Australian actor Keiynan Lonsdale will be making his The Flashpremiere tonight as Wally West. We chatted with the man himself about what it’s been like joining a show he’s already a huge fan of, the difficulties inherent in Wally’s integration into the West family, and if we will ever see Kid Flash.
Here’s what he had to say…
Wally didn’t know about his family, either.
Though it’s already become very clear that Iris (Candice Patton) and Joe (Jesse L. Martin) were not aware of Wally’s existence, it seems that the reverse is also true: Wally didn’t know about Iris and Joe. According to Lonsdale: “It’s a shock to him, as well, as it is to the other characters. It’s all new information for everyone involved, except Francine, of course.”
Speaking of Francine, Lonsdale confirmed that we will be seeing more of Iris’ mom: “Yeah, you’ll be seeing more of Francine going forward,” he teased. “And you’ll be seeing a lot more in terms of the West family. That’s where kind of a lot of the drama’s going to be is in that family dynamic. And it’s not an easy one. It’s quite a difficult transition for anyone. And it takes time.”
The relationship between Wally and Iris will take time.
Candice Patton was the first member of The Flashcast Lonsdale met, reading with the actress during his audition. This implies that Iris will be the first character from the West family that Wally will come into contact with. What will the relationship be like between Iris and the brother she never knew about?
“The relationship with Iris and Wally is cool and I think it’s going to be laid really nicely for the fans,” said Lonsdale. “To forge a bond with family, you need to have gone through a lot of stuff together and it’s really difficult to create an instant connection with anyone, but especially family when they’re kind of thrown into your life, which is what happens with Wally. He’s kind of thrown into a new family and it’s kind of hard for him to accept everyone and accept new people in his life, and Iris is one of those people.”
It will not be family at first sight.
Lonsdale elaborated on how complicated Wally’s integration into the West family will be, saying that “even though he can tell that these are good people and, if you’re going to be brought into a family, this is a good one to be brought into, he’s really reluctant to open himself up to them because he’s gotta protect himself.”
Lonsdale added: “His mom’s sick, and he has lived his whole life without him, so to all of a sudden not be forced, but have them in his life is difficult. And they have to go through some tough experiences in order to really forge a friendship first before even family.”
The actor only had praise for how the emotionally-complex storyline has been handled by the writers, who have proven themselves more than adept at crafting compelling domestic drama that sets The Flashapart from so many other shows — both superhero-centric and otherwise — on television.
“I love how the writers have been dealing with it,” Lonsdale said. “Because family does take time. And it’s not an easy thing and it’s not something that can be forced, especially if it comes late in life. At this point, they say you can’t choose your family, but when you’ve lived your whole life without them. At this point, you kind of do have the option to choose, and that’s something that we have to deal with. Are they all going to choose each other?”
Wally and Barry have a “kind of sibling rivalry.”
The Flashhas never shied away from familial dynamics that exist outside of the conservative, traditional idea of what makes up a family — i.e. Barry’s (Grant Gustin) place in the West family. But Barry’s relationship to Joe certainly complicates Wally’s introduction and integration into the family…
“For Wally, it’s almost a bit of rivalry because it’s already difficult to step into a family, but when your place is already kind of filled up by another person who isn’t your blood, he kind of feels like Barry’s gotten the things that he was supposed to get,” Lonsdale said. “And I don’t think he’ll admit that. It’s not something he admits to himself, but it’s definitely something that causes some tension. Also, Barry’s such a nice guy that I think it makes it even more difficult for Wally. He wants to dislike this guy, but this guy’s too nice.”
It’s not just the awkwardness inherent in the fact that Barry was able to grow up with Joe West as a father in a way that Wally wasn’t able to that makes this dynamic complex, but the fact that Barry and Wally are “very different people,” according to Lonsdale.
“I think is so cool because iot gives them a place to go,” Lonsdale said of Barry and Wally’s differences. “Obviously, we know in the comic books where that friendship goes in the future — they’re kind of fighting side by side — so to be able to have it start from a place … where there is tension. Yeah, it’s kind of sibling rivalry, I guess.”
Wally will interact with Team Flash in “small doses.”
Though Lonsdale was sure to stress that there have been no moves made to transition Wally into his Kid Flash superhero alter ego, that doesn’t mean Wally won’t be getting to interact with the rest of Team Flash — though it will be in “small doses.” But it won’t always be that way…
“Hopefully — and I’m sure, definitely — that will just continue and build up more and more,” Lonsdale said of Wally’s potential place on Team Flash. “But, at this point in time, the focus is just on the West family and kind of building those relationships together. And I still don’t know how he’s gonna get his powers. I don’t know how he’s gonna be introduced to the S.T.A.R. Labs team … I’m not Kid Flash yet, so I’m waiting to see what the suit’s gonna be like, when that eventually comes. I think it will be a while. But it should be really fun.”
Wally has a dangerous hobby.
Wally’s got to have something to do with all of that non-Team Flash time, right? Apparently, the character is very into drag racing — which creates some tension between Wally, Joe, and Iris. Lonsdale teased: “That’s his thing. So, he’s really got a knack for speed, but it’s kind of challenged with his father being a detective and his sister being a reporter. So, it’s been something that they all have to deal with, again, together.”
Will we ever get a Flash muscial episode?
OK, enough of this Kid Flash business. Time to talk about the potential musical episode that obviously needs to happen on The Flashgiven its ultra-talented cast and its ability to pull off even the most bizarre of plot lines. In addition to acting, Lonsdale is a professional dancer and musician. He actually just released an EP of five original songs called “Higher Vol. 1” and one of his first gigs was on Aussie drama Dance Academy.
When asked if there was a possibility of a muscial episode of The Flash,Lonsdale admitted that he has no idea. However, he did comment that he can’t help but notice some script mentions that hint at the possibility of Wally having some music-related talents…
“Sometimes, they make little references to things in scripts,” Lonsdale said. “And I don’t know if it’s just coincidences or they’re planting seeds. I won’t say what they are, but I feel these writers and the producers, I feel like they plant seeds, so you never know. But I doubt it will be any time soon. Wally is more of a racer than a dancer … but people have hidden talents.”
There’s certainly the time for it. Lonsdale has been made a series regular for the second half of the season, which means we’ll be getting plenty more Wally moving forward. In Lonsdale’s words: “We’ve waited a really long time for Wally, so I would imagine that audiences will get a good dose of him in this back half of the season.” Sounds good to us.
(Featured photo credit: Ricky Middlesworth Photography)