CW ‘Flash’ Reveals Original Series Star as Barry Allen’s Father

Published 11 months ago by

The Flash 1990 CW Reboot John Wesley Shipp CW Flash Reveals Original Series Star as Barry Allens Father

Following the continued critical and commercial success of CW’s Arrow, not to mention the ten full seasons of Smallville that came before, it was no surprise to see the network expand its superhero offerings with the announcement of a Flash TV series. While skeptics feared the show could hurt The Flash brand, right as DC Entertainment is trying to get a shared Justice League movie universe off the ground, a likable turn from Grant Gustin as Barry Allen in two episodes of Arrow won over a lot of potential viewers.

While the two episodes (“Three Ghosts” and “The Scientist”) served as backdoor pilot for The Flash, successfully establishing Gustin’s Barry as well as his friendship with Oliver Queen, the shows were located on Arrow‘s home turf, Starling City, meaning they did not introduce many of the characters and relationships that viewers will actually see when The Flash debuts. The recent Arrow episode, “The Man Under the Hood,” helped establish two of Allen’s future S.T.A.R. Labs cohorts Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) and Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) but other series regulars will have to wait until fall 2014 for their introduction.

In the meantime, we have new details on one especially notable cast member – original 1990s Flash TV star John Wesley Shipp. Nearly 25 years after Shipp played Barry Allen on CBS, fighting evildoers The Trickster, Prank, and Mirror Master, among others, the actor was cast in an unspecified role for the new Flash series. While many assumed that Shipp would portray Barry’s father, Henry Allen (especially after he was shown in a family photo during the extended Flash TV trailer), other DC fan boys and girls had hoped the actor might play older Flash iteration, Jay Garrick.

The Flash John Wesley Shipp CW CW Flash Reveals Original Series Star as Barry Allens Father

Now producer Greg Berlanti has confirmed which role Shipp will play in the new series – along with comments suggesting the actor is still on track to be a recurring presence (instead of just a pilot cameo). Check out the quote below (thanks to EW):

“Given his history with The Flash, [executive producers] Andrew [Kreisberg], Geoff [Johns] and I could only think of one person we wanted to play Barry’s father and that was John Wesley Shipp. He gives a fantastic and emotional performance in the pilot and we are looking forward to his presence in many more episodes.”

Of course, this won’t be the first time that Shipp has doled out fatherly advice on the WB/CW, the actor previously portrayed Mitch Leery for five seasons on Dawson’s Creek. That said, The Flash will see Shipp, via Henry Allen, in significantly difference circumstances. After his wife, and Barry’s mother, Nora (Michelle Harrison), is murdered under suspicious circumstances, Henry is blamed for her death and sentenced to prison time.

Flash Costume Grant Gustin Trailer CW Flash Reveals Original Series Star as Barry Allens Father

Nevertheless, even though Shipp is a simple family man in the pilot, CW/DC Comics shows are known for taking normal people and imbuing them with superhuman abilities (for better or worse). The Flash trailer directly asserts that unknown energies (anti-matter, dark energy, and X elements) were unleashed through a ruptured dimensional barrier, creating a wave of new metahumans (such as potential Weather Wizard, Clyde Mardon), so there’s still a possibility that Shipp could become a super-powered hero (or even villain) down the line.

The future of the Henry Allen character will depend heavily on how long The Flash showrunners intend to draw out the mystery behind Nora Allen’s death (though longtime comic fans already have an idea of the answer). For the time being, we expect Henry to be a sympathetic victim of unexplainable circumstances – a character that the audience will want to see vindicated. Whether that arc is limited to season 1, allowing Henry more freedom in season 2, remains to be seen but either way it’s encouraging to hear Berlanti speak highly about the fan-favorite actor’s “emotional” performance.

The Flash Starring Grant Gustin Time Slot CW Flash Reveals Original Series Star as Barry Allens Father

After all, while it might be fun to bring back original actors for modern reboots, sometimes even the best of intentions can become a detriment to the quality of a new project. Thankfully, Shipp is more than just a familiar face, he’s a talented actor – one that sounds as though he’ll be instrumental in developing this generation’s live-action Barry Allen (at least on the small screen).


More: The Flash TV Trailer Podcast Discussion


The Flash will air on Tuesdays @8pm in fall 2014 on The CW.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for any future updates on The Flash, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Follow Ben Kendrick on Twitter @benkendrick
TAGS: The flash
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  1. First!!!

      • Great response.

        Honestly, I imagine anyone who posts “First!” and then leaves with no other comment to be an 8 year old who just discovered the internet.

        • Sshhh if he’s that good and fast with a computer at 8 dont piss him off.. By the time he’s 14 he’ll be hacking your bank accounts lol

          • By 30 he’ll also become a wizard

            • And by 20 youll be gyarados.

    • people still do that “first” thing?
      you must be quite the poser. let me guess; you’re a hipster, right? I bet you even listen to dubstep to, don’t you. (good god these yolo/swag-posers really need something new)

      • Hipsters listen to dubstep? I don’t beleive you. Was under the impression they listen to music on vinyls or cassettes.

    • No, it’s about The Flash. You meant to say “Fast!”

  2. Well, I’m glad those silly Jay Garrick rumours have finally been put to rest.

  3. Can’t wait to see the comments complaining about him not being Jay Garrick. It was really a no-brainer that he was going to play Barry’s dad.

  4. He could be both! Henry Jay Allen or Henry Garrick Allen, maybe?

  5. Great news! Glad to hear he’s returning to the Flash universe.

  6. LOL, this looks like a disaster. That costume!

  7. Actually i prefer the old costume and john wesley shipp was also more muscular than the new flash. He looked like bob paris.

    • WOW! … I knew he was going to get cast, its not a surprise we seen this before in “Smallville” when Christopher Reeves was cast as Dr. Swann

  8. Definitely looking forward to this series, even though I would prefer barry Allen looking a bit older, blond, and a bit more muscular. Not to take away from this new rendition’s actor, though. He deserves a chance. Glad to see Shipp gets his toe in also!

    Anyone heard anything more about plans for CW’s Hourman show they were developing? Have not heard much lately.

    • Why did they get a kid that has a giant mellon? Either that or the costume design team sucks.

  9. well played cw, well played

  10. I don’t really like the flash so I won’t be watching the show anytime soon but I will say that I like how Shipp is involved with the new series and how it sounds like an important supporting role… I really don’t like the new flash costume though I’m not conviced the suit even fits him :( Ah well hope you DC or Flash or both DC and Flash fans like it.

  11. Yo Screenrant! Story idea. Mashup what we know about the Flash with Smallville. A massive explosion causes members of the surrounding populous to gain special powers and a single hero among them is born. That hero just runs really fast saving people and wears a primary red outfit. Any others?

  12. SPAM!!!

    • Testing testing

      • Ah. That’s better.

  13. sooooooooooooooooo when are we gonna get an article about the Wonder Woman costume rumors?

    To contribute to this article, I’m happy with Shipp having a role like this. I think it’s a really cool nod.

  14. I hope in the second season they Flash forward and feature a more adult Flash. Can’t wait to see the pilot.

  15. The Flash makes a WHOOOSH!!! sound. Ironman makes the SPAMMM!!! sound. Cause, you know, spam usually comes from a metal can.

  16. My post above should be down here. This is the hardest forum to get a post in the right place in

  17. ARG!! Why is it doing that?

  18. So Sorry to here this . So wanted him to play Jay Garrick. Golden oppertunity missed. Shame on CW!!!!

  19. I’m looking forward to this series, but they already screwed up with the costume! Didn’t they even pick up a comic book and look at the costume? There was no leather involved!!!

    Just as daredevil’s costume was wrong, yes that was just a minor issue with the movie, it still was wrong!!


    if you watch the trailer over again, you will see that, when the reverse flash attacks barry’s mom, he is actually fighting with older Barry Allen (via yellow stream & red stream) thats why Barry as a kid was left miles away from his home, he rescued himself… without his mom’s death, he would of never became the flash :O

  21. To be honest I would rather a big budget solo Flash movie. But still used to watch the 90s show like most others and Shipp’s increased involvement is nothing to complain about.