Another speedster is racing towards “The Flash”: Warner Bros. TV has announced that Keiynan Lonsdale (best known as Uriah in the “Divergent” films) will play Wally West on “The Flash,” joining the show as a series regular.
Here’s the official character description: “Keiynan Lonsdale will be joining ‘The Flash’ this winter in the role of Wally West, an iconic character from The Flash Universe who became the speedster known as Kid Flash.” Though that description doesn’t specifically confirm that the Wally West of the TV series will gain superspeed or take on a superhero identity, it certainly floats the possibility — as does the DC Comics art WBTV included with the announcement, showing Wally West as the Flash of the “Futures End” timeline.
“Just like when we met [series lead] Grant [Gustin] for the first time, we instantly knew Keiynan embodied all the heart and courage of a hero,” “The Flash” executive producer Andrew Kreisberg said in a statement. “We are so excited to be bringing this much-beloved character onto the show.”
Wally West was created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, and first seen in 1959’s “The Flash” #110. He became The Flash’s sidekick, Kid Flash, after receiving superspeed powers through a similar lab accident that gave Barry Allen his powers. During the mid-’80s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” storyline, Barry Allen died and Wally West subsequently became the main Flash of the DC Universe — and remained so nearly continuously for about 20 years, until the return of Barry Allen during “Final Crisis.”
A fan-favorite character, Wally West was traditionally depicted as redheaded and Caucasian. When the character returned in 2014 in DC Comics’ reconfigured, post-“Flashpoint” continuity, Wally West was now biracial — half-white, half-Black. The casting of Lonsdale shows that the producers of “The Flash” are using that interpretation of Wally West for the TV series, which is consistent with the show’s casting thus far, as Iris West and her father Joe West are both played by African-American actors (Candice Patton and Jesse L. Martin).
The age of the actors involved does suggest one possible change, as Iris is usually depicted as Wally’s aunt. Patton and Lonsdale are only three-and-a-half years apart, which could mean diverting from that characterization — or, as is always possible with “The Flash,” a twist involving time travel.
Wally West is not the only comic book “Flash” set to join the series in the show’s upcoming season: As announced last month at Comic-Con International in San Diego, Teddy Sears has been cast as Jay Garrick, DC’s original Flash. The same event also first revealed that Wally West would play a part on “The Flash” season two, though no casting was announced until today.
“The Flash” season two is scheduled to debut Oct. 6 on The CW.