Zoom is coming. These three words flashed across the screen during the Warner Bros. television panel at San Diego Comic Con 2015, bringing the season one highlight reel of The Flash to a powerful close. The overarching villain of the second season will indeed be Zoom, another speedster that promises to be even more sinister than season one's Eobard Thawne.
Since the initial reveal, little information has been released about Zoom and how he will be incorporated into the upcoming season. The character's identity and origins are shrouded in mystery and the producers remained tight-lipped about his ties to his comic book counterpart. There have been a number of casting announcements leading up to the season two premiere, but no word yet on who might be under the main villain's mask.
However, Variety reports that The Flash has tapped horror movie icon Tony Todd (Candyman) as the voice of Zoom. The character will make his first appearance in the second episode of the season, "Flash of Two Worlds", and will have appearances throughout the remainder of the season. Executive producer Andrew Kreisberg explained the reasoning behind hiring Todd to do voice work only, citing the added mystery and Todd's reputation.
"Part of the mystery of the season is who or what is underneath the Zoom outfit, and so we wanted to do something like James Earl Jones as Darth Vader -- this iconic voice coming out of this mask. Last year, we thought of the Reverse-Flash as a speed warrior; this year, Zoom is like a speed demon, and no one does demon-voice better than Tony Todd."
Kriesberg went on to describe the look of Zoom:
"The Zoom outfit is much more organic than the Reverse-Flash suit. In a way, it's hard to tell if it is a suit or alive... There's no skin showing, for all you know there's a robot underneath or dark energy"
During Flash season one, fans were quick to speculate that newcomer Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) was somehow related to the Reverse-Flash. It didn't take long for the series to confirm that identity, trading the mystery for a high stakes game of cat-and-mouse between himself and Barry Allen (Grant Gustin). Kriesberg confirmed that this next season the mystery will be central to the plot, leaving fans guessing "who's under the mask?"
That said, Zoom is an established character in DC Comics continuity. Going into the second season, most fans will assume that the villain is Hunter Zolomon and that any details contrary to that are simply misdirection. Kreisberg cautions that while they respect the source material, they are not strictly beholden to it.
"... I think we've shown up until this point a great deal of respect and reverence for the source material, so that we always feel like we're fulfilling the comic book fans' expectations while also not spoon-feeding them stuff directly from the comics... hopefully comic book fans will be happy because we've come up with a clever way to spin the tale."
The second season of The Flash is going to introduce the multiverse, not only setting the stage for the return of characters like the real Harrison Wells, but giving the writers plenty of room to draw in characters from alternate realities. Zoom has always been a Flash villain, but the character is most closely associated with Wally West. It's been assumed that Wally will come from the same universe as Barry, but it's possible both he and Zoom come from another reality, one more in line with pre-New 52 DC continuity.
At this point there are still more questions than answers. However, considering the success of the show's first season, there's good reason to believe that the creators have something special in store for Zoom and Wally in season two.
The Flash returns for season 2 on Tuesday, October 6, at 8pm on The CW; Arrow returns for season 4 on Wednesday, October 7, at 8pm on The CW; DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is expected to air on The CW in early 2016.