WARNING: The following article includes spoilers for The Flash Season 6.
The Flash is entering its sixth season with new showrunner Eric Wallace at the helm and a lot on its plate. Not only is the show setting up the upcoming Arrowverse crossover “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” it’s also dealing with the fallout from the loss Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris (Candice Patton) suffered last season when their daughter Nora was erased from the timeline.
After a recent screening of the Season 6 premiere, Eric Wallace sat down to talk about The Flash’s new season, why “Crisis” is the best thing that could have happened to the show, and how The Flash is setting up the crossover.
Wallace first acknowledged that by the time most shows reach their sixth seasons, they can start to seem kind of stale. To avoid that, Wallace and the writing staff aren’t “looking at this as season 6 of [The Flash], we’re looking at it as season 1.” Yet they’re also grateful to the fans that have watched the show for five years. So to thank them for their loyalty, Wallace said, “we’re going to try and not give them the exact same thing that they’ve gotten for five years – not that it wasn’t great…. But we’re trying some new things.”
“We want to not just keep the joy and the spectacle and the tears, we want to expand upon it,” Wallace added.
One of the new things The Flash is trying is becoming even more serialized. Wallace said that many episodes are “picking back up right where something left off” in order to maintain “the immediacy that audiences get when they’re watching a streaming show.”
Wallace and his team are also using “two new story devices to bring in [meta] cases.” For The Flash’s first five seasons, Team Flash would stop metas who committed crimes. In Season 6, however, Wallace said the metas “don’t have to be a bad guy.”
Also as Wallace had mentioned previously, the season will consist of two separate stories, which Wallace refers to as "graphic novels." The first starts with the season premiere and consists of only eight episodes. Those eight episodes will tell the story of the team going up against Sendhil Ramamurthy’s Bloodwork.
According to Wallace the format means that, “[Bloodwork’s] story begins, it burns very hot, by the time we get to [the third, fourth episodes] we’re in cuckoo town essentially. And I meant that in the best way because the story ends in the [eighth episode]…. We go to “Crisis” And then starting in [the tenth episode] it’s a brand-new story.”
Dividing up the season this way has given it “a new fresh energy” that Wallace is hoping fans will appreciate and that will reward their commitment to the series.
Part of that energy comes from the way “Crisis on infinite Earths” impacts The Flash this season. Wallace observed, “'Crisis’ turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to… The Flash because it created an immediacy to things. We know that on December 10, 2019, the Flash will die…. We’re not messing around.”
Indeed, as the Flash himself Grant Gustin has previously teased, in the season premiere, The Monitor shows up to inform Barry of his inescapable fate.
Wallace said that the revelation will be rough on Barry and Iris, “As a married couple, they can count the number of days and weeks… What kind of urgency does that give them? An extreme one. It turns the dial up to 10 and it makes them think is every moment together our last? What can we do? Should we fight this? Is it inevitable? These are all of the things that they’re grappling with [until 'Crisis']. So their relationship is strained, but it’s also going to bring them closer together than ever before because that’s what tragedy does.”
“The Monitor showing up and making a cosmic pronouncement drives you to extremes in order to fight against or accept the coming 'Crisis,'” Wallace continued. “And every episode this season… is all about ‘do I accept death or do I fight it?’”
Of course, at the end of Arrow’s seventh season, The Monitor appeared to Oliver Queen to deliver very similar news. However, Wallace said Barry and Oliver have no idea that The Monitor has approached both of them, but at some point they'll both find out. Wallace elaborated, "That is a scene that happened and is a moment and it is coming. Let’s just say that people might get pissed off a little.”
Despite that, the superheroes will join together for the “Crisis” and Wallace promises it will lead to “tectonic shifts, especially the end. It’s not small. It’s a game changer in the same way that the ending of ‘Crisis’ the comic book was a game changer. And it opens up to a whole new world.”
Of course, while part of the first half of the season must set up the crossover, The Flash also has to tell its own story too. And Wallace said that worked to the show’s advantage because ““Crisis” is about grief and about death and about the end of all worlds.”
This is something that’s also reflected in the villain Bloodwork “who is facing the end of his own world.” Yet, unlike fans who can see “Crisis” coming, Bloodwork couldn’t care less, because “he’s even more concerned about the immediacy of his own life…”
So from a storytelling perspective, Wallace said the crossover, “turned out to be the most fortuitous set of story events possible, dealing with life and death, dealing with [Bloodwork’s] death as a villain and dealing with the death of all worlds.”
Moreover, all the showrunners of the Arrowverse shows have worked together to get their separate heroes to “Crisis.” Wallace promises, “It might not seem like it at first, but it all comes together very nicely in 'Crisis'... It all feeds into itself.”
Wallace also nodded to the responsibility he feels as the showrunner of a popular series like The Flash. He noted that he takes “it very seriously the messages that the show is presenting to our young people, to people of color. Those are some things we’re trying to do more of in this season.”
The Flash stars Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Carlos Valdes, Danielle Panabaker, Tom Cavanagh, Jesse L. Martin, Danielle Nicolet and Hartley Sawyer. It airs Tuesday at 8 pm on The CW.