Wally West is giving Barry Allen a run for his money, as he’s poised to stake his own claim to the title of Fastest Man Alive.
When he was first introduced to the “Flash” audience, Wally got his speed fix by racing cars. It was eventually revealed that in the alternate Flashpoint timeline, Wally possesses super-speed and goes by the codename Kid Flash. However, it wasn’t until Wally touched Alchemy’s Philosopher’s Stone in “The Flash’s” main reality that he permanently gained super-powers. Since then, Wally has continually worked to be the same caliber of hero as Barry, but there have been plenty of speed bumps along the way — obstacles Keiynan Lonsdale was more than happy to discuss with CBR.
CBR: The last time we spoke, it was pre-Wally’s super-speed and Kid Flash. Back then, did the producers indicate Wally’s trajectory and that you would become a full-fledged member of Team Flash?
Keiynan Lonsdale: I knew that they had big plans. They had made me aware that they had an exciting future for Wally, so I assumed that meant Kid Flash and powers — but I didn’t expect it to happen so soon. As soon as I got the script for “Flashpoint,” I was completely taken aback, and surprised and excited. It was such a cool way to kick off the season for me. It sort of hinted at what Kid Flash would be.
Wally was a street racer at first, and was envious of Barry and Jesse’s powers. Dr. Alchemy was driving him crazy. Did that slow burn better prepare Wally to be a hero?
It’s important that any superhero is a hero and an advocate for people, with or without powers. That’s where Wally got to, which I thought was awesome. He was willing to risk himself. He was willing to go out and fight to protect other people, and to protect the city before he had super-speed. When you gain powers on top of that, it accentuates the character and who they already are. I was glad to see he already had a strong mindset.
What does it mean for Wally to be Kid Flash?
Wally finally has this full sense of himself. For anyone growing up, you’re trying to figure out your part and where you stand in the world. Wally has had such a confusing life, especially in recent times, where he doesn’t know his own self-identity. He’s always felt something was a little bit off. For him, he knew he was destined for something awesome, but his life didn’t feel that way. Becoming Kid Flash tells him, “Hey, you are a good guy and you are set to do some pretty cool things.”
In what ways is Wally different than Barry or Jesse?
It’s a similar thing when anyone gets these powers, similar to when Barry got them in the beginning. It’s such an exciting and adventuresome time. Wally has so much confidence and really exudes that. He is proud. Wally doesn’t want to hide these powers at all. He’s so into them. He likes the attention. Barry is a little more modest when it comes to that. Wally is down for it. If people want to chant his name or be his fans, he’s totally cool with that.
How did it feel, to finally don that iconic Kid Flash costume?
It was a funny moment. I sort of didn’t have any expression on my face at the time. Maya [Mani], who created the costume – and does the majority, if not all the superhero outfits – she was like, “Everyone has that same face when they realize that they a superhero.” I was like, “Really?” And she’s like, “Yeah.”
I think every kid imagines having powers. We see Superman or Batman and we go, “Whoa. Imagine if one day we could ever be like that.” It’s a strange moment, a surreal moment, when you look in the mirror and you are in this costume. It lifts your posture. You feel strong. You feel proud. It’s a cool thing.
Barry busted Wally’s chops a bit in “Borrowing Problems from the Future.” What’s that dynamic like moving forward?
They’ve been through so much that, for them, they do start to feel like family. Wally knows in the back of his mind that if Barry is upset with him, or angry with him, or hard on him, it’s for a reason. The stakes are high, so it’s a good reminder for Wally, especially when he’s part of this generation where fame can get the better of you. At the same time, Wally is old enough to start knowing himself and knowing his intentions, and also wanting people to believe in him and respect him. That can definitely produce clashes in the future. For the most part, they develop this pretty cool friendship.
“Untouchable” sounds like it takes Wally’s training to the next level. What’s his learning curve like?
As much as Wally is confident, he has a lot of doubts in his abilities. He admires Barry and the Flash so much. There’s a pressure there. He’s constantly feeling the pressure to be great and incredible – and very quickly. That’s tough. When Barry was becoming the Flash, it was just him. Everything was make it up as you go and improvising. Now they know there’s a clear formula. You have to train this way. These are the goals. It’s serious and he has to keep pushing through it.
Which aspect of super-speed would you like to see Wally master?
Time travel would be dope. That would be my choice. My favorite thing about anything science-fiction-related is the learning of new abilities, whether it’s phasing, time travel or the wind tunnels. It’s those moments I always look forward to. It’s an exciting development for any human, but also for the character to realize new abilities. Time travel would be the thing I would be most excited about.
Looking ahead, how much does Iris’ impending doom weigh on Wally’s mind?
An incredible amount. Wally only has Iris, Joe, Barry and the S.T.A.R. Labs team. He’s grown so close to this new family that it’s always such a shock and such a disappointment for him when they are constantly being threatened. With this, it’s not just another threat. It’s, “Well, this is the future, and this is what’s happening.” It’s constantly that thing of not knowing what you can do to help. Even though he now has these powers, can he help? That’s what is weighing on his mind right now.
Images of Wally, Barry and Jesse together have leaked. What can you say about having those speedsters team up?
When you add each one of us, there’s more and more energy, and more and more fun. It’s been so cool to just bounce off of each other. We have to remind ourselves that we are bringing these characters to life in live-action. We forget how exciting it is to so many people. As soon as we’re all in the suits together, it’s a cool moment. Fans will geek out a lot. I know we did.
How crucial is Wally in the upcoming war against Savitar?
He’s extremely crucial. Savitar is the biggest threat that any of them have faced. Fortunately, Barry doesn’t have to do this alone. He’s always had Team Flash. Other people are getting powers. It’s going to take everyone working together to stop him. Wally is super-crucial to that.
“Duet” is one part of the Flash/Supergirl musical crossover. Will viewers get to hear you belt out a tune?
No, I won’t be singing in the musical episode. I would have loved to sing in it, but, Wally has a lot to deal with at the same time. You’ll still see him around. The episode is going to be a lot of fun. I just read it recently. The fans will really enjoy it.
What else can you tease about Wally’s arc this season?
What I can say is since coming back from the Christmas break, it’s been an incredibly emotional ride. I’ve gotten to do some really challenging things for myself as an actor, which has been the best part of it. That obviously means that Wally has a lot to deal with going forward, more so than he’s ever had to deal with.
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