When it comes to superhero shows fully embracing their comic book roots, The CW's "Flash" leaves most other comics-inspired series coughing in its dust. Throughout its freshman season, the show went all-in, and by the end of the season viewers had watched the Flash deal with the telepathic Gorilla Grodd, a healthy percentage of the classic Rogues, and even time travel. Now, a mere three episodes deep into Season 2, it's already clear the creators and actors have no intention of slowing down.
With the introduction of the Multiverse and Earth-2, the show has opened up a literal new world of possibilities and stories -- and brought in a threat beyond universal proportions -- setting up what is promises to be a season full of high-octane comic book adventure.
"Flash" executive producer Andrew Kreisberg and Caitlin Snow herself, actress Danielle Panabaker, spoke with press about the series and the upcoming fourth episode "Fury of the Firestor," focusing on Caitlin dealing with everyone around her having powers, her potentially Killer superpowered future, and how things are "about to go doppelgänger-a-go-go."
Caitlin seems to be better this time around in dealing with losing Ronnie, with Jay being there, but that'll only be for a little while. Is she going to get her heart broken again? What is she going through right now?
Andrew Kreisberg: I think I can answer that. [Laughs]
Danielle Panabaker: [Laughs] I think you're right. This grief for Caitlin is very different from last year. She was in a much darker, much unhappier place. I think there is a new purpose for her being in STAR Labs. Especially with the loss of Harrison Wells as he was in Season 1, she's going to find her new position and find new things to focus on. I think that helps her get over her devastation from losing Ronnie again.
Kreisberg: Plus, there was a six month gap that helped cover the time. I think one of the things for us that a lot of the actors have commented on is that it feels like the show has gotten more mature over the past year, and every one of the characters have grown up a lot. So, everyone is not dealing with things in the sort of binary, raw, "I'm happy! I'm sad!" People are starting to grow up like any of us do and starting to realize that there are complexities and there is grief in happiness and sadness in joy and you can still find your way.
Cisco's got a power, Ronnie has got a power, Harrison Wells had powers, Barry has a power -- everyone around Caitlin has a power, and while the viewers know about her Killer Frost future, she doesn't. So, how is she feeling being surrounded by everyone with powers?
Panabaker: I don't think it consciously occurs to her. I think it's the world she lives in now. Cisco's new powers come in slowly, and there are some complications about all that, and he has feelings about them as well, so I don't think Caitlin is particularly jealous of all of these superpowers. She's a doctor. She's a nurturer. She wants to make sure everyone is okay and follow those methodical, scientific steps first.
I also don't mind not having superpowers, because somebody has to hold down the fort, like Felicity on "Arrow." Caitlin has to make sure everything is all right.
You were in "Sky High," where you played a character with superpowers. Are you itching to get to that point when you have your powers in "The Flash?"
Panabaker: Oh, for sure. I'm so excited to get to Killer Frost.
Kreisberg: I was there [when they filmed the scene in the Season 1 finale], and she was so happy. It was also funny, because she looked so incredibly scary and she's still going, "Isn't this great?" [Laughs]
Panabaker: [Laughs] I can't wait! It's going to be great!
We got a short glimpse of it so far, but how much Earth-2 are we going to get to see?
Kreisberg: It's funny -- when we were starting to do the season, we were afraid. A lot of it by design, and a lot of it by luck, we really feel like with Season 1, we told the right story and we told it the right way, with all of the time travel stuff. So when we decided to do Earth-2, we were like, "How do we do the time travel thing and how do we not mess this up?" In the beginning, we kept it all on the backburner and we didn't show a lot of the time travel stuff so people could ease into it. Then, when we were starting to look at some of the earlier episodes, we realized we weren't starting from scratch again. People have already watched a year of "Flash" and -- even the characters on the show -- when somebody flies in front of them, they're not like, "What's happening?!" They're like, "Oh, that's probably a metahuman."
The whole idea of it -- since the characters were more accepting of it, we realized that the audience could be more accepting of it. Because as long as Caitlin and Cisco, especially -- because we really feel like those are the two characters that mostly represent the audience -- and Joe, we could do that. So, when we first wrote episode 2, we were like, "You know what? I want to see Jay fighting Zoom." That whole opening with Jay fighting Zoom and seeing Earth-2, that came after the original conception, because we realized that people could handle it and see it and not be like, "What the hell is going on?"
Is Harrison Wells going to be the only Earth-2 doppelgänger we see, or will we have some twin action going on?
Kreisberg: It's about to go doppelgänger-a-go-go on the show. [Laughs] With time travel last year, we tried to easy everyone into it, and we kind of tried to do the same thing here, where the first episode has that, "How could two guys look exactly alike?" And then Jay comes over and we established the idea of Earth-2, and then we've had it sort of playing in the background for episodes three and four, just to remind everybody that the show is still "The Flash" and you're still going to get the typical episodes that tie into the normal mythology of the show. But now, we're really going to pick up, with five and with six and with seven, the Earth-2 storyline.
When we were talking about the idea of Earth-2 last year, for us, it was a way to introduce a whole bunch of villains without having -- like, if the particle accelerator happened two years ago, what have all these people been doing until now? In Year One, it sort of made more sense. So there are a couple of villains this year where we see how they got their powers from the particle accelerator, but why they haven't been able to use them.
With the Multiverse, there's a scene in episode 2 where they did the Flash symbol in the sky, which is a reference to Batman. Obviously, there are characters that are off limits, but are those references there just because you know the fans will get them even though you can't use those characters or is that a nod to the Multiverse?
Kreisberg: That one -- originally, the Flash was going to be running in circles and creating a sort of wind tunnel with lightning and the guy was going to show up. It was the same set up, but we priced it out and it was going to be really expensive. We were literally sitting there like, "How are we going to get this guy to show up?" and I can't remember if I pitched the light and someone else pitched the line, or it was the other way around, but we were all sitting there laughing. And then we were like, "Is it the worst idea ever?" And that's where that came from. It was really more just that people were either going to hit us over the head, or they're going to laugh.
From our perspective, we've gotten to do Green Arrow and Ra's al Ghul and the League of Assassins and Deathstroke and the Flash and Killer Frost and Vibe, and now we're doing "Legends," and we got Rip Hunter and Constantine coming onto Arrow, and we're doing "Supergirl." It's not like we're sitting there going, "Goddamn it, why won't they just give us Batman?" [Laughs]
It really is the truth. For us as writers, it's a lot more fun to take these characters that people haven't constantly seen. and you're not trying to do the umpteenth iteration of something. No disrespect to Superman and Batman and Wonder Woman and Aquaman. I love those characters, but it's not like we don't get a lot. We're never sitting around wringing our hands going, "Those bastards!"