The Flash is speeding in a more positive direction. In the Season 3 finale, Barry Allen sacrificed himself to the Speed Force in order to stabilize it and save Central City, but he won't be gone forever. However, when he returns in Season 4, he won't be the same Barry who imprisoned himself in the Speed Force. In fact, according to star Grant Gustin, this Barry Allen will be older, wiser and more lighthearted. Speaking to the press at Comic-Con International in San Diego, Gustin discussed Barry's sacrifice, how it changes his character and more.
"So six months have gone by... For Barry, obviously it hasn't really been six months," he explained. "In the Speed Force, time is kind of non-linear, and I think this experience in the Speed Force has been different for him because we've seen him go into the Speed Force before and have the Speed Force embody people in his life and kind of teach him the lesson that he needs to learn at that point. This time, he sacrificed himself to stabilize it, so I think he's kind of been on his own and he's been experiencing his entire life from start to finish again and again and again."
"So, I think when he comes out, he's had this awakening and understanding of things that he's never done before and he's been able to let go of a lot of things that initially when we see him he's also kind of confused and jumbled and it's been a lot, so he's not really himself," he added. "I got to have a really fun one-off kind of episode for my first episode back, but then -- moving forward from that -- we'll see a really positive kind of Barry that will be able to appreciate his powers in a way that we used to see him appreciate them. We're just going to have more fun this year. It's going to be good."
Because his Speed Force experience leaves him "confused and jumbled," Barry will have to readjust to his life on Earth-1. "Just that Barry and his experience in the Speed Force, we're going to see the toll it took on him initially, when he comes out. Yeah, I mean, he's kind of jumbled initially, after experiencing so many things in such a condensed amount of time over and over and over again. It takes a toll on your brain, you know? So it's not really Barry when he first comes out, and I got to have fun with that as an actor," he said.
Asked if he believed the show got a little too dark in Season 3, Gustin said, "Yeah... Like, after what, it was episode nine or ten that Barry saw Iris die in the future, and then -- for the rest of the season -- it was like 'Iris is going to die.' So, even if it was just subtext in a scene, that was something that I, as an actor, had to deal with and play, so all of the scenes were dark, even when they were fun scenes, and it takes a toll on you! I mean, you go home in a bad mood, kind of, in like an agitated mood. You have more fun when you're having fun on set and doing comedy and we're going to get back to that a little bit."
"I don't know if it was darker than we meant to get, but it got pretty dark, and this year we'll be back to our roots," he continued. "I think we've all come really far as actors, too. I think everyone has grown as an actor, all the young people especially on the show. I think we're going to be able to execute everything, too, that we're being given, more successfully than we did initially in Season 1, but it's going to be like that tone of Season 1. We're going to get to have fun and get back to the comedy of Flash. Yeah, it's going to be great."
"It was a hard year for Barry. I don't even think by the time he went into the Speed Force he had accepted and digested everything that he gone through. I think he just accepted blame and fault for everything that had happened, which is why he felt the need to sacrifice himself," he explained. "You know, we lost HR, we almost lost Iris, the whole reason the timeline was in flux was because of Barry. I think where he really learned things was in the Speed Force. So, when he comes out, he's -- for a lack of a better word -- wiser than we've ever seen him be when he comes out. We'll just have to kind of see how Team Flash can adjust to Barry's new wisdom, because they've had to deal with the loss of Barry and the choice that he made, especially Iris and the heartbreak of him leaving and not taking it personally leaving her behind while they're engaged. So I think we'll be in a good place, but Team Flash will kind of have to find a way to forgive him for the decision that he made last year."
Starring Grant Gustin as the Scarlet Speedster, The Flash returns Tuesday, October 10 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW. The series also stars Jesse L. Martin, Tom Cavanagh, Carlos Valdes, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Keiynan Lonsdale and more.