Back at San Diego Comic Con 2019, the team behind The CW’s DC shows revealed quite a bit about next season’s big crossover, Crisis on Infinite Earths. Among the news: Tom Cavanagh (who plays the various Harrison Wellses of the multiverse) would be playing Pariah from the comics. That’s…a pretty deep cut. They could have gone deeper, sure – they could have made the Monitor’s headquarters called Harbinger-1 and have it shaped like a Dial H-hero dial like in Multiversity, or something – but this is a good one.
So who is Pariah? And why is he going to be in this story? And why is Tom Cavanagh playing him? Let’s find out!
Who Is Pariah?
Pariah is Kell Mossa, the most brilliant scientist from an undesignated Earth in the DC multiverse. He created a science experiment that would allow him to see the dawn of time, making him something like an alternate version of Krona, the Malthusian from Earth Prime who witnessed the dawn of creation that spawned the multiverse.
There are two key differences between Pariah and Krona: Pariah ran his experiment through an anti-matter chamber, and when he viewed the birth of the universe, instead of creating infinite worlds with infinite stories, Pariah helped free the Anti-Monitor and set him on his universe-collapsing rampage.
However, in the Arrowverse, Pariah is Nash Wells, one of the many multiversal Wellses we’ve met all season. Nash Wells is an arrogant adventurer who has been on the trail of Mar Novu, and well…be careful what you wish for, apparently.
Wells performs the same function in TV Crisisas in comics Crisis,but because of a change in the cosmogony of the TV multiverse, he does so in a very different way. The TV multiverse wasn’t created by a Malthusian scientist witnessing the dawn of creation. It just became – bursting out of the infinite possibility that comes from the chaos of life. So rather than witnessing the dawn of time through an antimatter window and creating the Anti-Monitor, Nash Wells, hunting for Mar Novu to try and kill him and prevent the crisis, instead finds and frees the Anti-Monitor, causing the crisis.
What are his superpowers?
In addition to freeing the Anti-Monitor, he also gave himself superpowers. Unfortunately for him, they’re all terrible.
– He’s a genius who eliminated all disease on his home Earth, only to watch its destruction.
– He’s functionally immortal. He doesn’t age, which helps him witness infinite universes be destroyed.
– He’s functionally invulnerable (with one big caveat). So when the wall of anti-matter crashes down through a universe, it does nothing to him.
– He can fly, which helps him get from place to place on the doomed Earth he’s stuck on.
– And he can teleport from Earth to Earth. Against his will. Automatically. And he only goes from one recently destroyed Earth to one that’s about to die.
He also has a killer costume, which is being replicated really faithfully for the TV version of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Check it out here!
Where is he now?
During the comic book version of Crisis on Infinite Earths, he managed to work with the heroes to defeat the Anti-Monitor. As a reward for that, he rode off into the sunset with Earth-3 Alexander Luthor and Harbinger to explore the newly merged uber-Earth. Unfortunately for him, Alexander Luthor went dark.
During the leadup to Infinite Crisis, Pariah realized trouble was brewing, so he went to warn who he believed to be the Lex Luthor of the prime Earth. It turned out to be Alexander, working to restore the multiverse so he could go home. Alexander put two in Pariah’s gut, seemingly killing him.
Later, Pariah would be resurrected by the Black Lantern rings. He witnessed the turning of the planet Xanshi, but hasn’t been active since the end of Blackest Night.
What can we expect from TV Pariah?
Well, the first thing you need to know about the Arrowverse version of Pariah is that he’s going to be played by none other than Tom Cavanagh.
“In the original comics, Pariah is very much responsible for releasing the Anti-Monitor onto our multiverse and then more bad things happen,” showrunner Eric Wallace told the audience at The Flash panel at SDCC. “For Tom to play such a pivotal character is not only exciting, but his interpretation that is bringing to it is just going to tear your guts out and make you cry.” TV Pariah performs the same function as his comics counterpart, but because there’s a big shift in the cosmogony of the TV DC multiverse
One of the keys to The Flash season 6 is that it will be broken up into three mini-seasons, which the showrunner had described as two “graphic novels” on either side of Crisis on Infinite Earths.
“The secrets of why Tom becomes Pariah are actually part of ‘graphic novel #1’ and all lead up to a very big twist at the end of the Bloodwork case that launches Crisis,” Wallace said.
So at the end of mini-season 6.1 of The Flash, Wells releases the Anti-Monitor from his cage, setting the Crisis upon the universe. As punishment, Nash Wells is forced to bear witness to the destruction of the multiverse and becomes Pariah. Cavanagh has been a fan favorite since The Flashfirst aired, though, so it’s likely Wells will find a way to serve the greater good before the crossover is done.
We’ll let you know as we get more info about Tom Cavanagh, Pariah, and Crisis on Infinite Earths.