For longtime fans of DC Comics, one name has been on their minds as The CW's "The Flash" enters its sophomore year: Jay Garrick. Though it was announced the character will be played by Teddy Sears, the cast of the show and producer Andrew Kreisberg were tight-lipped on any aspects of Garrick's arrival when CBR News caught up with them at Comic Con International in San Diego. (Editor's Note: These interviews were conducted prior to the DC Entertainment presentation, where further details about Garrick's role on the series were revealed.)
"When our writers show an Easter egg like the helmet coming out of the singularity, it means it's going to be on the show at some point," star Grant Gustin told CBR News. "I'd expect to see Jay Garrick sooner rather than later," he added, further hinting that Garrick's role may be that of a mentor to Barry. By the second episode, the pair will be working together, and Barry will learn a new trick. "It involves lightning. It's pretty different from anything else we've done."
On the villain front, Kreisberg gleefully told us, "Grodd is definitely coming back." The producer was less forthcoming on what new bad guys that might appear, however. "The kinds of villains we're having and what their agenda is is certainly different this year," he said. According to the producer, any villain who comes onto the show should reflect what's going in the Team Flash dynamic, and the choice of guest villain depends on how he or she will change the main characters.
Speaking on the aforementioned dynamic, Kreisberg said, "Last year was about getting the band together and Barry's first steps into being a hero. This year is about what it means to really do that.
"One thing that's different from the other shows we've done is that Central City knows about the Flash. He's becoming a public figure," Kreisberg continued. With the existence of super powers and supervillains now common knowledge, The Flash has become a well-known savior to the citizens. "Watching Barry deal with becoming famous and not just the mysterious red streak is something we deal with a lot in the early episodes."
While episode eight of the new season will be a big crossover with "Arrow," smaller character crossovers will continue throughout the season. "It was fun to see those crossovers [last year]," Kreisberg said, adding that this approach was the impetus for the upcoming "DC's Legends of Tomorrow," a series he enthusiastically described as "a crossover every week!"
Though Carlos Valdes and Danielle Panabaker play characters based on DC hero Vibe and villain Killer Frost, both actors are unsure as to if, when and how Cisco Ramon and Caitlin Snow's alternate identities will appear. "There are biological changes happening to Cisco," Valdes said. While his meta-abilities will be a thread in the season, he could not say if Cisco will jump at the chance to give himself a new identity. "In fact, other people are getting in on the naming game," he teased. "And Cisco reacts to that in different ways."
"When I signed onto the show, we talked about Killer Frost and I'm so excited to play her," Panabaker said of her villainous alter-ego, though she remains uncertain of when she will once again wear the costume glimpsed in the Season One finale. "I would like for it to happen in Season Two," she said. The costume evolved over several months, and the actress said finally getting to put it on for the brief moment was "transformative," and she looks forward to "being one of the guys" at some point.
Beyond crossovers, potential alter egos and new mentors, the early part of Season two will feature Barry and Iris drifting apart as Iris continues to deal with the loss of fiance Eddie Thawne. "She saw her boyfriend get sucked into a wormhole," Patton said of her character. "That's devastating." During the healing process, Gustin revealed, Iris and Caitlin will develop a closer bond, an new element of the show Patton is excited to explore. "Having women on the show being friends is a great example to set for young girls watching the show," she said. Citing that television often casts women in adversarial roles, Patton said, "Any time we can explore friendships between women, it sends a message to young girls watching the show that women don't have to be at each other throats."
And, after a season of being kept in the dark by everyone around her, Iris will also find a place on Team Flash. "It was brutal, waiting for that to happen," she said, noting that characters like Iris on other shows find out about the key secret so much later so she was happy Iris found out in the first year. "There's something about our show and this time period, that we don't want to see woman not know and feel stupid," she explained. "Fans were upset. They wanted to see Iris find out and know sooner. I'm happy she can be a part of the team. They're the tech and the smarts, but Iris is the heart. She can talk to people."
Barry will also meet a new romantic interest in the from of Patty Spivot; to be played by Shantel VanSanten and described as "The Flash's" answer to Felicity Smoak. "She's going to be more in the CSI and police side of Barry's life," Gustin said. "We'll see them in the field some and I think they have a lot more in common than some of the other women Barry has had an attraction to." Living in the world in the Central City PD, she will be set apart from Team Flash and will, of course, be one more person Barry has to hide his identity from.
As teased in the season finale, the Multiverse -- a comic book concept that first appeared in a a Silver Age "Flash" comic involving multiple universes, all existing simultaneously just slightly out of sync with each other -- will be explored. "We're introducing the concept ... and it allows [Wells] to exist," Gustin explained. He added that using the Multiverse offers a metaphorical doorway for Rick Cosnett's Eddie Thawne to reappear through as well. "They said when Rick was leaving the show for personal reasons, there'd be ways to bring him back. We have multiple Earths now; anyone who's died could still be on the show. Nothing surprises me, to be honest. They love the character and have really big balls. They'll do anything [from the the comics]."
"More so than 'Arrow,' where we were testing the waters to see how much [of the] comic book people were willing to accept, 'The Flash' just is what it is." Kreisberg explained, saying he believes the more creatively successful comic book adaptations are those that embrace the trappings of their sources. Having that complete faith, he thought if "we go down," then at least they went down with a faithful take on the character using the elements they loved from the comics.
Panabaker said the faith Kreisberg, executive producer Greg Berlanti, and the writers have in the material inspires the cast to do likewise with the scripts. "They give us excellent material all the time," she said. "Telepathic gorillas, Reverse-Flash... we didn't do it all, but we did a lot for one season of television."
John Wesley Shipp shares Panabaker's sentiment, saying, "I am so in awe of Greg and Andrew." When it was suggested the Multiverse might allow him to reprise his version of Barry Allen from the '90s TV show, he said, "You had me until [the thought] of putting the red suit on again," adding that he prefers the prison suit worn by Barry's father, Henry Allen. But he also recalled Mark Hamill's first reaction when it was suggested he would come back as the Trickster, with the "Star Wars" star confessing to Shipp, "'I could barely work the unitard back then.'" Shipp said Hamill eventually trusted the producers to bring both him and the character back in a way that would work. "I totally trust them. If they wanted me to do something like that, I know I would be protected."
Cavanagh agreed that trust is big part of why he agreed to be the Reverse-Flash. "This is my third show with Greg [Berlanti], and he said he might have something for me," the actor said. And while some might blink at playing a costumed supervillain, Cavanagh never once found the name or outfit daunting. Of course, that could be in part becasue he also appreciated the alternate persona of Wells. "[He] was kind of an added thing to hide the villain, which ended up being a big part of the season finale," Cavanagh said. "We employed that in full last season, so I think we'll take a different tack [in Season Two] -- but in some ways a not too dissimilar tack."
As for his second season wish, Gustin would like to see Mirror Master make his way onto the show. "He's one of those great sci-fi idea that could surprise the audience, especially people who don't know the 'Flash' comics. I think it would be a cool new villain that could bring a lot to the show." As far as the actor knows, however, there are no current plans for the missing Rogue to appear.
"I would like to see [Caitlin] outside of S.T.A.R. Labs more," Panabaker added.
Valdes hopes Cisco finds some romance. "He's a ladies man, or at least he hopes to be," he said. "There's definitely a romantic interest or two" in the upcoming season.