When The Flash was first green-lit as a series starring Grant Gustin, fans everywhere hoped that the show could find a way to also incorporate the original actor who portrayed the character in the ’90s TV show: John Wesley Shipp. There was an overwhelming response when it was revealed that he would be playing Henry Allen in the new series, Barry’s father, who is framed for the murder of his wife and sent to prison.
Barry spent all of season 1 on a mission to catch his mother’s killer (the Reverse-Flash) and prove his father’s innocence. At the start of season 2, Henry Allen is granted his freedom after over a decade behind bars. It seemed like it was only a given that now Henry Allen would figure more prominently into the show going forward. However, to fans disappointment, that wasn’t the case. The character left and only returned a few more times after that.
Joining season 2 as a new guest star on the show, was actor Teddy Sears. When it was announced that he would be portraying the character of Jay Garrick, some fans believed that he was too young for the part. Maybe something felt off because it turned out he wasn’t actually Jay Garrick after all, but rather the demonic speedster Zoom.
The Flash introduced us to a mystery that spanned the majority of its second season: Who was the man in the iron mask that Zoom was keeping prisoner? Well, it didn’t turn out to be Leonardo DiCaprio, but rather Henry Allen’s Earth-3 doppelganger Jay Garrick in the season 2 finale. Funnily enough, when it was first announced that John Wesley Shipp would be joining The Flash in a mystery role, there was instant speculation that he would be playing Jay Garrick. It only took two seasons for that prediction to be correct.
In an interview with Comic Book, John Wesley Shipp discussed his take on Jay Garrick in season 3 and how he looked to the past to prepare for this second role he would be playing on the show:
“I figured Jay is my version of Barry, 25 years later, essentially. So I went back and I watched a couple of episodes of the 1990/91 version to kind of remind myself what I did. Jay is much more reminiscent of my Barry Allen from 25 years ago than my Henry Allen. I went back and I was amazed how much attitude my Barry Allen had in some situations. I went back and I picked up that thread and I brought it forward 25 years, and tried to weave it in. I think that’s fun for the audience, too — that they will see elements of my Barry Allen in my Jay Garrick.”
Shipp went on to talk about how Jay’s resemblance to Barry’s father affects him going forward:
“Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen is the speedster of the show, so everything is discussed in terms of how it affects Grant’s Barry. When the iron mask comes off, and he sees essentially his dad, that’s kind of like a one-two punch because it’s his dad but it’s not. If the iron mask comes off and it was Henry by another name, what would be the interest in that? In conjunction with Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti, we wanted to make Jay very different from Henry.”
While Grant, the star of the series is considered by most to be their Flash of this generation, Shipp noted that there were times during rehearsals where Grant couldn’t help but bask in the fact that his co-star was once again portraying the speedster that made him famous in the ’90s:
“When Grant and I were running lines and I was being Jay, he just put his head down and started laughing. I said ‘What’s up?’ and he said ‘It is so cool watching you play this.'”
Based on official photos released featuring Barry and Jay together, it will surely be great to witness the dynamic between the two heroes as Barry adjusts to the idea that the man bearing his late father’s face is someone else entirely. Will Barry tell Jay that he is his father’s doppelganger? This and more will likely be revealed when The Flash returns for new episodes tomorrow night on The CW.
The Flash season 3 will premiere Tuesday October 4 at 8pm on The CW, Arrow season 5 will premiere in the same timeslot on Wednesday October 5, Supergirl season 2 on Monday October 10, and Legends of Tomorrow season 2 on Thursday October 13.
Source: Comic Book