The Flash Villain Pitched an Arrowverse Spinoff

The Flash star Tom Cavanagh thinks the story of the Reverse-Flash has more room to run.

Photo: The CW

The following contains major spoilers for The Flash series finale.

Now that The Flash, the current elder statesman of superhero television, has officially taken his last run, the obvious question is: What’s next? With much of the larger DC onscreen universe in flux, as James Gunn takes the reins of the franchise with plans to unite the film and television worlds, there’s not much that’s a sure thing at the moment. The CW Arrowverse as we all once knew it is over. And while The Flash movie is finally set to arrive in theaters next month, there’s little guarantee that its—or, really, any—version of Barry Allen will transfer into this brave new world that Gunn is spearheading. 

But, at least one member of The CW’s The Flash is confident that we haven’t seen the last of its characters. Actor Tom Cavanagh, who has played Barry Allen’s supervillain nemesis Eobard Thawne, also known as the Reverse-Flash, since the series’ first season, is optimistic that one day he’ll be able to put that iconic yellow suit on once more.

“I do think it leaves the door open,” Cavanagh says of The Flash series finale while speaking to Den of Geek. “Because clearly, the Reverse-Flash…you can’t kill the Reverse-Flash. So he got blasted, so what? I feel confident that after about a year or two of there being no Flash, the audience will demand a Flash spinoff, and [I think] it’ll either be about Keiynan [Lonsdale, who has played Wally West in the CW series] or it’ll be about me as Reverse-Flash or both.”

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It turns out that Cavanagh has actually given the idea of a Reverse-Flash series a lot of thought, going so far as to take the central idea to Greg Berlanti, the producer and creator of The Flash and several other Arrowverse properties

“I actually pitched Greg this idea one time, around when I was coming up with H.R. [the Earth-19 version of original character Harrison Wells], about the idea of an immortal like the Reverse-Flash, who’s a villain, but who would fall for a civilian and be trying to get back to their Earth. And at first, it doesn’t work, and he’s filled with this turmoil and this rage, and he has to get home. But then suddenly he has a reason to not [want to leave]— then what happens next? Does that lessen his killer instincts? Does he pay the price because those killer instincts are lessened? Does he find love? How does it end? It’s not a bad story!”

The Flash has teased the idea of, if not an outright redemption arc for Thawne, at least a story that explores a softer side of the typically evil character. Season 8 of the show brought back Matt Letscher as a version of the original Reverse-Flash from Legends of Tomorrow, resurrected by Time Wraiths to serve as the protector of a fixed point in time, but stripped of his memories and speedster abilities. That Wells did seem to fall genuinely in love with Dr. Meena Dhawan (the speedster known as Fast Track) and the show at least hinted that a different type of story for his character might be possible. Or, at least it did until Cavanagh’s Reverse-Flash literally burst through his chest and killed him. Welp.

But it’s the potential “pathos” of such a tale that appeals to Cavanagh when it comes to the idea of revisiting his iconic villain in a different sort of series. As viewers, we want to “savor the light” when we can as Cavanagh himself once said, and stories like the one in season 8’s “The Man in the Yellow Tie” play with our desire to believe that even the worst of us aren’t irrevocably lost. Whether that’s true or not in the Reverse-Flash’s case is something such a spin-off would clearly be built to address.

And, according to the actor, now that the story of Barry Allen has come to a conclusion, it’s a perfect time to explore that story.

“One of the reasons I think we couldn’t really tell it on The Flash is because the show is called The Flash and you need to tell the Flash stories and I couldn’t be more supportive of that idea. There’s no Flash show without the Flash,” he says. “And so this idea about Reverse-Flash and falling for a civilian and all that feels like that’s its own separate show. Now that the Flash is over, perhaps we can revisit that idea. I don’t think that people are that sick of the multiverse that they wouldn’t sign up for a Reverse-Flash journey.“

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