The Arrowverse's “Crisis on Earth-X” crossover event has offered an intriguing backstory for Tom Cavanagh's Dark Flash. The yellow-suited speedster villain, who is fighting alongside the evil Earth-X doppelgangers of Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen and Melissa Benoist’s Kara Zor-El, claims to be the original Eobard Thawne from Earth-1. That’s the same Eobard Thawne who killed the parents of Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen, took the face of Harrison Wells, and installed himself within Barry’s superhero origin story.
Longtime followers of The CW’s DC universe will have reservations about accepting this backstory. After all, Cavanagh’s Thawne was erased from existence in The Flash season 1, when his ancestor (Rick Cosnett’s Eddie) killed himself and deleted his descendant from the timeline. Thawne reappeared in The Flash season 3’s Flashpoint episodes and multiple installments of Legends of Tomorrow season 2, sporting his original face (played by Matt Letscher). Eobard was erased from existence for the second time when Grim Reaper of Speedsters, the Black Flash, caught up with him in the Legends of Tomorrow season 2 finale.
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But in the second part of the on-going “Crisis on Earth-X” crossover, Cavanagh’s Dark Flash introduced himself as the original Eobard Thawne, “direct from Earth-1.” Explaining away the fact that he looks like Tom Cavanagh again instead of Matt Letscher, Thawne simply said, “Do you like my face? [...] I thought I’d put it on again. You know, for old times’ sake. Plus: handsome.”
Acting as something of a cipher, Barry said exactly what the viewers were thinking: “I watched you die.” But Thawne simply shrugged it off, offering only this nonchalant statement as an explanation: “Or did you? With time travel, Barry, it’s so very confusing. I always seem to be saying that to you, don’t I?”
You might suspect that this Dark Flash character is lying about his origins simply to rile up Barry. Perhaps he is actually the Eobard of another dimension, and he just wants to get under the skin of Earth-1’s Barry Allen by pretending to be his original nemesis.
However, Barry doesn’t seem to be nearly as skeptical as you might expect. He described the Dark Flash to the team at STAR Labs as “the Thawne from our Earth”, accepting at face value the backstory that the Dark Flash offered. It’ll be interesting to see if the second half of "Crisis on Earth-X" crossover offers any more explanations about this, or attempts to fill in the gaps between the Legends of Tomorrow season 2 finale and Eobard's alleged return.
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