As a spinoff from Arrow, The CW’s older DC Comics superhero series, The Flash quickly gained popularity in its own rite with fans and casual TV viewers alike. In the first season, The Flash followed Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) as he developed his powers of superspeed to the point that he could travel through time, and the show introduced the concept of the Speed Force. The season 1 finale saw Barry dealing with the emotional and moral question of whether to alter his timeline by changing the past.
Going into season 2, it has already been revealed that the show will explore a multiverse – a universe with multiple and alternate timelines. While at Comic-Con International in San Diego, Gustin and The Flash showrunner Andrew Kreisberg teased how time travel and the multiverse will come into play in season 2.
Kreisberg spoke about the technical aspects of crafting a time travel story, which can become bogged down in the viewers’ questions about how it works. To avoid too much confusion, Kreisberg explained that it was important to give the story an emotional root; in season 1, that entailed Barry dealing with the question of whether or not he should save his mother.
Read Kreisberg’s full quote:
“I think when you do anything like time travel, obviously time travel is not real, so everybody sort of has their theory on how it works. I think what was important for us was that it…more than making logical sense, it had to make emotional sense. As long as you understood what’s happening to characters emotionally and as long as you understood what the stakes were, I think any of these, if you start going backwards on it, you’re like, ‘Well, wait a minute. I went back three levels, and if that happened, then wouldn’t that have affected that?’ It’s like you can really sort of stopgap the logic of it so much. We feel like we have our roles…there certainly is cause and effect, that time is not immutable, that time can change. Our entire series takes place in an alternative timeline from the one that should have existed.”
Of course, many questions still arose during the course of The Flash’s first season in regard to time travel and the Speed Force, which were only given brief explanations. However, The Flash seemed to be largely successful in anchoring the show with Barry in an emotional storyline that fans could easily follow.
That being said, certain relationships, particularly between Barry and his friend/maybe-love-interest Iris West (Candice Patton), may not have carried the same emotional weight as others. Still, Barry’s relationships with his mother, his father Henry Allen (John Wesley Shipp) and Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) provided enough of an emotional anchor for season 1.
Meanwhile, Gustin addressed how the multiverse will impact certain storylines from season 1, mentioning that a new version of Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) will be introduced from a different timeline. As for when Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) – the first hero to go by the name The Flash in the DC Comics – will appear in season 2, Gustin said fans should expect him “sooner rather than later, potentially.”
In terms of whether another season 1 character would appear again on The Flash, Gustin spoke about Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett). In the first season finale, Eddie saved his friends from Reverse-Flash – his distant relative Eobard Thawne disguised as Wells – by turning his gun on himself. However, according to Gustin, because of the time travel and multiverse elements of the show, the character could return later on:
“They said when Rick Cosnett was leaving the show, just for personal reasons, there’ll be ways to bring him back. Obviously it’s true. There’s time travel in the show. But yeah, we have a multiverse on the show that anyone who has died can still be on the show.”
Cavanagh returning to The Flash is one case, since viewers didn’t actually meet the real Harrison Wells until late into the first season. Rather, the character that had helped Barry develop his abilities was Eobard Thawne. So, introducing an alternate timeline version of Wells could provide new character drama. Eddie’s storyline, however, doesn’t have that same potential.
Of course, those fans that enjoyed Cosnett’s turn as Eddie will surely be be happy to hear that he could potentially return. And, as Gustin said, that’s one benefit to introducing the multiverse on The Flash: characters can return in the form of different versions from another timeline.
Still, if characters return from the dead too often, it can negatively impact the stakes of the show – there won’t be any risk if characters never truly die. Besides, with Jay Garrick, Wally West, Professor Zoom and others joining the series for season 2, there will be plenty of new faces on The Flash.
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.