The Flash is back for its third season, and this time, it’s Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) who is the savior of Central City. At least, it looks that way for the season premiere, where Barry Allen’s (Grant Gustin) latest jaunt back in time to save his parents has changed everything. That’s right, we are kicking things off with Flashpoint – and Wally West is finally going to be an on-screen speedster.
Fans of the comics have been waiting for this moment since Wally first showed up in season 2. In the DC Comic universe, Wally is a major character, and a speedster hero in his own right. Starting his superhero career as the Scarlet Speedster’s sidekick, Kid Flash, Wally went on to take up the mantle of The Flash after Barry’s death. For a time, he was a faster and more powerful Flash than his mentor, and there are even some things that he can do that Barry can’t. In fact, there is a whole lot more to Wally than just his time as a superpowered sidekick, and we’ve rounded up some of the most interesting tid bits about this phenomenal character.
Here are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Wally West.
15. He’s Iris West’s Nephew
In the comics, Wally West and Iris West-Allen are nephew and aunt. Although we don’t see much of Wally’s parents, we do learn that Iris and Wally’s fathers are siblings. Wally first came to Central City to visit his aunt Iris, who was engaged to Barry Allen at the time (but unaware that her fiancé was also The Flash).
In the CW series, this has been changed considerably. Instead of his aunt, Iris (Candice Patton) is Wally’s sister, bringing the two characters much closer in age. This new family connection also gave us a complicated relationship between Wally, Iris and their father, Joe (Jesse L Martin), as Iris grew up with Joe believing that her mother was dead. Wally, meanwhile, grew up with their addict mother. Joe and Iris didn’t even know he existed until he showed up on their doorstep one day. Although this is a fairly big change from the comics, his connection to Iris (and through her, to Barry) is the key element that remains.
14. He’s Not The Only Kid Flash
Like many other comic book titles, both The Flash and Kid Flash have been passed on to multiple heroes over the years. When Wally first gained speedster powers, he became Barry Allen’s sidekick. As the younger and less experienced of the two, he was quickly nicknamed Kid Flash, and kept the name for many years. He held the mantle until Barry’s death in Crisis on Infinite Earths, at which point Wally came out of retirement and took up the mantle of The Flash. His original moniker of Kid Flash was then passed down to new speedsters.
The second Kid Flash was Bart Allen, Barry Allen’s grandson from the future, who started out as Impulse before becoming a Teen Titan and changing his name. A version of Iris West has also taken up the Kid Flash name at one point, albeit in an alternate reality. This Iris West is the daughter of Wally West and Linda Park (and isn’t the same as the Iris West of the TV show, who is Iris West-Allen in the comics), and has the ability to vibrate through solid objects. On Earth-22 (Kingdom Come), Iris has grown up to be a heroic speedster, using both The Flash and Kid Flash as her titles at various times.
13. His Full Name Is Wallace Rudolph West
A lot has changed since Wally first made his appearance on the pages of a comic book in 1960 (The Flash #110). While most changes in the real world have been reflected in the pages of comics (increased diversity, LGBT characters, updated language and costumes, etc), the characters’ names have remained the same through the years. This has led to some fairly uncommon monikers for our favorite heroes – including Wally West.
Not only is ‘Wally’ a very unusual name these days, it’s actually a nickname. Kid Flash’s full name is even less likely to be heard in the schoolyard in recent years: Wallace. His middle name is equally amusing to modern readers: Rudolph. Now associated with a certain red-nosed reindeer, Rudolph used to be a normal, everyday kind of name, and it was Wally’s father’s name as well. Despite the fact that Wallace Rudolph would be an impressively unusual name to have in 2016, DC doesn’t change their heroes handles, so Wallace Rudolph it remains.
12. He Grew Up With Stargirl
Before Wally came to Central City to visit his aunt Iris and become a speedster (more on that in a moment), he lived in a small town in Nebraska. His hometown is named Blue Valley, and like most of DC’s towns and cities, it is purely fictional. However, it has been described as being southwest of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Wally lived there with his parents, although we don’t know too much about them (other than the fact that Iris is Wally’s father’s sister).
Before becoming the Scarlet Speedster’s sidekick, Wally was a huge fan of The Flash, and he even ran the Blue Valley Flash Fan Club. After he retired from the Teen Titans, Wally returned to his hometown to go to college (before coming out of retirement to become The Flash himself). Wally isn’t the only hero to hail from Blue Valley, either. Courtney Whitmore, aka Stargirl, also grew up in Blue Valley with her stepdad, Pat Dugan.
Stargirl is set to make her Arrowverse debut this fall in season 2 of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, though it remains to be seen whether her character will maintain her hometown connection with her old pal Wally. Given her place in the timeline of the series (as seemingly revealed in recent promotional material), it doesn’t appear likely.
11. He Got His Powers The Same Way Barry Did
Most of the speedsters in the DC universe gained their powers in different ways, although almost all of them are connected to the Speed Force. However, Wally and Barry got their powers in identical ‘accidents’ (which were later revealed to be the Speed Force ‘choosing’ both of them intentionally). Originally, Barry Allen got his speed when he was working in the lab one night – a bolt of lightning came through the window and struck a rack of chemicals, which spilled all over the young scientist. When he woke up, he was a speedster.
Later, when Wally West was visiting Central City, he was introduced to The Flash by Barry Allen. Wally and the Scarlet Speedster went to the lab where Barry had his accident so that Wally could see where it all began… and just as The Flash was explaining it to him, Wally was struck by a second mysterious lightning bolt that went through a rack of the same chemicals. Immediately, he was able to keep up with The Flash, and later became his sidekick, Kid Flash.
10. He’s Had A Range Of Other Super Names
Wally West is primarily known as two superheroes; originally he was Kid Flash, and he later became The Flash. But these are far from the only monikers he’s adapted over the years. He’s been called the Worker Superhero, the Crimson Tornado, the Keystone Cop, Facets, and the Wizard of Whiz, among others (although most of these have been used very infrequently, and were never really taken on as an official title).
The Crimson Tornado may be connected to the way that Wally refers to his children (Jai and Iris) as the ‘Tornado Twins’, although two of Barry and Iris’ children have also used that team name in the past. The Keystone Cop refers to his time in Keystone City, of course, where he lived in the ‘80s. Wizard of Whiz, meanwhile, is another name that Wally has shared with his mentor, Barry Allen. Similarly, Wally has also been called The Fastest Man Alive – a title that usually goes hand in hand with The Flash.
9. He’s Married (With Kids)
In the DC Comics universe, Wally started out as a kid, but he’s since grown up and gotten married with kids of his own. Wally fell in love with Linda Park, a TV reporter in Keystone City. The two got off to a rocky start, as they met when Wally was under investigation for the murder of missing children. However, once he proved his innocence, romance started to blossom.
The two had a tumultuous relationship – not because of their personalities, but because supernatural forces kept getting in the way! The two did eventually marry, and Linda became pregnant with twins. After a period of time on an alien world (because nothing is ever simple in the Flash universe!), Linda returned to Earth and the normal timeline with the children. The twins are named Jai and Iris (after Wally’s aunt), and both have speedster powers like their Dad. We’ve seen Linda Park in the CW series (played by Malese Jow), although she and Wally have yet to meet.
8. He Has A Direct Connection To The Speed Force
The Speed Force is a term that often comes up when talking about the Flash Family, as it is a vital part of their powers. An energy source of sorts for speedsters, the Speed Force is also seen as an alternate dimension, one that various characters have found their way into over the years. While most of DC’s speedsters are connected to the Speed Force, Wally West’s relationship with it is absolutely unique.
Others can tap into the Speed Force for their powers, but Wally is an actual conduit for it. Unlike the other fleet-footed heroes and villains, his powers and connection to the energy field cannot be severed, and his mainline to the Speed Force grants him powers that other speedsters don’t have, including the ability to survive off the energy of the Speed Force itself, travel through dimensions, and steal and lend speed. The Speed Force has been mentioned in the CW series, but not yet fully explored – perhaps a new focus on Wally will lead to a greater understanding of it.
7. He Was The First Flash To Return From The Speed Force
As part of Wally’s unique connection to the energy source, he is able to enter and leave the Speed Force dimension at will – something that the other speedsters were unable to do before he managed it. (Most are still unable to do this.) When Wally first took up the mantle of the Flash, he had the same connection to the Speed Force that any other speedster before him had had. However, when he had a vision of his girlfriend Linda Park dying at the hands of Kobra, he had to go faster than he ever had before. He ran so fast that he turned into pure energy, and found himself in the Speed Force itself!
Although a character named Max Mercury had previously told Wally that there was no way to return from the Speed Force, his love for Linda was so powerful that he was able to find his was out just to get back to her. When he returned, he did so with altered powers and a new connection to the Speed Force entirely.
6. He’s Died (And Been Resurrected)
In the world of comics, death is rarely the end… and that goes for Wally West too. (It also applies to Barry Allen, who has died and returned in the DC Comic universe.) He first seemed to die when helping out Rip Hunter during Zero Hour, but was actually only thrown through time. He soon returned to his own timeline, safe and sound.
His second “death” occurred when he entered the Speed Force to save his true love, Linda Park. He was presumed dead when he disappeared, as no one had ever come back from the Speed Force before. However, as we already saw, it was Wally’s love for Linda that allowed him to be the first to return, which was seen as a return from the dead. More than that, he’s even outrun death itself! That may not be an official resurrection in the eyes of some, but in our book, it’s simply another occasion on which Wally managed to cheat death.
5. He’s Done A Lot Of Time-Travelling
Time-travel is a huge part of the Flash universe, and we’ve already seen plenty of it on the CW series. Since Barry Allen first learned that he was able to travel through time, he seems to be constantly popping back and forth – with disastrous consequences. In the comics, Wally West has done more than his fair share of time-travel, adding to an already incredibly complex Flash family tree. He has helped out Rip Hunter (who leads the team in Legends of Tomorrow) in an attempt to save the timestream, and accidentally gone back in time to appear in his own past as an “uncle” at a family gathering. One another occasion, he (along with several other speedsters) combined forces with Barry Allen in the 30th century to battle Cobalt Blue, Barry’s evil twin. During the events of Final Crisis, Wally and Barry found themselves in the future once again, having outrun the Black Racer.
4. He Was Stuck In The Speed Force
Although Wally West has the ability to move in and out of the Speed Force at will most of the time, he was recently revealed to have been stuck in the Speed Force for an entire decade. After the events of Flashpoint, the DC timelines were converged, and the original Wally no longer existed – or so we thought. The speedster had apparently managed to escape into the Speed Force, and from there, he eventually found a way to project himself onto the New 52 Earth.
He wasn’t yet entirely returned, but once he was able to connect with Barry Allen, Barry’s memories of Wally came flooding back, and Wally became part of DC’s universe again. His return did more than that, however. Wally had actually saved the entire pre-Flashpoint universe when he fled into the Speed Force, which resulted in the on-the-page reasoning DC’s Rebirth. This recent event undid some of the mess left by Flashpoint, allowing old and new continuities to come together, and bringing the original Kid Flash back into the world of comics.
3. There Are Two Wally Wests Now
Although the original Wally West was instrumental in DC’s Rebirth, and didn’t actually exist in the New 52, there is an entirely separate, New 52 version of Wally. This Wallace West is also Rudy West’s son, a speedster that was struck by lightning and goes by the name of Kid Flash. His physical appearance is hugely different, of course, from his hair and skin tone to his costume (which is red and silver, rather than red and yellow).
After the events of Rebirth, this Wally West was retconned to become the son of Daniel West, and cousin to the original, now returned Wally West (who is son to Rudolph West). What this boils down to is that now there are two Wally Wests in DC, both speedsters who have been Kid Flash. The Wally West that we know from the CW series has more in common with the New 52 version than the original Wally, although he isn’t identical to either.
2. He Was Voiced By Lex Luthor
Wally West was a fan-favorite and series regular in Bruce Timm’s DC Animated Universe of the early ’00s, and to many ’90s kids, he’s the one true Flash. In the Justice League animated series in which he (not Barry Allen) starred as a founding member of DC’s greatest superhero team, Wally is voiced by a familiar face from DC’s live action world: Michael Rosenbaum.
Rosenbaum is best known for his time on the hit show Smallville, which charted the life of Clark Kent (Tom Welling) from high school through early adulthood. In Smallville, Rosenbaum played Lex Luthor in a new take on one of the most recognizable Superman villains. He actually voiced Lex Luthor in an episode of Justice League the animated series as well, although he spent most of his time on the show voicing the Scarlet Speedster.
Rosenbaum has worked on a host of other DC voice projects over the years as well – Batman Beyond, Teen Titans, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the Infinite Crisis video game and Batman: Arkham Knight. He’s yet to work on a Marvel project though; clearly, Rosenbaum is a DC man through and through!
1. His Car On The Flash Is A Nod To The Comics
In the CW series, Wally West wasn’t originally a speedster, but he was still obsessed with speed. When we first met Wally, he was illegally drag racing to try and earn money to pay for his sick mother’s medical bills. His talent on the road was one of many (many!) hints that Wally would eventually become the speedster that he is in the comics, but there was another layer to his racing that many fans missed.
The car that he races in the show is silver and red – a fun nod to the New 52 Wally West’s distinctive costume. This version of Wally switched up his colors from the yellow-and-red suit that he had worn as Kid Flash for decades (a color combo partially given to the Reverse-Flash on the show) to a silver suit with red accents. The car was designed to match the suit, one of the dozens of comic book Easter Eggs that the series has lovingly thrown in in the name of fan-service.
What do you think of The CW’s take on Wally West? Where do you think Rebirth will take the character? Let us know in the comments.
The Flash airs Tuesday nights at 8 on The CW.