When Barry finally escapes the Speed Force in the upcoming fourth season of The Flash, he won't be the same as when he went in. When Barry stepped into the Speed Force at the end of season 3, it wasn't his first time in the mysterious energy construct that grants him his powers. But after freeing Savitar and then Jay from the prison within, Barry's act of sacrifice has led to a much longer stay.
Thanks to the Comic-Con trailer for the new season, we know the first batch of episodes likely won't feature the Scarlet Speedster. With Central City's main hero away, Wally will be stepping up. Meanwhile, new hero Elongated Man will be making the jump from DC Comics to the show to assist Team Flash. But make no mistake: Barry will return. The question is, how will all of that time in the Speed Force affect him?
ComicBook spoke with Grant Gustin about the new season of The Flash and the actor dove into the effects Barry's tenure in the Speed Force will have on him.
“We’re not necessarily going to see Barry’s experience in the Speed Force. We’ll see kind of the effects that the Speed Force has had on Barry, and he’s been in there six months real-time. I suspect the Speed Force is kind of nonlinear with time, so Barry has experienced his entire life from start to end infinity times over since he’s been in there.”
As Gustin states, it's not as if we'll spend time focusing on Barry's journey within the Speed Force. Instead, we'll only see the side effects of his time there. Given the way the Speed Force works - and judging from Gustin's talk of how Barry will perceive time - it's a good call to not try and visualize such a confounding concept. Instead, we'll see the return of a Barry that's changed considerably from the one who entered the Speed Force.
“He’s going to have kind of an awakening when he comes out. He’s going to have some knowledge that he probably doesn’t even quite understand yet. He’ll also be little scrambled; He won’t really be himself the first time we see him.”
The idea that Barry will possess new knowledge from the Speed Force is interesting. It could be this is simply information about the past or future that could come in handy. Barry might also leave the Speed Force with access to a new set of powers or increased speed that finally lets him reclaim the title of Fastest Man Alive.
And for any fans worrying that the trauma of the Speed Force and Barry's absence will lead to another mopey season of television, the cast and creators have repeatedly assured viewers that the fun of season 1 will be back when The Flash returns.
The Flash season 4 premieres Tuesday, October 10th @ 8pm on The CW.