[WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for The Flash season 2 finale.]
The writers of The Flash dropped one heck of a bombshell in their second season finale - or, more accurately, multiple bombshells, whose total impact on the shared universe populated by The Flash, Green Arrow, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow is hard to judge just yet. It would have been enough to shock fans with the reveal that Henry Allen's doppelganger was Zoom's masked prisoner, OR that the man was actually Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash of Earth 3. But by combining the two, they may have set the stage for the next chapter of The CW Arrowverse as a whole.
Since Jay's departure from the show may have happened just minutes after he was revealed in his full costume, casual viewers could suspect that his part has been played (for now). Fan service, the return of a 'deceased' man, and nothing more. But with Jay's own super team already teased in Legends of Tomorrow, the actor in the part hints that a more substantial role is coming soon.
When he was first added to the cast of the show, fans voiced one hope above all others: that actor John Wesley Shipp, having played Barry Allen himself in the 1990s TV show following the same DC hero, would now play Barry's older Golden Age predecessor Jay Garrick. It would have been poetic on more levels than one, but the show managed to be just as sentimental and nostalgic casting Shipp as Barry's father, Henry.
The finale showed that the writers managed to do both, while still sticking with the comic continuity. Henry Allen WAS Jay Garrick. Or, at least he was on a different Earth.
But in speaking with Variety, Shipp makes the connection that some fans might be afraid to - that his introduction as Jay Garrick doesn't just mean a return appearance on The Flash's show, but a significant role to play as part of the Justice Society of America, already shown to be a Crossover entity:
"The palette is wide open. The thing they love to do at the end of the season is they introduce so many different elements that could go in so many different directions. For me, personally, as an actor, Henry Allen was rather closed-ended, he was there for a purpose, he served his purpose, it was time for him to die. The fact that I’m now getting to morph into an entirely different character that is so important to the Justice Society of America, which also bleeds into “Legends of Tomorrow,” he’s such an important character to this whole world – it just opens up enormous possibilities for me as an actor going forward, and the challenge for me, having played Henry, is that I now get to create an entirely different character going forward. And how that affects Barry – because Barry’s going to want to lean on this guy who looks just like his father but is not his father – that can create a whole bunch of psychological conflict too. I’m as excited as you are to see how all of this will play out."
It's still not clear just what role the Justice Society of America will play in Season 2 of Legends of Tomorrow, but it sounds like Jay Garrick is going to have his hands full.
What did you think of the reveal? Are you thrilled to hear that Jay Garrick (and Shipp) could become a major player in this universe? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and whether you would like to see more of Jay in the future.
The Flash will return to Tuesdays on The CW in Fall 2016.