What could we see in a Flash TV show?
James speculates on the plots, villains, and cameos of The CW's planned Arrow spin-off featuring DC character The Flash...
The CW's President recently confirmed that the network was planning to introduce The Flash into its Green Arrow-meets-Smallville series, Arrow, with a view to spinning the character off into his own series. In series two of Arrow, episodes eight and nine will feature Barry Allen before a final appearance in episode twenty acts as a back-door pilot. Understandably, this got us thinking – what might a Flash show be like? And what might go into it? Here are our predictions and speculation.
The CW has already confirmed that the version of The Flash we're going to see will be Barry Allen. No surprises there, given that he's the most famous person to wear the superheroic identity over the years. But that does leave multiple other versions of the character who could potentially be drawn upon to provide a supporting cast.
While Allen's origin story will be told in Arrow, it does seem likely that at some point – whether in the near or long term – we'll see the other Flashes turn up too. Warner has never been shy about throwing characters from the comics into the likes of Smallville and Arrow, if only to fuel fan speculation and interest, so it's a virtual certainty we'll see them at some point. But when? And how?
Well, Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash, would make a fantastic mentor figure along the lines of Jor-El in Smallville. Perhaps with fading superspeed of his own, Garrick could educate Allen about the Speed Force and the true scope of his abilities. Wally West, meanwhile, could be introduced as a less certain element – maybe a friend, maybe a rival, depending on how much they want to play up the familial connection. Allen's grandson, Bart Allen (aka Impulse) would obviously be hard to include if they're youthing-up the character of Barry Allen, but when you're dealing with superspeed, time-travel isn't ever out of the question…
As for love interests, there's only one real option: Iris West, the woman Allen eventually marries. We'd expect to see a version of the character based on the New 52 incarnation – someone who initially interacts with Allen through their work, rather than as a purely romantic interest.
So far, Arrow has steadfastly avoided introducing actual superpowers into its storylines, relying on street-level villains and the likes of Deathstroke, Deadshot and China White to give the show a link to the DC universe without displaying any of the more overtly fantastical elements. Clearly, if The Flash is going to arrive in Starling City, that's going to change.
As well as opening up more possibilities for Oliver Queen's enemies, it's also going to mean that The Flash can potentially deal with super-powered villains from day one. Indeed, he'll probably have to if the producers want to keep his powers from giving him too much of an advantage- you can only deal with speeding cars and runaway trains once or twice before it becomes repetitive.
The problem with that is that The Flash isn't historically considered to have one of the DC Universe's finest rogue's galleries. We're not entirely sure that Reverse Flash can make the transition to TV without looking ridiculous, and the same goes for the likes of Gorilla Grodd and Captain Boomerang. Similarly, the last thing we want is for The Flash to have to fight speedsters every week. Just to pull some names out of thin air, we can imagine Dr. Light making a good Flash villain – after all, nothing's faster than light – as would Mirror Master, whose powers would similarly give him the ability to travel distances faster than the Flash without the tedium of actually having to run between them. Mirror Master was also a villain in the original Flash TV series from the 90s, so there's precedent!
DC Comics might have failed spectacularly at exploiting any of its non-Batman or Superman properties in the movies, but let's be fair to them – they've found a formula that works on TV. Smallville ran for a ridiculous ten seasons, and even though Green Arrow isn't exactly a name draw, his own series has made it to a second year. It's no surprise that Warner is planning to bring The Flash to screen in the same way.
This mode has an advantage: it helps get people interested in their B-list characters ahead of the inevitable (although increasingly late) Justice League movie. Marvel had a film each to introduce their canon before Avengers, but if DC and Warner play their cards right, they can jump straight into a Justice League film confident that most of their audience will have at least a passing familiarity with the guys who aren't Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.
Of course, the problem with linking up Arrow, The Flash and potentially the still-moving Wonder Woman series, Amazon, is that they'll end up diluting the very property they're seeking to promote. It won't be quite as exciting to see a Justice League movie if we've already seen the junior version on TV. Admittedly, they could put those versions of the characters onto the big screen alongside Snyder's Superman and Batman, but that's a risk we're not sure Warner would want to take if they want to truly compete with the all-superstar cast of Avengers…
There are a few things we already know for certain about the way the new Flash TV series will be constructed. The creative minds behind the show have confirmed that he will have the Flash costume and code-name, and that he will have super-powers – there's not going to be any tenuous workaround. We also know that his show isn't going to be as dark as Arrow, and that he won't be taking any other characters from Arrow with him. Both reassuring moves.
Still, whether we're right or wrong about the direction they might take the series, we're always going to be excited for more quality superhero television. Let's hope The Flash TV series is exactly that!
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