Late last year, DC creative chief Geoff Johns made clear the distinction between DC’s TV shows and its films, referring to them as separate universes that ‘coexist’ in some unseen, amorphous cosmic construct – in other words, a multiverse. As we’ve already discussed, while this concept risks confusing and alienating some viewers, the potential gains – increased variety in storytelling, further autonomy from Marvel, and a deeper ability to explore years of comic canon – far outweigh the cost. In this case, more is more.
And season 1 of The Flash certainly proved this, shocking fans by introducing nearly all of the titular hero’s primary ‘rogues’ – including Reverse Flash, Captain Cold, and Gorilla Grodd – exploring the concept of time travel and the speed force, and even teasing a potentially world-altering Crisis. While many were left to wonder if The Flash was moving too fast, it became clear that a show about the fastest man alive could naturally sustain itself and succeed at such a pace. That being said, viewers have also been left to question what direction the series will take following its explosive debut season.
With the season 1vfinale airing tonight (in which Barry will travel back in time to save his mother’s life and thusly risk altering the time/space continuum), the show is poised to take not one, but multiple directions.
While speaking to TV Guide regarding the precarious finale, star Grant Gustin revealed that Barry’s trip to the past won’t exactly go as planned and will change more than his own timeline.
What’s fun about this show is that there’s going to be multiple timelines as we move forward. I think we’re going to start showing Earth-One and Earth-Two in the near future. There will be kind of different dimensions going on.
For those unfamiliar with DC multiverse lore, Earth-One and Earth-Two are two of the many alternate worlds that exist in an elaborate cosmic construct of universes. Think of them not as duplicates or identical twins, but as siblings that share certain characteristics and don’t always get along.
While Barry Allen, Oliver Queen, and the other established characters on The CW’s trilogy of shows (including the yet-to-air Legends of Tomorrow) most likely exist on Earth-One – the “default” universe – Barry’s decision to travel back in time, and his resulting actions, could set in motion the genesis or unlocking of another world, i.e. Earth-Two. Whether Barry exists as the Flash on Earth-Two or another speedster – such as Jay Garrick or Wally West – has taken up the mantle remains to be seen. But based on the presence Garrick’s signature helmet in the Legends of Tomorrow trailer, it seems likely that another iteration of the fastest man alive will be introduced.
We’v already written about another multiverse theory that could be at play: season 1 of Flash ending in the “Flashpoint Paradox.” As one of DC’s most famous storylines of recent years, Flashpoint sees Barry Allen finally accomplish the goal of saving his mother Nora’s life by stopping Eobard Thawne from killing her – only the result is more terrible than Barry could’ve imagined. In stopping Thawne, Barry prevents his own origin story, never becoming The Flash; but since he and Thawne are running through the timestream when it happens, Thawne still exists as Reverse-Flash, a living paradox no longer tied to Barry’s origin story. Worse yet, the “butterfly effect” of Barry’s decision save Nora Allen while dooming the rest of the world. In the comics, it is the Justice League who all become twisted versions of themselves -with the militant forces of Aquaman and Wonder Woman pushing the globe toward annihilation.
No matter the DC Comic’s source material (Earth-Two, or Flashpoint), in the show continuity it’s not just Barry’ s fate that would change with the creation of another timeline. The end of season 1 could see radical changes coming to characters Cisco Ramon and Caitlin Snow, both of whom take on metahuman alter-egos in the comics. As fans already know, Cisco eventually becomes the sonic superhero known as Vibe, while Caitlin transforms into the icy supervillain known as Killer Frost. While it’s not particularly difficult to envision the bright-eyed Cisco we currently know as a protector of innocent lives, it is a bit hard to see sweet, warm-hearted Caitlin as a cold-blooded murderer. With that in mind, the existence of an alternate world – one in which Caitlin’s life took a different, darker path – could easily explain such a radical difference.
But it could also make things a bit tricky for the showrunners and writers. “It gets a little Rubik’s Cube-y in terms of keeping consistence between all these timelines and whatnot,” Valdes told TV Guide. “But the writers have their stuff together. If I were to trust anyone, it would be them.”
Indeed, the writers have so far successfully balanced both Arrow and The Flash – despite one minor scheduling error – but then again, those were only two shows existing on a single playing field. With the addition of Legends and alternate “worlds” for CBS’s Supergirl and TNT’s Teen Titans – both which may or may not coexist with The CW’s superhero line-up – one minor error could be enough to tear the entire interconnected dimensional fabric apart. That’s worst case scenario, though.
It’s also unlikely, considering this is not the first time television has breached dimensional tales and dopplegangers. The success of high-concept shows like Lost and Fringe – both of which happily induced headaches by exploring parallel dimensions, nonlinear timelines, and alternate selves – has paved the way for The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and DC in general.
The Flash season 2 begins airing on The CW in Fall 2015, along with Arrow season 4. Supergirl will debut on CBS in November 2015. DC’s Legends of Tomorrow will air on The CW during the 2015-16 season. Titans is expected to debut on TNT during the first half of 2016.
Source: TV Guide