"Given his history with The Flash, Andrew [Kreisberg], Geoff [Johns] and I could only think of one person we wanted to play Barry's father and that was John Wesley Shipp," "Flash" executive producer Greg Berlanti said in a statement. "He gives a fantastic and emotional performance in the pilot and we are looking forward to his presence in many more episodes. Also, personally, it was just wonderful to work with him again since my days at 'Dawson's Creek'. He's a great actor and a great guy."
While not previously disclosed, Shipp's role was heavily hinted at the extended trailer released by The CW following the show's series order earlier this month, with the actor visible in a Allen family photo.
The casting is a clear nod to Shipp's role as DC Comics superhero Barry Allen/The Flash on the previous "The Flash" TV series, which ran on CBS from 1990 to 1991. It also sets Shipp up for a significant role in the series, as one of the show's central mysteries is centered on Barry's mother being murdered under unexplained circumstances, and his father being falsely convicted of the crime. The show's full official description follows:
Barry Allen was just 11 years old when his mother was killed in a bizarre and terrifying incident and his father was falsely convicted of the murder. With his life changed forever by the tragedy, Barry was taken in and raised by Detective Joe West, the father of Barry's best friend, Iris. Now, Barry has become a brilliant, driven and endearingly geeky CSI investigator, whose determination to uncover the truth about his mother's strange death leads him to follow up on every unexplained urban legend and scientific advancement that comes along. Barry's latest obsession is a cutting edge particle accelerator, created by visionary physicist Harrison Wells and his S.T.A.R. Labs team, who claim that this invention will bring about unimaginable advancements in power and medicine. However, something goes horribly wrong during the public unveiling, and when the devastating explosion causes a freak storm, many lives are lost and Barry is struck by lightning. After nine months in a coma, Barry awakens to find his life has changed once again - the accident has given him the power of super speed, granting him the ability to move through Central City like an unseen guardian angel. Though initially excited by his newfound powers, Barry is shocked to discover he is not the only "meta-human" who was created in the wake of the accelerator explosion - and not everyone is using their new powers for good. In the months since the accident, the city has seen a sharp increase in missing people, unexplained deaths and other strange phenomena. Barry now has a renewed purpose - using his gift of speed to protect the innocent, while never giving up on his quest to solve his mother's murder and clear his father's name. For now, only a few close friends and associates know that Barry is literally the fastest man alive, but it won't be long before the world learns what Barry Allen has become...The Flash.
The series stars Grant Gustin ("Glee," "Arrow") as Barry Allen/The Flash, Candice Patton ("The Game") as Iris West, Rick Cosnett ("The Vampire Diaries") as Eddie Thawne, Danielle Panabaker ("Necessary Roughness," "Justified") as Caitlin Snow, Carlos Valdes ("Once" on Broadway ) as Cisco Ramon, with Tom Cavanagh ("Ed," "Eli Stone") as Harrison Wells and Jesse L. Martin ("Law & Order") as Detective West. THE FLASH is produced by Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television, with executive producers Greg Berlanti ("Arrow," "The Tomorrow People," "Green Lantern"), Andrew Kreisberg ("Arrow," "Eli Stone"), David Nutter ("Arrow," "Game of Thrones") and Sarah Schechter. The pilot was directed by David Nutter. This series is based upon characters published by DC Entertainment.