In comic book lore, Eobard Thawne is better known as Professor Zoom and, later, the Reverse-Flash. Introduced in 1963, Eobard hailed from the future, and while he plagued the Scarlet Speedster for years, it was in 1979 that he cemented his reputation as one of the Flash’s deadliest enemies when he killed Barry’s wife, Iris West Allen.
It’s no wonder, then, that there’s a certain stigma attached to the Thawne family name. So when police detective Eddie Thawne, played by Rick Cosnett, debuted on The CW‘s “The Flash,” viewers quickly assumed he was destined to become the show’s version of the villainous speedster. However, it turns out that after getting stranded in the 20th Century, Eobard murdered Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) and possessed his body in order to one day tap into Barry’s (Grant Gustin) speed force to return home. In recent episodes, Eobard has kidnapped his ancestor, revealing to Eddie that his future doesn’t look so bright.
Ahead of tonight’s episode and next week’s finale, Cosnett spoke with CBR News about Eddie’s do-gooder status, his downward spiral and the ongoing Eddie/Barry/Iris love triangle. We also discuss the Thawne legacy, and the effects Eddie’s life-changing decision will have on him in the season finale.
CBR News: How well versed were you with superheroes and spandex before joining “The Flash?”
Rick Cosnett: Not very much at all, actually. I remember liking He-Man as a kid, but I grew up in Zimbabwe. We didn’t really have much of that stuff. Thinking back on it now, I actually loved Batman. That was probably one of my favorites alongside He-Man and Skeletor. I used to run around singing the Batman TV theme song. I didn’t really expect to be on this show. I’m an actor and just got lucky and became a part of this whole DC Universe. I feel very flattered and grateful. All the fans have been absolutely incredible. I get to bring a really iconic character to life, which is very cool.
Your character’s family name, Thawne, is synonymous with Professor Zoom/Reverse-Flash. How much were you told about Eddie and his arc upfront?
I was told a lot of secrets just before we started, which shocked me. I vaguely knew where I was going. A few things have shocked me along the way. You find out some details from the producers at dinners. I was given a pretty good idea before the pilot started shooting, and then before we started the season.
Why was it so important to establish Eddie as this solid, respectable guy before his potential fall from grace?
It was a really smart choice. Everybody expected me to be a dick, the golden boy who was obsessed with himself. We really had to see why Iris (Candice Patton) was with me and not Barry. The reason is, Eddie is lovely. He’s got his shit together. He’s really able and very much the man. He has to be someone you are torn between. You are a little torn between Barry and Eddie, even though he doesn’t have much of a chance because the camera is always on Barry. “What about my longing looks?” We just don’t see those. I have a disadvantage there, but I put up a good case.
Eddie is in an interesting position, where he’s in love with Iris, but so is Barry. Has it been frustrating not realizing Barry and Iris have feelings for each other?
It’s been delicious. The whole time we were shooting the first half of the season, as an actor, I knew that Barry was the Flash, but Eddie didn’t. Every time I would say something about the Flash, he was actually standing right in front of me. I knew there was a tension in the air. I was playing it like I was seemingly unaware, but, of course, I knew exactly what was going on there. It was fun not to know he was the Flash and not to know in the beginning he was in love with Iris.
Eddie is not dumb, though. It would be quite cliche if he was not that sharp. I don’t think he’s as sharp as Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) or Cisco (Carlos Valdes) or Barry. Then again, who is? He’s of normal level of intelligence. He did realize something was up between Barry and Iris. Dealing with it gracefully made it even worse for Barry, because Eddie is irritatingly wonderful, especially at the beginning. It’s a great place to start, because you have somewhere to go.
Now, the Reverse-Flash has captured Eddie. What does he want with him?
Basically, he has to prepare Eddie. Eddie is his anchor, one of his great, great, great, great, great grandfathers. Eddie becomes this commodity. There’s this bloodline, this relationship between the two, which is interesting. When Eddie has been captured by Eobard, we see that Eddie actually has a bit of a backbone, too. They are cut from the same cloth, so they have a wonderful little bickering. Eddie is also a little fearful, as well, because he’s still coming to terms with all of this new information. It turned his world upside down. However, he is still Eddie Thawne. Something is definitely brewing.
Eobard tells Eddie that he amounts to nothing in the future, and that he doesn’t even marry Iris. How do those bombshells inform Eddie?
They completely change his life and trajectory in time. That’s enough said.
In the teaser trailer for this week’s episode, Iris asks Eddie, “What did he do to you?” What’s wrong with Eddie?
There’s a lot wrong with Eddie. He’s traumatized. He’s found out that one of his best friends is marrying his girlfriend, and that it’s written in the history of the future. All the wheels start turning and doing a complete 360 inside of him. Everything changes from that moment on.
Eddie has a huge part in the last two episodes, especially the finale. It’s going to be really shocking. It’s explosive and epic and I have a lot to do in it.
Do you feel Eddie has the same potential for darkness as Eobard?
If he does or doesn’t, at this stage, it’s quite obvious the things that could push him over the edge are his jealousy and bitterness. They could get the better of him. Bitterness could start to grow inside him. The negativity and the bad thoughts — it’s all about good versus evil, which every good comic book is about. It’s just like life. You can hold on to the positive and become really good, or you can hold on to the bad stuff and spiral downwards. Eddie has some very big choices coming up.
The speedsters have these iconic costumes. If the situation arises, how prepared are you to slip into one of your own?
I’m always prepared. I can’t wait — I want to do it now. Who doesn’t want to be a superhero — or villain?
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