SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for "The Flash" Season 2 finale.
In the penultimate episode of "The Flash," John Wesley Shipp's Henry Allen met his untimely end, but that won't be the last we see of Shipp on the show. In the Season 2 finale, the Man in the Mask that Zoom was holding prisoner turned out to be Henry's Earth-3 doppelganger -- the one and only Jay Garrick. Shipp spoke to Variety about the big reveal, what that means for the show's third season, how it will impact other DCTV shows like "DC's Legends of Tomorrow," and more.
"For me, personally, as an actor, Henry Allen was rather closed-ended, he was there for a purpose, he served his purpose, it was time for him to die," Shipp shared. "The fact that I'm now getting to morph into an entirely different character that is so important to the Justice Society of America, which also bleeds into 'Legends of Tomorrow,' he's such an important character to this whole world -- it just opens up enormous possibilities for me as an actor going forward, and the challenge for me, having played Henry, is that I now get to create an entirely different character going forward. And how that affects Barry -- because Barry's going to want to lean on this guy who looks just like his father but is not his father -- that can create a whole bunch of psychological conflict too. I'm as excited as you are to see how all of this will play out."
As to Jay's dynamic with the pre-existing Team Flash, Shipp said, "Jay does not know the emotional minefield that he's walking into. Of course, Barry's gonna look at this guy, and when the iron mask first comes off... it's really heartbreaking, he shrinks himself. It's really amazing. If I were to lose my father, and then there was someone there who looks just like my father, my impulse would be to want to go and get the same things from this guy that I got from my father. This guy's not going to know any of that, he's not going to understand it, so I hope there are those awkward moments where Barry tries to get from Jay what he got from Henry and it's not gonna be forthcoming, and they're going to have to make their own peace and form their own relationship based on the reality of what is. That opens itself up for all kinds of psychological possibilities."
"Everybody wanted me to be to be Jay Garrick," he recalled. "That's what I've gotten at conventions all over the world: 'We love you as Henry Allen, but we really wish you'd been Jay Garrick.' I was glad that I wasn't, because to go right from the superhero costume 25 years ago to a superhero costume 25 years later would've been a little daunting for me -- but I got to have two years of this very grounded, gritty, emotion-based, truth-of-the-moment acting role with Grant in the interim. So now maybe I can put on the suit again and have a little bit of fun. It also helps that Jay Garrick is chronologically 92 years old; however, he was exposed to age-reversing vapors, so he's physically 50 years old. I thought, 'I could do that. I could play that.'"
"This character looks exactly like Barry's father but is tonally and attitudinally very different from Henry Allen, who was very available emotionally and much softer; very much a warm blanket for Barry when he was at his most vulnerable. That's not gonna be Jay," he added. "Jay's a superhero, he's an original superhero, so he's not gonna know from all that -- my job, at the beginning, anyway, is to differentiate between Henry Allen and Jay Garrick."