NOTE: This article contains potential SPOILERS for The Flash
First The Flash brought fans its first big bad/secret identity twist when Harrison Wells was truly the Reverse-Flash, Eobard Thawne. Then came Jay Garrick, who turned out to be the supervillain Zoom. In its third season, The CW show seemed to be throwing off the idea of a secret identity shocker with its villain Savitar, the so-called ‘God of Speed.’ A god needs no disguise, so things seemed to truly be headed in a new direction… until Savitar was revealed to be another future nemesis of Barry Allen, whose ‘divine’ nature wasn’t entirely accurate. Once again, the fans are asking: who is Savitar?
Possessing nearly immeasurable speed and knowing what the future holds for Barry and his friends, the villain is definitely familiar. Star Grant Gustin has reassured fans that while previous villains were hinted at and deduced by some fans before the big reveal, Flash fans won’t guess Savitar’s secret identity. But after the villain’s cryptic prophecies offered a hint of who he might be, and what DC Comics mythology is being drawn upon, the latest episode has added a new wrinkle. One certain to fuel the discussion of Savitar’s true identity – and perhaps, finally make good on one of the earliest Reverse-Flash theories the community ever put forward.
“I Know What Happens… I Already Lived It”
“Jesse Quick. I knew you would come for me… I know everything that happens. I’ve already lived it… I have such plans for you in the future.”
We’ll start with the most recent detail before explaining how it has placed existing evidence into a new light. As Barry Allen went searching for a solution “Into the Speed Force” in the latest episode, Jesse Quick found herself impatient, and unwilling to stand by as other speedsters took all the risk. In a fairly reckless act, she set about tracking a captured piece of Savitar’s anatomy back to its source – bringing her face to face with the villain himself. Jesse was anything but prepared for the standoff, but the same couldn’t be said for the villain… he knew Jesse would make the move, and in his words, already has “plans” for the female Flash. How? Because he has “already lived it.”
It’s a word use that could fly by plenty of viewers already comfortable with the idea that Savitar hails from the future, having one day crossed paths with The Flash, been defeated, and imprisoned in a Speed Force Hell constructed by Barry himself (if you believe his story). But knowing the past is different from having lived it, and can be taken one of two ways. It could be a hint that Savitar has also tried to change history more than once, knowing what Barry’s allies will try to prevent his success because he’s seen them do it before, been defeated, and traveled back to try it again. But that’s a complicated fictional pill for audiences to swallow.
The easier answer? Savitar has lived through this story as one of the other players in it. Before his life led him to Savitar, and his prison removed from time and space… back when he was just a member of Barry’s circle of friends.
“I’m The Future, Flash”
That interpretation will be all fans need to spin their own theories and possible candidates (Wally, HR, even Jesse herself). And it also lends a bit more weight to a theory spun out of the first time Savitar spoke to the show’s cast of characters via Julian mind-meld. It was during that conversation that Savitar made his prophecy, claiming that members of the S.T.A.R. Labs team would betray eachother, suffer a fate worse than death, fall, etc.. When asked just who he really was, the God of Speed gave a chilling answer to Barry Allen. tinged with pride: “I’m the future, Flash.” Or, if you were among the fans hungry for each and every Speed Force prediction and theory, his admission was that he was actually “the Future Flash.” As in, the person claiming the title of ‘The Flash’ in an unknown future time and place.
The possibility was an easy one to consider (he literally spoke the words, which is fewer dots than usually need to be connected for a villain theory), but almost seemed too easy. Then Savitar returned via Julian mind-meld in a later episode, and repeated the phrase… twice. At that point, it seemed guaranteed to not be the real mystery, since The Flash‘s writers would never make the mistake of hinting too strongly at the coming reveal. And when Gustin recently stated that fans wouldn’t see the Savitar twist coming, a “Future Flash” seemed like a possible misdirection, if anything.
But add this new detail – that this so-called “Future Flash” is present elsewhere in the story – and it’s hard to not guess that he’s exactly what he claims to be. In short: the villain fans predicted from the debut season.
Barry Allen, The Future Flash
The DC Comics Universe has already dealt with a “Future Flash” in its New 52 era, with an older Barry Allen coming to realize that his jaunts back and forth through time (dozens more than even the show has featured thus far) haven’t been as harmless as it appeared. Twenty years into the future, Barry begins to sense that time is disappearing. When he runs at full speed, minutes evaporate without a trace – resulting in his inability to save Wally West from a fatal car accident. Realizing that he has caused the Speed Force to be torn apart this far into the future, he accepts that his only course of action is to travel back in time and seal the rift when it began… and to do it, he’s willing to gain the necessary power by whatever means necessary. Generally, that means killing his enemies.
He leaps backward years at a time, preventing his enemies from their most terrible, unintentional acts. He still leaves them to be killed, justifying it to himself by saying that none of these murders will matter if he can undo the entire timeline from taking place. Finally arriving from the future, this murderous version of Barry confronts his younger self – noting that his costume is far less advanced than his own metallic, blue, glowing armor – and revealing that only the young Barry possesses enough energy to seal the Speed Force rift completely. Killing his younger self will release that energy and prevent all the damage he caused in his future, even if he appears to all as a murderous, crazed, desperate monster.
For the modern Barry, it’s a nightmare come true: he sees himself, older, armored, and hellbent on killing anyone with the Speed Force connection needed to undo his mistakes – mistakes caused by altering the timeline, leading to a future far worse than the one that could have formed naturally. Do we need to spell it out any clearer?
Barry May Have Warned Us Already
The show clearly isn’t adapting that story (“Out of Time”) beat for beat, but with a few tweaks, it does seem like a possible basis for the season’s threat. It’s not hard to imagine that decades into the future Barry realizes just how horribly he impacted the future by traveling back in time and creating Flashpoint – or who knows, maybe it’s another upcoming change to the timeline that causes it (the cost of saving Iris, even). Knowing the only way to fix the future is to travel back to the past, but lacking the speed to do so due to his fracturing the Speed Force beyond repair, Barry has only one option. Track down speedsters, capture their Speed Force energy as Zoom once did, and begin his long trek back in time.
It’s not the heroic future fans would hope for, even if that sacrifice and commitment to do unspeakable acts could be viewed as noble, in some sense. But Barry Allen may have already offered a warning stating that is exactly what winds up happening. And he delivered it all the way from the year 2056, directed to Rip Hunter, the last remaining Time Master, as seen in the “Invasion” crossover of 2016:
“A war is coming, Captain Hunter, and at some point you’re going to be called back to Central City to fight it, so you need to know that — while you and your team have been in the temporal zone — I made a choice that affected the timeline. As you know, whenever you alter the past, those changes affect the present and get compounded in the future. When you return, you will be in a new timeline I created, where everyone’s past and everyone’s future has been affected, including yours. When you come back, don’t trust anything or anyone, not even me.”
The message was delivered in the midst of the Dominator invasion, and was therefore taken as relating directly to it. Barry changed the timeline, and maybe that’s why the Dominators arrived. But pull out the facts: Barry altered the past, saw how the effects “compounded” four decades into the future, and warns that in the new timeline being formed nobody is to be trusted… not even himself.
If you ask us, that sounds an awful lot like the kind of message Barry might send before beginning his mission to make a more terrible present throughout the timeline in hopes of changing the past to save the future. And THAT would be a brand new way to say that Barry Allen created his greatest enemy – himself.
Let us know what you think of our theory, and share your own prediction for Savitar’s identity in the comments.
The Flash airs Tuesdays @8pm on The CW.