It's not easy for any Rogue to debut alongside the Reverse-Flash, but that isn't stopping The Flash. With the scarlet speedster's arch-nemesis apparently already having his scenes filmed, yet another member of Barry Allen's Rogues Gallery has been added to the cast. This time, it's Andy Mientus (Smash, Chasing Life) who has landed the role of Hartley Rathaway a.k.a. the Pied Piper, in what is another step for The CW towards promoting diversity in their most-watched programming.
The casting announcement comes courtesy of TVLine, after rumors suggested that Rathaway - a brilliant scientist in his own right, presumably working at S.T.A.R. Labs prior to its famous disaster - was actually included in the pilot's original script. Those who saw The Flash's series premiere know that was eventually changed, but there's a good chance that Rathaway could play a larger role in the show's future.
In the original comics, Rathaway was born deaf (later cured) and devoted his substantial intelligence towards the study and manipulation of sound waves. Initially embracing the role of the Pied Piper and hypnotizing the citizens of Central City with his signature flute, it was only Wally West taking up the mantle from Barry Allen that led to significant expansions on his character.
In short, Rathaway became one of the few Rogues to reform and actually stay on the right side of the law. As a close personal friend to Wally, Rathaway even ended up working against the Rogues on a number of occasions. But what Hartley Rathaway is arguably most well-known for is his title as one of the few openly-gay DC Comics characters. And if the showrunners' commitment to honoring the source material - while continuing to represent the diversity they believe to exist in their audience - wasn't clear enough, their decision to cast Mientus - himself an openly gay actor - makes their intentions clear.
Of course, the sexuality of either the character or the actor isn't the be-all, end-all of Rathaway's potential. It merely falls in line with the other DC Comics adaptations being brought to TV: Arrow's Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) has had romantic relationships with both men and women, and even Fox's Gotham has implied that Barbara Kean-Gordon and Renee Montoya have a romantic history.
The broad acceptance of those characters shows that audiences are all in favor of adapting characters as a whole, and it's worth mentioning that Barry Allen's boss, Lieutenant Singh (Patrick Sabongui) also happens to be gay (and a partner of Rathaway in the comics, as well). But for all the speculation surrounding the character's role in both The Flash's plot and The CW's promotion of diverse casts, there's one couple already set for a rocky romance.
The couple in question is Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell), with the latter presumed dead following the S.T.A.R. Labs' particle accelerator incident. But Raymond wasn't killed in the explosion; he was fused with Dr. Martin Stein (played by the recently-cast Victor Garber) to become the superhero known as Firestorm. Although the real action will come when that side of Amell's character is featured in official images, but what looks to be a flashback sequence is better than nothing.
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What do you think of the casting? Are you interested to see how closely the writers stick to the comic book source material of both these future Flash-allies? We'll keep you updated as more of the Rogues are confirmed, and when the showrunners finally start teasing Ronnie Raymond's superpowered persona.
The Flash airs Tuesdays @8pm on The CW.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce for updates on The Flash as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.