‘The Flash’ TV Series Makes Changes To Comic Characters; Bumps ‘Arrow’ Ratings

Published 1 year ago by , Updated December 5th, 2013 at 5:26 pm,

The Flash TV Show Cast Details 570x294 The Flash TV Series Makes Changes To Comic Characters; Bumps Arrow Ratings

It looks like The CW can breathe easy about their upcoming series The Flash, as the character’s first introduction on last night’s episode of Arrow drew plenty of viewers. More than any episode this season, in fact, with a reported audience of 3.165 million – a 22% jump from the previous episode.

With that kind of attention it seems that a Flash movie is a no-brainer, but for now, fans have the TV show starring Grant Gustin to look forward to. And the recently leaked character descriptions of his closest cast members show that the writers are making some serious changes to the source material.

Though his arrival on TV screens came as a bit of a surprise, momentum surrounding Gustin’s ‘Barry Allen’ has been growing consistently. The showrunners of both Arrow and his standalone series felt Gustin was a perfect fit for the character – enough to cancel the plans for a backdoor pilot altogether, and commit to launching his own series on its own. With his debut, fans got to see what all the fuss was about.

Gustin proved that he has the charm to stand alongside Arrow‘s leading man Stephen Amell in The CW’s budding DC universe, but he won’t be able to carry the load himself when his series debuts. For that, showrunner Andrew Kreisberg looks to be turning to Barry Allen’s longtime love, Iris West.

Arrow Stephen Amell with Grant Gustin The Flash TV Series Makes Changes To Comic Characters; Bumps Arrow Ratings

But if the character descriptions of Iris and her father (uncovered by Bludhaven Banter) are any indication, the show’s writers are looking to make some changes:

IRIS – 22-28 – African-American – As smart as she is beautiful, Iris is in grad school studying psychology. She’s also Barry’s mile a minute, fast-talking, quick-witted best friend. Her father, Detective West, took in Barry when his mother was murdered, and his father was wrongly accused and imprisoned for her murder. In a tough childhood for Barry, she was the one “not tough” thing. She’s unaware of Barry’s strong feelings for her.

DETECTIVE WEST – Late 40s to Early 50s – African American – Detective West is an honest, blue-collar cop who’s seen it all. A soulful, funny caring father to Iris, and a surrogate father to Barry, West came up through the foster system himself. He took in Barry after his mother’s murder and his father’s imprisonment. He believes in Barry and supports Barry’s efforts to prove his father’s innocence.

These descriptions are not yet official, but if they are, it looks like Kreisberg and The CW are looking to add a bit of diversity. Obviously the idea of changing the ethnicity of a comic book character is going to raise the same old arguments that we’re not particularly interested in addressing (for those interest, we’ve already made our opinions clear). But it’s the other changes to Iris West’s character, and the introduction of Detective West that have our attention.

Normally portrayed as a reporter in Central City, Iris West will be re-imagined as not an admirer of Barry Allen’s alter ego, but his childhood best friend. For the most part, the years of Barry Allen’s life following the death of his mother and subsequent incarceration of his father are somewhat ambiguous in the comics. And rather than shying away from answering decades-old questions, Kreisberg’s team is taking the opportunity to distinguish their character from those that came before.

The Flash TV Show Iris West The Flash TV Series Makes Changes To Comic Characters; Bumps Arrow Ratings

By presenting Iris’ dad as a caring, adoptive father-figure to Barry, fighting alongside him to prove Barry’s father’s innocence makes one thing clear: The Flash will likely not be as bleak as Arrow. At least, the pieces are in place to do something markedly different. With a more fantastical premise and a more lighthearted actor, The CW seems to be straying from the Christopher Nolan influence that shaped Arrow‘s first season – something that’s probably for the best.

Not that it wasn’t the proper approach for a character like Green Arrow (an admitted knockoff of Batman). But if Barry Allen was scarred by the loss of his parents or father figure, only to find romance with a somewhat public figure possessing, say, an overbearing father, the show would be sharing a lot in common with Arrow. And if DC and Warner Bros. seem to be planning for a big screen incarnation of The Flash as well, then we say the more – and more different – the merrier.

What do you think of the changes reportedly being made for The Flash’s foray into television? Is it encouraging to see that Kreisberg’s team is charting their own course, or worrying? Share your thoughts in the comments.


We’ll keep you updated on The Flash as details arrive.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Bludhaven Banter (via CBM), ComingSoon

Follow Andrew Dyce on Twitter @andrew_dyce
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  1. Only ONE thing worries me….. “Iris is unaware of Barry’s strong feelings for her”

    Please, please, PLEASE don’t become a soap opera / teen trama / Dawsons Creek bag of garbage.

    Episode 1 – Barry saves her, she learns “secret identity”, they get it on, THE END. She can then use her psychology to identify bad guy motives, patterns etc. and be suitably worried when Barry has to zoom (lol) off to beat up some bad guys with his speed fist

    At least Oliver and Felicity KNOW they have feelings for each other and that Oly won’t act on them so it’s not a wholly terrible story point.

    • Dude… it’s a show on the CW. Soap Opera Drama is part of the package. It’s like a take it or leave it deal. Arrow has it a bit toned down since Season 1 but it’s still there… all pervading.

      • That above, lol.

  2. Eh I don’t mind it. Of all the “Serious Changes” I’m sure the show will make, that one doesn’t really bother me.

  3. I strongly disagree with this one! The only reason here is to have an African American Wally West! You can see that coming!
    Once it does Gustin better watch his back because it’s only a matter of time until he’s killed off.

    • It appears we don’t get a Wally West at all because there’s no Rudy—Iris’ brother.

  4. So they’ve just debuted a TV Flash and now they’re casting someone else to make a cameo in Batman v Superman? Why????? There is no reason for competing visions. If Grant Gustin’s Flash is in the Man Of Steel universe, so what?

    Gustin looks to be a good Barry. The storyline and aesthetic changes of Iris aren’t that big a deal – Iris being a reporter was always a ripoff of Lois Lane anyway.

    Horrible, horrible decision not to make it “one” universe.

  5. Well, I am looking forward to a new black female leading lady on TV. But I’m not sure why the actress has to be specifically African-American, can’t they just leave casting open-ended for women who are Hispanic, Arab, Asian, etc? Or better yet make an original character, like Diggle on Arrow. Also, a black Iris West is technically racebending. CW knows they need to be mindful of diversity but I’m just sayin’.

    • Because that would make to much sense!

    • I really don’t get WHAT Hollywood’s incessant need to replace white characters with black ones in comic based stories is, it appears to be a watershed event though. Is Affirmative Action giving them some sort of kickback for every replaced character?

      As you said, if this TRULY is about international diversification, where are the ethnic representatives?

      • So, it’s ok for them to replace black characters with white characters? I don’t get why people think that it is wrong and have temper tantrums when a white character is replaced with a black actor and actress? Why do people make a big deal about us wanting to see someone who looks like us on TV, in the movies, and in other artistic ventures? Is it wrong for us to want to see good role models that look like us? Why can’t black actors and actresses be cast to play important roles, big roles, and for them to be cast to play roles that are based on the typical stereotypes that people associate with all black people?

        • I don’t believe there’s any problem with casting African American actors/actresses in tv shows/movies as main characters. I think the real issue is how this trend results in the original story being changed in regards to the comic’s characters. I don’t know about others but in my opinion, if a character in a comic is Caucasian, why does that need to be changed? For international diversity? A better solution would be to add an original character who would fit the profile. If staying true to the comics is considered racist then I suppose I’m the one who’s really confused….

          • “I don’t know about others but in my opinion, if a character in a comic is Caucasian, why does that need to be changed? ”

            - Because they didn’t find any caucasian actresses they felt fit the role. Simple. It’s only a problem is the source material stems from something in the real world. Books, comics, etc. are fair game. After all, that’s always been the case when it comes to people feeling it was alright if characters of color were played by white actors/actresses. Case in point: the Akira casting call listings.

    • Yeah, I hate that.

      Hollywood diversity is: 20 white people, 1 black person.

      So, there are like what, 2 races? Well, there are Middle Eastern terrorists and Asian assassins. And black people must always be best friend sidekicks to white people (NEVER ALLOW A SHOW TO DEPICT A BLACK PROTAGONIST WITH A WHITE BFF SIDEKICK, THAT WOULD BE INSANE). All good-natured white people have a black person as their best friend, but just one. Too many black friends, and that’s creepy. It’s like owning too many cats.

      Seriously, politically-correct people are usually very racist.

      I also question the changing of races quite often. It’d be one thing to do open casting, and a person of a different ethnicity gets the role. But the recent pattern seems to be a mandatory casting of black people for once white characters. It’s like there’s an insistence it has to be this way. How about more characters of races that aren’t white with the following two traits: (1) if they’re black, they don’t have to have the word black in their superhero/supervillain name (2) just because they’re black they don’t have to be African royalty or if they’re of Chinese descent they’re not from China

      Seriously, why can’t more stuff be like Harold and Kumar? They’re both of Asian ancestry, but they’re just American guys. And they do stuff completely unrelated to race at all (even though they do encounter some racist people that bring up their race).

  6. Amber Stevens as iris west, or Lyndsy Fonseca as iris west, blair underwood as Ira west, or idris Elba as Ira west.

  7. Whatever happened to just casting the best actor available for the part, and letting the racial component out of it?

    • I love that idea @Captain Robert April!! That is too much like right, so they have to make a big production about it.

    • This isn’t a new movie its a remake of books that are beloved and followed so characters already have an established image and story that matters and needs to be followed. Fans and people will expect an on screen transaltion that’s stays true to its original and they are not expecting a directors new vision and take on the original. So they need to stay true to it and follow the original script and vision of its creator and writer. Fans who come to watch remakes of their favorite comics or books are expecting to see exactly that not some new vision or something new just like if people go watch a movie about Nelson Mandela or Ali they are expecting someone that’s Black to play the role not white or who’s best for that role same applies to any character of other ethnic background meanings if the character is Asian then the actor playing that charcaters should also be Asian and look the part. The person who’s best for the role in these cases has to fit the role and image of the established character as much as he needs to know how to act. There’s nothing racist about wanting and expecting someone who looks the part and this and the whole being PC trend of Hollywood is just starting an issue that isn’t there or needs to be because this isn’t hard to understand. Sad part they aren’t doing it for no other reason then trying to reach a wider demographic of audience to make more money which I understand but they could easily do that without messing with beloved characters and simply adding new characters into the story and so on. Neermind that there’s plenty of superheroes and villians of all different color and ethnic backgrounds to choose from so really there’s no need for this and to stir the pot. If this was a whole new movie and story written by the director then I could understand just choosing whoever they feel is best for the role but that’s not the case.

  8. I did not say black people can’t wear red… Look at it this way. Look at John Stewart and his costume. The green and black is well complemented by the color of his skin. It fits. Now make the green in his suit red. That looks weird, right? Now keep the red, and make John white. The red suddenly looks better. Brown and red do not contrast eachother in a nice way, or at least that is what I think.

    • I would say that you are sadly mistaken because there are shades of brown that look good in red. I know this because I am one of those people. So, hell no it does not look weird, but you sound like you have an issue with John Stewart being played by a black man. Your ignorance is showing for you to claim that brown and red do not contrast each other in a nice way. If you do a little research, you will find that brown is a neutral color that contrasts well with red. Wow,”the red suddenly looks better”; hell no it doesn’t, but I’m sure that you “have” a red neck. I can almost bet that the guy in the green costume will not be black because Moors skin color is not black. We are brown and copper skin tones. If you look in an old unabridged webster; the definition of black is one who lacks hue, who are pale, without color, or to be bleached.

  9. Technically, his two-part appearance is still considered a back-door pilot by definition. It can’t exactly be said that they scrapped the idea.

  10. I simply cannot imagine an Iris West that isn’t a ginger lol. All in all, I wish they would stay true to the comics. Iris should stay as a reporter. Have Barry’s childhood take place in an orphanage. Even the fact that Grant Gustin’s hair isn’t blonde and eyes aren’t blue bothers me a little because it’s not true to comics lol, but he plays a good Barry Allen.

  11. There were plenty of character changes in the original Flash TV show, so there’s no problem doing it here, as long as those changes make sense to the character. In the 1990 show, Barry’s mother wasn’t killed and his father wasn’t in jail for the crime. Those are integral to Barry’s life as a forensic police scientist, and help drive his persona as the Flash.

    Francis Manapul’s excellent changes to the character’s powers should be included in this adaptation. Those changes are the best things to happen to the Flash since Carmine Infantino.

    • @Hypoxic “In the 1990 show, Barry’s mother wasn’t killed and his father wasn’t in jail for the crime. Those are integral to Barry’s life as a forensic police scientist, and help drive his persona as the Flash.”

      Well maybe that didn’t appear on the 90′s show because that backstory was written in 2009 (The Flash: Rebirth).

  12. I’m cool with these character changes. Granted, I’m not a hardcore Flash follower. There are so many female characters who are reporters in comic book stories that I don’t mind some of them being given different careers or identities. News reporters are not the thing that they used to be in the world, anyway.

    My main concern is that the show might be too lighthearted. No, not ever DC property need be Nolanized, but nothing kills like a tone that is too jokey and disposable.

  13. Am I the only one that’s noticing Iris is an only child? I mean doesn’t she have a brother—Rudy…? It’s really confusing, without Rudy there’s no Kid Flash (Wally West). As in Wally would not exist at all, not even in the far future.