[WARNING: This article contains POTENTIAL SPOILERS for The Flash TV series.]
DC's big-screen universe may be stalled for now - than again, maybe not - but its television universe established by The CW's hit series Arrow is going strong, with its return from mid-season hiatus carrying the subplot that will spin off into The Flash standalone pilot.
With Glee's Grant Gustin in the lead as Central City CSI Barry Allen, The Flash's pilot has added Law & Order alum Jesse L. Martin as Barry's surrogate father Detective West, and as expected, we now have news of even more cast additions.
According to Deadline, Rick Cosnett (The Vampire Diaries) and Danielle Panabaker (Shark) have joined the pilot's cast. Cosnett will play Detective Eddie Thawne, described as "a recent transfer to the Central City Police Department, whose past is a mystery and who harbors a dark secret."
Panabaker's character is Caitlin Snow, "a highly intelligent bioengineering expert who lost her fiancé during an explosion at S.T.A.R. Labs." Murky histories, dark secrets, and haunted pasts - this sure sounds like a CW superhero show.
The casting of Cosnett - who has a recurring role as Dr. Wes Maxfield on The Vampire Diaries - follows the CW's pattern of placing the network's established faces into other properties. They did the same with Arrow star Stephen Amell, who had short runs on both The Vampire Diaries and 90210. Panabaker has been a familiar face on television with roles on The Glades and Necessary Roughness, and has appeared in genre films such as the Friday the 13th and The Crazies.
Perhaps most interesting, though, are the characters - Eddie Thawne is almost certainly a variation on Eobard Thawne, who in the comics goes by the codenames Professor Zoom and Reverse-Flash. The Reverse-Flash is arguably' The Flash's greatest enemy, a man from the future with all the powers of The Flash and similar fashion sense (he wears the same costume, albeit primarily yellow with hints of red; hence, "Reverse"-Flash) who is determined to ruin Barry Allen's life. He's also responsible for murdering Allen's mother via time travel, which will likely be a large part of the plot of the new series.
Likewise, in the comics, Caitlin Snow was a scientist whose body was accidentally fused with ice, which transformed her into Killer Frost. She's basically a "heat vampire" who can, for some reason, turn heat into cold. Her entire body is covered in ice and she can also create deadly ice projectiles and instantly freeze anyone she comes into contact with.
The initial character descriptions for the TV versions of Flash characters Detective West and Iris West led some to believe that The Flash would not be quite as dark and broody as Arrow, but the addition of more characters with painful backstories - with this version of Barry Allen already obsessed with solving the murder of his parents - may negate some of the source material's more colorful, fantastical and somewhat lighthearted elements.
That is, unless the creative team behind the pilot are aiming for a blend of Arrow's Christopher Nolan-influenced dark tone with some of the lighter elements of the Flash's universe. Arrow co-creators Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti have said that they intend both shows to be as distinctive as possible, so expect the Flash's adventures in Central City to deal with themes and issues similar to Arrow while keeping a somewhat more buoyant tone.
The casting announcements for The Flash are sure to keep coming, so stay tuned for more.
The Flash will premiere on The CW, most likely Fall 2014.