Warning: potential SPOILERS for The Flash
The Flash TV show may be showing some love to Batman Beyond with its new "schway" vocabulary, but those new hints at Nora Allen's future may have revealed the REAL reason she has been forced to change history - and save her father for the biggest battle he never got the chance to fight.
Not only does Nora's connection to the future of the DC Universe spawn new theories linking the Arrowverse to the world of Batman Beyond, but may actually answer one of the animated show's most nagging mysteries, too. But to get into that realm of rumor, research, and tin-foil-hat conspiracy theories, fans first need to understand the true meaning of the word "schway." And trust us, once we outline our heartbreaking theory... you may never watch Batman Beyond the same way again.
- This Page: The Origins of Batman Beyond's 'Schway'
- Next Page: Does Reverse-Flash WIN in Nora's Future?
Nora Brings Future Slang To The Flash
The main slang terms added to the Flash mythology with the arrival of Nora are "grife" and "schway," and both are some of the show's best Easter Eggs to date. In the case of the former, "grife" has its roots in the Legion of Super-Heroes. By the time the 30th Century rolls around and the future heroes organize into their most well known society, "grife" becomes one of the foremost curse words shouted when a plan takes a turn for the worse.
Fans can theorize about the ways that Nora would pick it up... especially if her time-hopping, universe-altering father wasn't around to bring her face to face with the likes of Saturn Girl, or Lightning Lad (whom Nora also namedrops in her first appearance). But the mystery of the word "schway" is easier for fans to identify... the clue it may offer about Nora, Iris, and the Arrowverse's future, however, will be easier to miss.
The Meaning of "Schway"
For many fans watching the first and subsequent episodes of The Flash Season 5, the first use of the word "schway" to describe something that appears "cool" will be instantly recognized as a nod to Batman Beyond. The animated series (and later comic book) set far into the future of DC's current universe, where an elderly Bruce Wayne trains a teenage Batman introduced the term "schway" serving the same function. But the show never actually explained the origins of the word, or why it existed as one of the only made-up terms distinguishing the Beyond future of Neo-Gotham from the current version.
Fortunately, a mystery that glaring does come with a massive clue. In developing their future city and style, the creators of Batman Beyond turned to some of the most well-known films to ever make use of a future, cyberpunk-ish aesthetic - Blade Runner chief among them. And just like Ridley Scott's combination of Western/American visuals with those of an Asian metropolis, Batman Beyond's skyscrapers were marked with as many Chinese (even Cyrillic) characters as English ones.
So if you pose the question "what does 'shway' mean?" to someone familiar with Chinese languages specifically, they'll be quick to tell you that it looks and sounds like the standardized Mandarin word "shuài" - typically meaning "nice" or "handsome." A perfectly believable evolution of American and Chinese citizens and their vocabulary.
So where does the clue towards Nora's secret, or the hint that "schway" may actually mean trouble, if the timeline in which The Flash takes place eventually evolved into that of Batman Beyond? Well, as we mentioned before, hardly any other Chinese terms or characters are featured prominently in the Batman Beyond series or the comics. But the one fans have never missed - and which has no actual explanation - is the Chinese word and character huang.
Or as it's translated to in English... Yellow.