The Flash, CW's modern spin on DC's famous super speedster, was already on our radars as one of the big shows to look out for in 2014. Now, fan interest has been piqued even further with the announcement of an exciting new cast member.
It seems that young Grant Gustin, who first appeared as Barry Allen (a.k.a. The Flash) in CW's current show Arrow, won't be the only actor on set to have donned the famous lightning bolt.
According to THR, John Wesley Shipp - who starred as Barry Allen in the short-lived 1990 TV series - will appear as a mystery character in the pilot episode of The Flash. Shipp is probably best known for his role as the crimson speedster, but he also played the father in The Neverending Story II, the father in Dawson's Creek, and an evil father in Teen Wolf. (Basically, he's played a lot of fathers.) If the new Flash series gets a full series order, Shipp will become a recurring cast member.
So who might Shipp end up playing? As soon as the news broke, fans everywhere immediately speculated that Shipp could play a version of Jay Garrick. For those not in the know, Garrick was the original Golden Age Flash (you might recognize him from his winged, metal helmet), so having Shipp play that role would be a fun, tongue-in-cheek acknowledgement for fans of the 1990s series.
Of course, that could just be wishful thinking. Still, Garrick makes a certain amount of sense given Shipp's background and age. Then again, he could also be playing Barry Allen's father, who was falsely imprisoned for the murder of Barry's mother and will likely play a large part in the show's story. On Twitter, DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns has been playing coy abut the casting, and it's doubtful we'll get much confirmation in the short term.
Whatever role Shipp does end up in, he's fortunate to be involved in a production like Flash. While there's still a long way to go for the series, the strength of Arrow is working in its favor. Additionally, a greater emphasis on sci-fi storytelling as opposed to the straight crime drama/soap opera of Arrow, could help bring in a wider audience.
Let us know what you think of this surprise casting and who Shipp might play in the comments.
The Flash is expected to air on The CW in the fall of 2014.