SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers from recent episodes of “The Flash.”
In case you hadn’t realized it, executive producer Andrew Kreisberg wants you to know that “The Flash” is a show that’s been all about time travel since the very beginning. Because of that, the characters are about to face some very big — and disconcerting — reveals about their potential futures.
While visiting WonderCon, Kreisberg sat down for a roundtable interview with CBR News and several other media outlets to tease out even more info about The CW’s hit superhero series, including the destinies that will soon be laid out before Barry Allen and his inner circle, the possibility — or not — of the existence of parallel worlds, what the cast members from the 1990s “Flash” series have brought into play and even a few hints about how the much-anticipated spinoff series — which will feature Captain Cold and Heat Wave among others — will be set up via “The Flash” and its sister series “Arrow.”
“The Flash” has been such a roller coaster ride, especially in the back half of the season. You guys have added elements like time travel and into the mix, increasing the opportunities for storytelling. Can you talk about how that will continue?
Yeah, just whenever we do something like that or unveil it, we just feel like it’s time. And time travel has always been part of the fabric of the show, from the very first episode when you saw that newspaper, so we don’t feel like it was suddenly like, “Oh, we decided to do time travel.” Whether or not people realized it, this whole show is about time travel and it was just that point in the season where it was time to start giving some of those answers. And it’s been fun.
Andrew Kreisberg: I think the biggest thing with Barry is not sort of taking him to full Flash-mode yet. Again, whether people realize it or not, they’re not watching “The Flash” — they’re really watching “The Flash Begins.” So it’s always been this measure-by-measure [process]: him learning his powers; and the ability to time travel, that was an accident; and the phasing thing, he literally had to be talked into. There was no guarantee he could do it again and it would work, so it will be fun to see just as he’s taking these baby steps, how much of it he really is able to hold onto and master.
And the parallel world concept seems the next logical step.
It does, possibly. So many characters and actors have been brought over from the original “Flash” TV show from 1990 at this point. Might we one day see a world with Barry’s dad was The Flash?
I don’t know. At what point do you get so meta that the whole thing collapses? I mean look, we’re always open to anything and everything. I don’t want to sit here and say never and then two years later going, “A-ha, yeah.” But we definitely have plans, and everyone who, from the old show, who’s been on for us, it really has been a dream. And none of them have — if it was just a gimmick or like a wink and a nod to the past, I don’t think any of them would work.
And John Wesley Shipp was just such an amazing actor. And Barry’s father, it’s a pivotal, important role, and you’ve seen the emotion that that’s played out of it. My favorite scenes throughout the season have been those scenes between John and Grant [Gustin], especially that scene at the end of episode twelve where John just as much told Grant that he knew he was the Flash without actually saying it. And that wouldn’t have worked if John was just some bad actor who was on a bad show from 20 years ago.
And getting Amanda [Pays] back, we wanted somebody to be a really smart scientist who knew Wells and nobody reels off that gobbledygook better than Amanda in that beautiful British voice. And then, obviously, getting Mark Hamill, it was a way to connect the shows, but it was also — we don’t have that kind of villain on the show. We’ve got a lot of very sort of… you imagine a room where Captain Cold and the Weather Wizard and the Mist are all talking, it’s like they’re all tough guys. And we wanted to add a villain who was different and who was crazy and did bring a little of that flavor of the Joker into this world.
So again, as much as winks and nods to the past make us happy as fanboys, at the same time I think every one of those choices helped elevate the show.
A couple of the Rogues — Captain Cold and Heat Wave — are planned to appear in the pending spinoff series. Does that factor into the “Flash” storyline as planned?
Yes, entirely. I think what you’ll see on both shows is we’ll be building up to the spinoff. As much as “Flash” and “Arrow” are connected, “Flash” and “Arrow” and the new show are going to be interconnected, so you’ll be seeing the evolution of some of these characters. And obviously, that was part of the decision to have Snart find out Barry’s identity, because we knew the trajectory that those characters would be going on and how they’d be playing off of each other. And there’s some great scenes coming up between Wentworth [Miller] and Grant [Gustin] in episode 22 which is further evidence of Snart’s changing character and where we’ll find him in the new show.
I feel that “Arrow” takes tonal inspiration from Batman. Would you say that “The Flash” is inspired by the Superman movies?
Yeah, we definitely talk a little bit more about the [Richard] Donner “Superman.” It is sort of a little bit hopeful and certainly has a lot more humor to it. And the one thing that Donner’s Superman did really well was [that it was] sort of grounded in the real world, and we certainly looked to those [movies]. “The Flash” is sort of a hodgepodge of a lot of different things, much more so than “Arrow” which is we decided to apply that “Dark Knight Returns,” “[Batman:] Year One,” Chris Nolan aesthetic to that show.
And “Flash” really — a lot of the things that we talked about were “The Right Stuff,” “Searching for Bobby Fischer.” It was almost like it was less super hero things that sort of went into it in an odd kind of way. We talked about “Real Genius” a lot, which is a movie that we all loved when we were younger, and that sort of idea of really smart people and being able to write really smart people bouncing off of each other, so this sort of super hero origins, it was sort of less in that. And then obviously, the original “Flash” show.
Recently we see Barry go into the past accidentally. In the present we have so many heroes that have popped out of the woodwork. If Barry ever goes to the future, will we see even more heroes than we have in the present?
Well, we don’t have any trips to the future planned per se, but there’s a lot of — what will be cool in the last half of the year is you’re going to hear a lot about the future, and you’re going to hear about certain people’s futures. And I think that in a way is more interesting than going to the future because then it becomes a question of, “Well, is it true? Is this person telling you the truth?” And if they are telling you the truth, can you do anything to change it?
So a lot of the characters are going to hear about where they end up, and a lot of these last five or six episodes are going to be about whether or not you’re going accept that or you’re going to fight against it. And I think that, for us, is the more interesting drama than going to the future and seeing flying cars.
With the Harrison Wells that we’ve seen up until now, we’ve seen convincing goodness in him. Is that a residual of the real Harrison Wells, or is that all an act by the Reverse-Flash, Eobard Thawne?
That is an excellent question… my answer to that is, you obviously saw what happened that night, but how that affected both Thawne and Wells will be answered throughout the course of the season.
Can you say how far ahead you think in terms of loose plot — for example, Wells referencing this “Crisis?”
Some of that stuff is undetermined. No matter what show we do, whether it’s been “Arrow,” it’s been “Flash,” or even “Supergirl” and the new show, we always have a plan. That’s the best way we know how to operate, so when we’re designing the pilot, I think a lot of times these people design pilots and then go, “Well, now what are we going to do?” And if you’re watching “Flash,” you certainly, hopefully, see that a lot of what’s paying off was set up in the pilot.
It’s not the sort of retroactive thing where we went backwards and said, “Now, what are we going to do?” And we try to do that every year on “Arrow,” so there are things in there that are going to happen in season three that we knew if we were ever lucky enough to get this far, we would get to pay some of that stuff off. So we’re fans of the plan, but there’s also room for interpretation. Some of that stuff that you mentioned, we actually have ideas for. And even when we have ideas for things, things change along the way.
“The Flash” returns with an all-new episode on April 14 on the CW.
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