting from the shadows in a scene that would have felt at home in Jurassic Park. This was our first sign that the powers that be, those in charge of the Arrowverse, would not back down from a mere tease, nor would they back down from such a daunting and furry challenge.
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