The world that fans have come to know and love in The Flash was turned on its head in the final moments of the season 2 finale, when a grieving Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) decided to throw caution to the wind, racing back in time to prevent his mother’s murder and thereby drastically changing the timeline from that point on. We don’t yet know the full extent of the differences in the new timeline, but the Comic-Con 2016 trailer offered a few tidbits: Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) will become Kid Flash, Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) is “the richest man in America,” and Barry is no longer part of the West family.
Of course, since most TV shows tend to stick to a certain status quo, there was a question of how long the “Flashpoint” universe (based on a story arc from the comics) would be the main setting for season 3. After all, each season of the show is 23 episodes long, and the parallel universe storyline would almost certainly get worn out if stretched that thin.
For that reason, it’s something of a relief that Gustin has confirmed, in a Comic-Con interview with IMDb hosted by Kevin Smith, that the Flashpoint arc isn’t still going to be playing out by the time we reach the season 3 finale. “I think we can state Flashpoint does not last all season long,” the actor said. “But there are permanent ramifications.” That last part doesn’t really say too much, since arguably everything that happens in the show has permanent ramifications (except Reverse Flash dying, apparently – that’s one villain who just won’t stay down), but it does raise the question of whether elements from the Flashpoint arc (such as the mysterious new dark speedster) might haunt Barry throughout the rest of the season.
Smith also brought up the moment in which Iris (Candice Patton) finally told Barry “I love you” and the two of them kissed… right before Barry set off to reset the timeline completely. The Comic-Con trailer hinted that Barry will try to rekindle his romance with Iris in the new timeline, but Gustin says that Barry’s love and guilt over his parents’ deaths took precedent over his love for Iris.
“I think that sitting on that porch, having just defeated Zoom, Iris says to Barry what he’s always wanted to hear, and he feels empty inside… As selfish as it was that Barry wanted his parents, I think it’s more about ‘these two speedsters took away their life because of me, and they deserve to have a chance at life. I can’t do this, I need to give them that chance.'”
The big question, of course, is whether Barry will somehow be able to manipulate time in a way that allows one (or even both) of his parents to survive in the timeline that audiences are used to – though that would be tricky, since Barry moving in with the Wests and joining the police department is a direct result of his mother’s murder and father’s imprisonment, and is an integral part of Barry’s back story. Will Barry have to let his mother die all over again in season 3 in order to repair the damage he’s done?
The Flash season 3 premieres Tuesday, October 4 @8pm on The CW.