When we first heard about the inclusion of Barry Allen a.k.a. The Flash (Grant Gustin) on Arrow season 2, there was some question as to whether or not the character - a lighthearted superhero with quasi-magical super powers - could fit comfortably in the gritty, vaguely realistic universe created in Arrow season 1. Of course, that was before all the other crazy stuff was introduced in Arrow's second season (Black Canary, the league of assassins, super powers, and bad guys galore). Suffice it to say, Barry fit in just fine by the time he arrived.
Now that we know The Flash is officially getting its own pilot - instead of a backdoor pilot as was originally planned - we're starting to get some news about what that might entail (character descriptions, interviews, et cetera). Today, we learned that Ernie Hudson is up for a role.
Hudson cut himself off for a moment, perhaps for fear of giving away too much information, before finally saying:
"[Barry Allen's] dad has a problem."
Anyone who read our previous story about the Flash character descriptions likely already knows which character Ernie Hudson will be playing if he gets the part. Here's the description in question, just in case you need a refresher:
"DETECTIVE WEST - Late 40s to Early 50s - African American - Detective West is an honest, blue-collar cop who's seen it all. A soulful, funny caring father to Iris, and a surrogate father to Barry, West came up through the foster system himself. He took in Barry after his mother's murder and his father's imprisonment. He believes in Barry and supports Barry's efforts to prove his father's innocence."
For those who don't know, Detective West is the father of Iris West, who, in the comics, went on to marry Barry Allen. She was also the aunt of Wally West (a.k.a. Kid Flash I a.k.a. The Flash III) and grandmother of Bart Allen (a.k.a. Impulse a.k.a. Kid Flash II a.k.a. The Flash IV). That's a lot of Flashes.
While Ernie Hudson is best known for his role as Winston the fourth Ghostbuster in Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2, he's also made a pretty solid career out of playing police officers a la Detective West - including Sergeant Albrecht in The Crow, Sergeant O'Malley in Airheads, DEA Agent Baxter in For Which He Stands, Detective Gresko in Best of the Best 4, Detective Glen Teal in Red Letters, Detective Ron Mills in Paper Bullets, Senior Deputy John Henry Barnes on 10-8, Detective Ridley on Desperate Housewives, Captain Frank on Private Practice, Captain Lubbock on Heroes, and the list goes on. Obviously, Detective West won't be too much of a stretch for him.
As for the problem Barry Allen's dad has, Barry spelled it out pretty clearly on Arrow: When he was a child, his mother was murdered by a "blur" (probably the Reverse Flash), and because the police don't arrest homocidal blurs, Barry's father was charged with the crime instead. Now, some 15 years later, Barry is working as a Criminal and Forensic Science Assistant for the Central City Police in hopes of finally solving her murder.
Fans of The Flash will doubtlessly recognize this origin story - murdered mother, incarcerated father, Reverse Flash's involvement, et cetera - as the one Geoff Johns created for the Flash's semi-reboot in Flash: Rebirth (2009-2010).
While some bemoaned Johns' injection of grim-n'-gritty into the backstory of one of the last remaining superheroes whose parents deaths didn't inspire him to don a mask, there's no doubt that a little mystery works wonders for a serialized live-action show. And if the tone, whimsy, and leitmotif used in the Barry Allen episodes of Arrow are anything to go by, the producers are heading down the right path already.
What say you, Screen Ranters? Are you looking forward to seeing Ernie Hudson as Detective West in The Flash TV show? Drop us a line in the comments.
The Flash will probably debut in fall 2014. We'll keep you apprised of any new information as it becomes available.
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