As comic book fans and Arrow enthusiasts eagerly await the first episode of The Flash, the showrunners are making it clear that the pilot episode really is just the tip of the iceberg. It's hard to think of an aspect of the series' starting point that hasn't been featured in several TV spots and promos, but the latest trailer focuses not just on Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and his powers, but the brave new world of heroes and villains he'll meet - not all of whom will be as well-meaning as Barry.
It's wise to start addressing the issue of superpowers head on, since even though Arrow (Stephen Amell) himself will cameo in the pilot episode, the two shows appear to be polar opposites. Where the show that kicked off DC's TV universe sends a son on a mission for revenge, The Flash blesses an unsuspecting young man with super-speed thanks to a physics-defying disaster. Powers alone don't make a hero, and the video again teases that it's Barry's friends who will help him accept his new calling.
Fortunately, he'll be forced into action by other 'metahumans' putting their own gifts to use - starting with Weather Wizard. The threat of tornadoes may be Barry's first hurdle to overcome, but it won't be the last: the showrunners have already cast Girder (Greg Finley), The General (Clancy Brown), and Plastique (Kelly Frye). Not to mention a superpowered series regular presumed to be helping Barry in protecting Central City.
Given how secretive Warner Bros. has been in developing its DC Comics characters on film, it's still startling to see how quickly - and ambitiously - the Flash and Arrow teams are expanding on their shared universe. It's still unclear how much Arrow will be brought into a metahuman future; fans already know to look forward to a sizable crossover event, but Starling City's vigilante has his own iconic foe to tangle with in the coming months.
Optimists would say that Arrow may have gotten enough mileage out of its grounded, realistic tone by now, and the arrival of a superpower serum in the last season is evidence. The CW is clearly looking to build a singular, cohesive TV universe, and if this video is a sign of what's to come, then an even larger presence of metahuman threats may lie in Oliver Queen's future as well.
All ambition aside, the number of metahuman villains being cast for The Flash, the presence of another strong Justice Leaguer at his side, and the wealth of DC Comics easter eggs packed into the latest Flash poster raises a question: could The CW be planning much, much more than two parallel series in the immediate future? Only time will tell. But now that The Flash is embracing superpowers wholeheartedly, anything is possible.
The Flash premieres Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 @8pm on The CW.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce for updates on The Flash as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.