Now well into its third season on The CW, superhero drama The Flash has changed a lot since its premiere almost two years ago. The show has grown from simply being a spinoff of sister series Arrow into a complex show that explores time travel, alternate realities, and even parallel universes. And thanks to these reoccurring plot devices, the cast of The Flash has managed to remain relatively the same over time, with the actors instead getting to play many different versions of their characters.
Tom Cavanagh, for instance, is one cast member of The Flash who has remained gainfully employed by playing Dr. Harrison Wells across many different incarnations. In season 1, Wells actually turned out to be villain Professor Eobard Thawne, aka the Reverse-Flash, from the future. Then in seasons 2 and 3, Cavanagh has portrayed Earth-2’s Harry and Earth-19’s H.R., both from parallel universes.
But another actor who is also making good on The Flash‘s unique premise is 1990’s The Flash star John Wesley Shipp. On this series, Shipp plays Barry’s father Henry Allen, who was killed last season by Hunter Zolomon, aka Zoom. Fans probably thought that was the end of Shipp’s run on the show, until it was later revealed that his character also exists on Earth-3 as Jay Garrick, another identity of The Flash. Jay was last seen returning to his world, but new reports say that he’ll soon be back.
In an interview with CBR, Shipp admits that we’ll see a lot more of his new character in the second half of season 3, when we’ll also finally learn more about the mistakes Jay told Barry he made when he first became a speedster. Shipp teases that storyline hasn’t been forgotten:
“Well, those hints keep being dropped. I mean, it’s very interesting to me, and I’m going to figure in more prominently in the second half of the season than the first. You just asked one of my questions, because nothing is wasted, I think we’ve seen in this show. So anytime something like that is dropped — and there’s more of it tomorrow night! — there are more… As I said, I’m most involved in this episode than any episode I’ve done on this show so far. So we get to see Jay dealing with this young speedster, we get to see his reaction to Savitar, and there really are some curious things that Jay says that make me, John, wonder, ‘Okay, what’s coming?’”
In the interview, being posted in full tomorrow, Shipp also ponders the rise in popularity of comic book movies and TV shows and what it means for those actors who made it big playing those same characters decades ago. While he is currently a guest star on The Flash after playing the role in the 90s, Helen Slater (1984’s Supergirl), Dean Cain (1990’s Superman) and Lynda Carter (1970’s Wonder Woman) have all appeared on Supergirl.
Clearly, it’s not just the newest crop of actors who are getting to play multiple characters in comic book-inspired works, but it’s also a luxury for the ones who came before. Still, Shipp is taking his participation all in stride, saying: “One thing I love about the comic universe is the legacy and the lineage and — to be part of that group as an actor who played Barry 25 years ago, and now as Golden Age Flash, and seeing it from a whole different perspective — is quite unique.” It’s a big world for superheroes right now, so it’s fair to honor those who came before while exploring many new directions.
The Flash continues Tuesday with ‘The Present’ @8pm on The CW.