Fans of DC Comics are likely still trying to wrap their heads around the fact that after years of waiting, The Flash will finally be coming to TV - first introduced in Arrow season 2, then headlining his very own show. But now that the showrunners have found their leading man in the form of Glee alum Grant Gustin, more details are beginning to trickle out.
The announcement of Gustin's casting raised several questions among fans, most notably whether or not The CW was going to be be rewriting the back-story of one of the Justice League's most beloved characters. It turns out Gustin - a devoted comic book fan - wasn't sure what the network had in store either, but from what he's learned so far, a massive reimagining likely isn't the plan.
Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim seems to know the risks of mixing The Flash's superpowers and the relatively grounded realism of Oliver Queen's crusade, and maintains that the differences shouldn't be an issue. Although Grant Gustin (with a name like that, we'd honestly expect him to be a comic book writer) dreamed of portraying a superhero, he knew there was one issue that might arise with Barry Allen's character. Gustin explained to E! Online:
"I got an audition and I was really excited and a little skeptical at first, because I'm a comic book fan. I know the character and know I'm a little young.
"I'm kind of running around a little bit, but mostly just for fun at this point... Just because I'm really excited... I'm a little fanboy. I'm so excited to be a part of the show."
We'll concede that we were as nervous as anyone to see the showrunners cast a young actor in the traditionally adult role of Barry Allen/The Flash, and Gustin's own concerns prove that it's a fair issue to discuss. But it's worth pointing out that the issue of age isn't quite as much of a sticking point with Barry Allen as other heroes; over the years, the banner of The Flash has been carried by several men of differing ages, so 'a young Flash' isn't the heresy some outspoken naysayers might claim.
With Gustin's age set aside (along with his hair color), the writers seem to be making some promising steps to get audiences invested in Barry Allen as the forensic police scientist first and the superhero later. As we now know, Allen will appear in two episodes of Arrow before being granted his powers; a structure Gustin confirms is the plan, adding that Allen will be characterized as an "up-and-comer" in his field of study.
Although Gustin doesn't know just how broad the writers will go with The Flash's powers by the season's end, he's seen real potential for out-of-the-box stories while digging through comic books and Arrow writer Geoff Johns' Flash runs for homework:
"We're going to be Barry Allen first in two episodes and then he'll come back later as The Flash. I haven't actually had a chance to read any scripts yet, so we'll see.
"I didn't realize before I started doing all my research that he can actually time travel, he can run so fast... I think that'd be a really fun thing to play with on the show is him kind of going to different times and experimenting with that. That'd be fun."
It's far from confirmed that the writers will be interested in going that far with Allen's character anytime soon, especially since the character's own forays into time travel tend to result in massive catastrophes (see The Flashpoint Paradox for a recent example). That said, the end of Arrow's first season more than surprised us, so anything's possible. The writers need a strong launching point for The Flash series, after all.
Whatever his age, fans will be more concerned with how The Flash actually looks when doing his crime-fighting. The last few years have seen some significant redesigns or 'updates' to beloved costumes in both movies and the comics (Man of Steel's supersuit and the New 52's Superman, for instance), so the idea of a new take on the Flash suit isn't out of the question. Especially given The CW's changes made to the Green Arrow costume.
But from what Gustin's heard so far, fans needn't worry:
"I would imagine when The Flash comes he'll be in a pretty traditional Flash costume... That's kind of what I've caught wind of."
Since Gustin is a self-professed lifelong DC fan, his words carry a bit of weight. Still, the term 'traditional' (read: red with yellow lightning bolts) covers plenty of ground where The Flash is concerned, so we'll await more details before weighing in.
What's your take? Should The CW bring their incarnation of The Flash closer to the comics than Arrow did, or keep it distinct from the film that is apparently still on its way? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Arrow Season 2 premieres October 9th, 2013 @8pm on The CW.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.
Source: E! Online