Contortionist Troy James has been cast in the role of Rag Doll on The Flash. The disconcertingly flexible actor will be appearing as the triple-jointed DC villain in the upcoming season's fifth episode, which is titled "All Doll'd Up."
First appearing in 2016's The Void, James has quickly made a name for himself among horror aficionados. He has played monsters in a number of films and television series, including The Strain, Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments and Channel Zero. He is most famous to mainstream audiences, however, for his appearance in season 13 of America's Got Talent, where his act got him to the Judge's Cut round, but he failed to make it to the quarter-finals.
TV Insider broke the story of James' casting. It is said that James will be playing Peter Merkel - the first incarnation of Rag Doll from the comics. This is an important distinction given that several villains have used the Rag Doll name over the long history of the DC Comics' Universe and all of them have distinct personalities despite a shared skill set.
The Peter Merkel Rag Doll was an enemy of the original Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick, first appearing in Flash Comics #36 in December 1942. The son of a carnival barker who was born with a rare form of triple-jointedness, the sideshow performer turned his talents to crime when his circus career hit a slump. Merkel dressed as an oversized rag doll and arranged to be delivered into various department stores and toy shops so he could burglarize them after hours, counting on the police not to believe any reports of a doll coming to life and robbing someone.
The reason Merkel was chosen out of all the different Rag Dolls may lay in the 1994 comic book series Starman. This series introduced a retcon, which transformed the Peter Merkel Rag Doll into the leader of a murderous cult in his later years. Given that the main villain of The Flash's fifth season has been confirmed to be Cicada - another Flash villain who led a murderous cult - it's possible that the two villains may be working together.
This is pure speculation, however, as James has yet to be confirmed for any episodes past "All Doll'd Up." It is interesting to note, however, that the producers of The Flash seem to be introducing more of the classic JSA villains into the series this season. The new season has also confirmed the inclusion of The Icicle - a Golden Age Green Lantern villain, armed with an freeze ray, who was the Captain Cold before Captain Cold. All that can be said for certain now is that bringing Rag Doll to life will not be a stretch of James' talents.
Source: TV Insider