Forgive the somewhat painful pun, but news about The Flash – The CW’s planned Arrow spin-off – is coming fast. Just yesterday, the announcement seemingly came out of nowhere, and now there is a flurry of new information about Barry Allen’s introduction into DC’s TV universe and his presence in Star City during the second season of Arrow.
Read what Arrow producers Andrew Kreisberg and Geoff Johns said during a conference call on how much we’ll see of Barry Allen, what made the character right for such an undertaking, superspeed, Greg Berlanti’s love of The Flash, and more.
It really started with Greg Berlanti. The Flash was his favorite character, as a kid, growing up, and he’s obviously been a strong personal favorite of both Geoff [Johns] and mine. So, when Greg approached us, one day, and said, “Hey, what would you think, if we did The Flash as a spin-off?,” all of us lit up. Despite the fact that he’s got superpowers, I think there’s something relatable about Barry, of the big seven of The Justice League. He got his powers by accident. He isn’t a God. He isn’t an alien. He wasn’t seeking this out. It came to him. And his reactions to that feel very human and grounded. I know that’s a word we use a lot on Arrow, but that’s how it really feels. Oliver Queen is a very dark and tortured soul, and Barry is not. I think it will be fun to see these two characters together because they both have distinctly different world views while both caring very deeply about right and wrong.
That’s Andrew Kreisberg and he isn’t kidding when he says that The Flash is a strong personal favorite of Johns’. The comic scribe helped bring Barry Allen back to life for good (as much as one can) in the Flash Rebirth comic, had a five-year run as the primary Flash writer in the early aughts, and authored the DC Univers-altering Flashpoint storyline.
Sadly, Arrow fans aren’t going to get the fully powered up Barry from the comics, though – or at least not at first. Here’s Kreisberg on Barry Allen, the man.
When we first meet Barry Allen, he’s just a forensic scientist working for the police department. He’s just an ordinary man, when we meet him. As we always do on ‘Arrow’, we try to keep things as grounded and realistic as possible. That’s how the audience will be introduced to Barry and get to know him, before his life gets a little bit faster.
See, I’m not the only one who is guilty of painful Flash/speed puns, but while Kreisberg later added, “He will be The Flash” when answering a follow-up question, the big reveal is how the Arrowverse will handle the existence of super powers. Here’s Johns and Kreisberg on that.
Johns: We looked at it as Barry Allen. When he first appeared back in the ‘50s, he ushered in the Silver Age of DC superheroes. In the same way, he’s going to usher in some new and pretty insane concepts to the Arrow world, but in a very grounded way.
Kreisberg: The important thing is that our characters, who people have really come to know and like, will react to the extraordinary changes to their world, hopefully in a very realistic way. These “powers” won’t be treated as commonplace, on the show. They will be extraordinary events and the world, and our characters in it, will react accordingly.
Speaking of worlds, it seems as though episodes 8 and 9 will have more to do with what Kreisberg called Barry Allen’s “profound impact” on Oliver Queen’s life in Star City and their superhero team-up (Oliver and Barry will absolutely interact) and less to do with setting up his own world in Central City.
For that challenge, Johns, Kreisberg, and Berlanti will get some help from Arrow pilot director David Nutter, who will helm episode 20, which Johns said will show “Barry Allen and The Flash’s world starting to form, in earnest”.
Now, that doesn’t mean that we’ll see Central City or The Mirror Master in what sounds like a backdoor pilot for the spin-off series (sorry David Cassidy), but maybe if means that we’ll get a chance to see The Flash use his superspeed, an SFX challenge that has always hung over speculation about past live-action Flash projects.
Here’s Johns on the thought process behind that particular challenge.
It will be very different. It will not be blurring around. It will be very different. […] There’s also some wonderful visuals in The Flash comic book, currently, that we’re looking at because they’re really inspiring. Also, there’s a DC animated film, called Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, and there’s some sequences in there. I’ve never seen super-speed like that before, especially towards the end. We’re getting inspired by every incarnation of The Flash, everywhere, and beyond that.
So, superspeed, a confirmed superhero team-up, and the presence of Johns at the inception of an off-shoot of what has thus far been a satisfying (though not seamlessly faithful) bridge from comics to live action: is it time for Flash fans to start getting cautiously optimistic about this project and about the potential for DC’s now suddenly fertile TV universe?
Arrow returns October 9th on The CW. Stay tuned to Screen Rant for more news on The Flash.