The Flash TV Series: Everything You Need to Know

Your handy, at-a-glance guide to everything you need to know about the CW's upcoming Flash TV show.

Den of Geek Flash

Flash fact! The Flash TV series is a reality, on this Earth, not a parallel one. For the first time in over twenty years, the Scarlet Speedster will have a weekly live-action television show. And this time, he’s part of a larger universe of TV superheroes, one that already includes a whole host of series and villains introduced on the CW’s more grounded costumed vigilante drama, Arrow.

Here is everything you need to know about The Flash TV series. We’ll update this periodically throughout the summer until it’s time for season one to premiere in the fall!

The Flash pilot is directed by David Nutter, who also did a fine job with the Arrow pilot in 2012. That’s not the only similarity that The Flash TV series shares with Arrow, though. Arrow showrunners Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg are getting The Flash up to speed as executive producers, and Blake Neely, who has been providing the heroic strains for Arrow will also be composing the music for The Flash.

Comic book writer Geoff Johns (who is also a veteran of several Arrow episodes, including those that helped introduce the character of Barry Allen) is writing the first episode of The Flash. Johns’ presence is particularly telling, as he has a long history writing various incarnations of the character. His extended run writing the Wally West version of Flash ended up influencing at least two unproduced Flash movies (one of which had a script by Batman Begins and Man of Steel writer David Goyer), and he was the man who introduced a number of elements to Barry Allen’s past that will play heavily on the direction for this show.  

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Flash TV Series

The Story

You might say that the rest of this article contains spoilers, even though much of it is just informed speculation…

The official synopsis for The Flash reads:

Barry Allen was just 11 years old when his mother was killed in a bizarre and terrifying incident and his father was falsely convicted of the murder.  With his life changed forever by the tragedy, Barry was taken in and raised by Detective Joe West, the father of Barry’s best friend, Iris.  Now, Barry has become a brilliant, driven and endearingly geeky CSI investigator, whose determination to uncover the truth about his mother’s strange death leads him to follow up on every unexplained urban legend and scientific advancement that comes along.  Barry’s latest obsession is a cutting edge particle accelerator, created by visionary physicist Harrison Wells and his S.T.A.R. Labs team, who claim that this invention will bring about unimaginable advancements in power and medicine.  However, something goes horribly wrong during the public unveiling, and when the devastating explosion causes a freak storm, many lives are lost and Barry is struck by lightning. 

After nine months in a coma, Barry awakens to find his life has changed once again – the accident has given him the power of super speed, granting him the ability to move through Central City like an unseen guardian angel.  Though initially excited by his newfound powers, Barry is shocked to discover he is not the only “meta-human” who was created in the wake of the accelerator explosion – and not everyone is using their new powers for good.  In the months since the accident, the city has seen a sharp increase in missing people, unexplained deaths and other strange phenomena.  Barry now has a renewed purpose – using his gift of speed to protect the innocent, while never giving up on his quest to solve his mother’s murder and clear his father’s name.  For now, only a few close friends and associates know that Barry is literally the fastest man alive, but it won’t be long before the world learns what Barry Allen has become…The Flash. 

But there’s more to it than this. 

To a certain extent, we’ve already seen the iconic Flash origin moment in an episode of Arrow “Three Ghosts”), and Barry has been in a coma ever since. The first episode will likely give us a glimpse of this moment, when the particle accelerator charged lightning bolt struck the young scientist. After that, it will probably (ahem) hit the ground running showing how he discovers his powers, gets his red speedsuit, and becomes a superhero.

While Grant Gustin was introduced as Barry Allen in two episodes of Arrow the original plan was for him to return, powered up and costumed, in a later episode which was to function as a backdoor pilot for The Flash. This plan was scrapped, and the episode became “The Man Under the Hood” which instead introduced two of Barry’s friends from STAR Labs, Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) both of whom will be regulars on The Flash.

And speaking of that cast…the best way to get an idea of the shape of this show is to look at the bits and pieces about the characters that have come out during the show’s casting process. 

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Grant Gustin The Flash

Grant Gustin as Barry Allen aka The Flash

Barry has spent his life trying to clear his father of the murder of his mother, and in his first appearance (Arrow‘s “The Scientist”) he hints that there was more going on than the police understood…including a mysterious tornado. Comic book fans know what this means, but the rest of you may not want it spoiled. This desire to see justice done for both his parents is what drives Barry, both in his professional and secret lives.

Danielle Panabaker

Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow

Danielle Panabaker is Caitlin Snow, familiar to DC Comics fans as Killer Frost. Deadline describes Snow as “a highly intelligent bioengineering expert who lost her fiancé during an explosion at S.T.A.R. Labs.” We don’t expect to see Ms. Snow turn into Killer Frost anytime soon, as she was painted as a fairly fun, level-headed individual during her appearance on the Arrow episode “The Man Under the Hood.” It should be noted that there’s always room for folks with cold powers in the Flash universe. It could also be worth noting that Killer Frost is really a Firestorm villain, and that particle accelerator origin for Flash sure sounds like the kind of thing that could serve as an origin for other superheroes…

Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon/Vibe

Cisco is described as a “mechanical engineering genius” but we may recognize him as DC Comics superhero (and occasional Justice League member) Vibe! It’s unclear if or when Cisco will develop the vibrational powers his superhero alter ego is known for, but if Flash follows Arrow‘s path, there’s a good chance we’ll see Cisco do some adventuring at some point! The photo above is from “The Man Under the Hood” and the high tech weapon he’s wielding used to belong to a certain Dr. Arthur Light. 

Candice Patton as Iris West

While she’s described as Barry’s “best friend,” comics fans will recognize Iris West as Barry’s future wife, as well. Iris West has a history as long as Barry Allen’s, having first appeared along with the Silver Age Flash in Showcase #4 back in 1956. Barry’s relationship with Iris is a little unclear at this point, as he hinted to Felicity during his Arrow appearances that he may have feelings for someone who doesn’t have them for him…

[related article: 8 Reasons The Flash is Perfect For TV]

Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West

Law & Order alum Jesse L. Martin is Detective Joe West, described as an “an honest, blue-collar cop who is a surrogate father to Barry. A soulful, funny and caring father to Iris — Barry’s potential love interest — West came up through the foster care system and took Barry in after his mother’s slaying and father’s imprisonment. He believes in Barry and supports his efforts to prove his father’s innocence.”

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Rick Cosnett as Detective Eddie Thawne/Professor Zoom

Rick Cosnett (Vampire Diaries) plays Detective Eddie Thawne, described by Deadline as “a recent transfer to the Central City Police Department, whose past is a mystery and who harbors a dark secret.” Thawne is another familiar name to DC Comics fans. Eobard Thawne is the time-traveling Professor Zoom AKA the Reverse-Flash. There was another Reverse-Flash as well, Hunter Zolomon, who was a police officer. It’s likely that the Reverse-Flash of this show, should he ever actually appear, will be an amalgamation of both characters.

Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells

Harrison Wells has had his name dropped a few times during Arrow this season, but he won’t make his first proper appearance until The Flash hits the airwaves. Described as “a rock star in the world of physics and the mind and money behind Central City’s S.T.A.R. Labs Particle Accelerator. He becomes a pariah after the lab’s explosion, but he charts his path to redemption when he discovers that his failed experiment had the unintended consequence of creating the world’s fastest man.” Might this be the guy who helps outfit Barry with his crimefighting tools?

Patrick Sabongui as Captain David Singh

Captain Singh is a relatively recent addition to the Flash mythos. He’s Barry’s superior at the Central City PD, and is a famously cranky, hard-edged guy. Barry is often obsessed with solving cold cases (which could give The Flash a solid procedural-style foundation to work off of in its early episodes), and Singh wants more cases closed, faster. We heard his name mentioned once or twice during Barry’s appearances on Arrow, and it did indeed sound like he was giving young Mr. Allen a hard time about his job. 

John Wesley Shipp as…Jay Garrick?

Admittedly, that name is wishful thinking on the part of fans everywhere, but it’s incredibly exciting knowing that John Wesley Shipp, the man who played Barry Allen on the great (but short lived) Flash TV series that ran from 1990-1991 is back in the fold. There seems to be some secrecy about the nature of Shipp’s role, which may be a recurring one. Maybe that Jay Garrick thing isn’t wishful thinking, after all? We suppose he could also be Captain Frye…

Michelle Harrison

Michelle Harrison as Nora Allen

The role of Barry Allen’s mother is described as “recurring.” But since it has been made quite clear that Barry has spent his life trying to solve the mystery of his mother’s murder, we imagine all her appearances will be in flashback. Will The Flash adopt an Arrow-style weekly flashback sequence?

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You can watch a trailer for the show right here:

The Flash will air on Tuesdays at 8 pm beginning in the fall.

What do you think? What would you like to see on the show this fall? Let us know!

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