Fans of The Flash have been missing Wally West, but his travels may be crossing paths with a Teen Titan – and Deathstroke’s daughter. Knowing just how far ahead the showrunners of CW’s Arrowverse tend to plan, and how their efforts to cross over shows, casts, and plotlines have defied expectations, it’s a clue that could be the key to something big. Especially when Wally West’s role on The Flash seems to be shrinking… as a new show focused specifically on DC’s Teen Titans is starting production.
It’s too soon for fans to believe that actor Keiynan Lonsdale will join Titans, since the official comments have kept those talks to a minimum. And even if it makes the most sense for Kid Flash’s character, the link between the Arrowverse and DC’s streaming service that will host Titans isn’t clear. But if The Flash keeps dropping these references to Wally and other Titans, the winks and nudges may speak louder than official denials.
She’s not the first teen hero of the DC Universe being linked to Wally West, but may be the most intriguing one yet: Rose Wilson, better known as Ravager to her soon-to-be victims.
It was only weeks ago that Wally West made his exit from the main cast of The Flash official, explaining to his family and friends that Kid Flash was bound for Blue Valley – the actual hometown of Wally West in the comics version of his story. Since most invested viewers already got the message that Wally was going to be sliding to the background of the show’s fourth season, the location didn’t seem all that important. And while Wally returned for Barry and Iris’s wedding (before it was invaded by Earth-X Nazis), he disappeared early on in the fight. But if fans assumed he was heading back to Blue Valley (relatively close, given how fast speedsters move) his absence from the show’s Christmas festivities led to a new update.
It’a Harry who inquires as to Wally’s whereabouts in the closing scenes of The Flash‘s midseason finale, with Joe West quickly explaining that his son “couldn’t make it.” Not because he’s still living his life in Blue Valley, but because he’s apparently moved on, to “Cambodia.”
The notion that Wally would want to take a break from life and travel the world isn’t outlandish – he wouldn’t be the first college-aged kid to backpack to Angkor Wat. But references like these have trained viewers to look beyond the words. And it’s safe to say that many viewers of The Flash immediately wondered if Cambodia had any significance to the DC superhero, or to the DC Universe in general.
The short answer? Yes, it certainly does.
The mere mention of “Deathstroke’s daughter” will cause confusion for fans of The CW’s Arrow, since Slade Wilson was never said to have one in the TV universe (and the version of ‘Ravager’ seen on Arrow had no family link). But it’s for a very good reason: Deathstroke never knew that he had one. In the original comic story, Slade Wilson was tasked with safely escorting a woman across a hostile border (even mercenaries get hired fo helpful work, every now and then). One thing led to another, and Slade and the woman soon carried on an affair that saw her give birth to a child some time after Slade left her in his rearview mirror.
The woman’s name was Lillian Worth. The child’s name was Rose. Not until she had reached her teenage years would Slade even know that Lillian had been pregnant, allowing him to go about forging a connection to his daughter in typical fashion. For Deathstroke, that meant manipulating and brainwashing her through violence and substance abuse (he’s a villain, remember). Eventually Rose would kick the habits, realize the truth about her villainous father, and join up with the Teen Titans as a force for good.
So what does this have to do with Cambodia? The mission Slade was sent on was to smuggle Lillian, of Hmong descent, out of Cambodia, eventually taking up residence in New York City. The original story was set in the 1970s, against the backdrop of large migrations from Southeast Asia to the United States, so the fact that Lillian left Cambodia matters less than the fact that she was Cambodian – making Rose one of the most prominent Asian-American and mixed race DC characters.
It may be speculation, but there’s really not much else that could possibly be alluded to with the country’s name, since the DC Universe has had few major (or politically correct) storylines or characters tied to it. And pairing it with Wally’s last known whereabouts, it truly seems like Wally’s on the hunt for other teenage superheroes… since Blue Valley is also where DC’s Stargirl, Courtney Whitmore, calls home. A heroine that Legends of Tomorrow fans first met when the heroes crossed paths with the original Justice Society of America, Stargirl included. The obvious timing aside, it seems the writers of The Flash have twice hinted that Wally West is seeking DC heroes his own age (while not a member of the Teen Titans, Courtney was a teen superhero with a very similar story).
Add the fact that Stargirl is a creation of Geoff Johns, and Rose’s major modern evolution into a hero took place in Johns’s 2006 Teen Titans series, and these reference get even more enticing. But surely it couldn’t all be a playful hint that Wally will find his way onto the live action Titans… right?
That’s the question we’re dying to have answered, and would have easily dismissed before The Flash started making allusions too direct for fans of the Titans and Geoff Johns to miss. It seems anything is possible in the Arrowverse, so for now, we’ll let each fan debate the pros and cons on their own.