Some truly strange days lie ahead for Barry Allen, better known to his fans is The Flash. Having achieved victory in protecting his friends and vanquishing his mentor-turned-villain - twice - Barry decided that enough was enough, and traveled back to the scene that started his life on such a conflicted path. He passed up the chance to rewrite history by saving his mother's life as a child the first time... but in the season 2 cliffhanger, threw caution to the wind.
The result, as comic book fans know, is Flashpoint. It may not be the exact same comic book story playing out on the small screen, but viewers can expect to see how things may have turned out for Barry and the assembled cast of characters, had Barry never lived with the Wests - or walked the path that led to becoming a superhero. But new villains or lost loves aren't the real reason Barry will need to be worried.
While at San Diego Comic-Con 2016, we had the opportunity to talk to star Grant Gustin about the changes in store for the world of The Flash. Naturally, the most immediate result (as teased in the season 3 trailer) is the return of the Allen family unit, with Barry's parents both alive and well. And while things may be better with his mother alive and father out of prison, Gustin offered a handful of examples of how things will be changing in unforeseen ways. Still, it sounds like a life that Barry Allen would still be willing to live:
"Obviously Barry's parents are alive,which changes the whole dynamic of our show. Barry never went to live with Joe and Iris, so Iris and Barry don't even have a relationship. Barry is still a CSI so he and Joe still know of eachother. Tom Felton's character is only on the show now because of Flashpoint and how things have changed... they'e aged Michelle - who plays Nora Allen - they've made her look fifteen years, sixteen years older than she did in the pilot and every other time we've seen her.
"So it's cool, we get to see Barry with his family as if they had always been normal. Except Barry knows it shouldn't be this way so he has this absolute appreciation for the fact that they're here in front of him. So the scenes are great right now, they bring a smile to my face."
Of course, things can't stay that fairy tale happy for long - and no, we're not talking about the two big villains on their way (one a speedster, the other Dr. Alchemy as revealed in the season 3 trailer). And for those fans thinking that Barry always has the option of simply resetting time to the way it should be if things get too disastrous in this new reality... well, we've got some bad news.
One thing that the TV version of Flashpoint will have in common with the comic is that the speedster himself remembers both of his past lives, as things were 'supposed' to be, and now are. But while that may seem like a ripcord out of Flashpoint and back to the status quo whenever the writers desire, Gustin warns that Barry might soon find himself losing control:
"Barry's the only one that knows all of the differences. And, um... they haven't told me not to say this, so I guess I'll just kind of say it: while he is the only one that knows, he does slowly start to forget the original timeline. Kind of like a Back to the Future-esque type thing, which is a pretty cool element."
How's that for a cryptic tease? Only time will tell if Barry is able to rise above the challenges, or fall victim to his own rewriting of time.
The Flash season 3 will premiere Tuesday October 4th at 8pm on The CW, Arrow season 5 will premiere in the same timeslot on Wednesday October 5th, Supergirl season 2 on Monday October 10th, and Legends of Tomorrow season 2 on Thursday October 13th.