[WARNING: This article contains POTENTIAL SPOILERS for The Flash TV series.]
There aren't many literary devices that can break a story's logic like time travel, but that's clearly not scaring off the minds behind The Flash. It may have seemed that linking the world of Barry Allen with that of Arrow would make the speedster's fantastic time-bending powers even less likely; yet the producers have been teasing that the ability wouldn't be ruled out, so even optimistic fans hoped they had only years to wait for Barry to throw time out of order. But according to a new series description, Barry's gift for changing history could play a much large role in the story.
To this point, there's been plenty of reasons to suspect that time travel could play a significant role in the TV series in one way or another. We'll steer clear of spoiling the show's first episode (for now), but suffice to say that the show's writers aren't shy about dropping serious hints that Barry Allen's history with the timestream is common knowledge for any comic fan. And when the show's executive producer mentions "Crisis on Infinite Earths" by name, secrecy over Barry Allen's past and future is clearly not a priority.
But speculation was newly fuelled when SpoilerTV reported what appeared to be an extended synopsis of Episode 1 - titled "City of Heroes" - that explicitly confirmed that not only would Barry Allen be tied to a mysterious "energy" (read: Speed Force) but that he will gain access to moments "out of time," whether set in his past or future.
That choice of words can actually be found on DC Comics' official website, and while exact details are impossible to glean, it seems that The CW's showrunners aren't hesitating to make their plans perfectly clear:
Standing still emotionally since the day his mother was murdered (and his father unjustly jailed for the crime), Barry was taken in as a child by the investigating Detective West and raised in a cop’s home alongside West’s supersmart daughter (and Barry’s dream girl) Iris. But when an unexpected and devastating accident at the S.T.A.R. Labs Particle Accelerator facility strikes Barry, he finds himself suddenly charged with the incredible power to move at super speeds.
While Barry has always been a hero in his soul, his newfound powers have finally given him the ability to act like one. With the help of the research team at S.T.A.R. Labs — including billionaire visionary Harrison Wells, biogenetics expert Caitlin Snow and the eternally upbeat Cisco Ramon — Barry begins testing the limits of his evolving powers and using them to stop crime, ensuring that no one suffers a similar tragedy to his own family history. Working with his adopted father Detective West, West’s conceited partner Detective Eddie Thawne and Iris West, who’s earning her degree in Criminal Psychology, Barry uses his superhuman abilities to help the people of Central City and stop the rogues’ gallery of villains — many of whom have also been altered by the particle accelerator explosion.
Concealing his identity behind his incredible velocity, Barry can not only accomplish feats faster than human comprehension, but also taps into an energy that allows him to access moments out of time — both past and future. With a winning personality and a smile on his face, Barry Allen — aka The Flash — is finally moving forward in life… very, very fast!
It doesn't take much imagination to see why Barry Allen will have reason to put his mastery over time and space into work; with his mother's death destroying the life he might have had, the chance to catch her killer - before committing the act - could be impossible to pass up.
Since executive producer Geoff Johns having used that very theme in his recent Flashpoint event, it was inevitable that Barry would start to consider altering time... in time. We just didn't expect to see Barry's 'Cosmic Treadmill' any time soon.
The question of Barry's ability to travel through time will be easier to discuss once the show's first episode has been seen and dissected by fans (along with the multiple hints contained within), but despite what this synopsis might claim, we would advise that fans shouldn't hold their breath just yet. Aside from the obvious problems that any sense of time travel would bring, the show's runners seem to have a hard enough time sharing the metahuman-filled world of Central City with the grounded characters of Arrow's Starling City.
It's safe to assume that more details or hints will be given soon, so viewers can get a sense of just how far into the future (pardon the pun) Barry's experiments in history-altering may be. The scarlet speedster owes his costume to the brilliant minds at S.T.A.R. Labs, but a time travel device seems like it would require a bit more research. That being said, The CW now has one massive twist with which to rewrite much of their budding TV universe, should they need one.
Are you thrilled to hear that time travel is being openly discussed as a part of The Flash, or do you have concerns over how it might be used by the showrunners? Are there any specific comic book stories you would hope to see adapted once Barry learns to break more than just the sound barrier?
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.