Barry Allen's (Grant Gustin) absence in the beginning of season 4 of The Flash will have an effect on the other members of the West family. The season 3 finale saw Barry sacrifice himself to the Speed Force prison in order to protect his family and friends - including fellow speedster Jay Garrick (John Wesley Shipp). Since then fans have been left wondering what that cliffhanger will mean for the show's upcoming season and how the rest of our heroes will fare without the Scarlet Speedster.
The current season of The Flash will pick up six months after the events of the previous season. The trailer for season 4 shows the repercussions of Barry's choice as his fiance Iris West (Candice Patton) takes on a new leadership role on the team in his absence. And we know she isn't the only one stepping up. Wally West (Keiyan Lonsdale) is also getting in on the action, suiting up in Barry's costume and acting as Central City's solo speedster.
In an interview with CBR during San Diego Comic-Con, The Flash actors spoke of how their roles have changed with Barry gone. Patton discussed the opportunity her character has been given to work alongside her brother.
I think it’s a great dynamic, because now they get to work a little more closely together. Kid Flash has kind of had to step up to take over Barry’s shoes, and so now Wally and Iris are kind of co-workers, essentially. That kind of dynamic we saw in the Flashpoint episode, this brother-sister team up, which is really cool.
One of the strongest parts of the short lived "Flashpoint" storyline on The Flash was the relationship between Iris and Wally as crime fighting brother and sister. It's nice to hear that dynamic will be back in season 4. Lonsdale also agrees that the West siblings have grown closer through their shared tragedies.
It only makes it stronger, I think. I think [Wally] definitely feels even more closer, especially to Iris, because he knows what she’s going through. Even if they may not talk about it, they can vibe each other. He’s really looking out for her best interests, so I think a lot of — even in a sense of being this team — he also knows how much that means to her, dealing with this whole loss of Barry.
As for proud father Joe West (Jesse L. Martin), he is just happy to see his children reaching their full potential. Says Martin:
Joe takes a bit of pride in both the kids, because Iris sort of takes over at STAR Labs and she becomes more of a leader there. She’s sort of calling the shots for the entire team. Wally is stepping up. I mean, I think one of the things we did in the show that I didn’t particularly love is we sort of infantilized Wally. He was always the kid. Of course, he’s Kid Flash, but still! He’s a growing man. So Joe gets really proud to see Wally step up and actually be the superhero that he always wanted to be.
Essentially getting rid of your lead actor could be a dangerous idea on some shows, but it looks like The Flash is using Barry's absence as an opportunity. Giving the co-stars a chance to shine on an ensemble show is rare. It will be a welcome change to see how the gang at STAR Labs gets along without Barry. It will also be interesting to see what his (eventual) return will mean for everyone's place on the team, including his own.
The Flash season 4 premieres October 10 at 8 PM on The CW.