Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Tuesday’s episode of The Flash.
Harrison Wells both is and isn’t the Reverse Flash.
The Flash dropped yet another bombshell during Tuesday’s episode when the series flashed back to the night Barry’s (Grant Gustin) mother died. After future Barry thwarted the Reverse Flash from killing his younger self, the Reverse Flash high-tailed it out of the Allen house only to lose steam halfway down the street. With his powers depleted, the Reverse Flash screams in anguish that he is stuck in the past, ripping off his mask to reveal… well, an entirely new actor. Matt Letscher, who previously worked with Flash bosses Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti on Eli Stone, is actually Eobard Thawne.
But seriously, how is this all possible? Stranded in the past, the real Eobard tracked down Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), knowing that the scientific mastermind goes on to create a working particle accelerator with his wife in 2020. But Eobard can’t wait that long, so he causes the car accident that kills Wells’ wife and then uses what amounts to a body snatching machine to take on Wells’ appearance. That’s right, the Harrison Wells we thought we knew is long gone. It’s been Eobard Thawne the whole time. EW caught up with Letscher, who you may also recognize from The Carrie Diaries and Scandal, to get the scoop on what this all means:
How did the guys approach you for this? Did they tell you anything about the character?
MATT LETSCHER: Yeah. I spoke with Andrew and he told me exactly who the character was going to be, that it was the Reverse Flash. I don’t have a comprehensive grasp of Flash history like he does, so I didn’t understand just how important the character was to The Flash. He said it will definitely explain a lot about what was happening this season and also factor into the show going forward.
What was the secrecy like on set? Were they trying to keep people away from seeing you in costume?
Any time I was in the Reverse Flash outfit, they definitely would shoot me in an area where nobody could see me. They were very careful about doing that. That was one of the first things he said, “Don’t talk to anybody about it. Don’t tell anyone what you’re doing.” It seems like that’s the norm on a lot of shows today because they want to be able to surprise people. They did everything they could to keep it a secret.
How much do you actually know about the character now? Do you know about his motivations?
The Reverse Flash, or Professor Zoom, he took on so many different iterations throughout the history of The Flash, the comic book. I think Andrew and Greg and everybody behind the show are trying to find the story they want to tell with the character and how it best forwards Barry’s story. In terms of what actually ends up happening from this point forward, I’m not sure, but I definitely have done some research now and know a lot more about the character. Motivations is an interesting question, because there’s not a lot revealed in this episode with regards to motivations, other than his most immediate need, which is to get back to the future where he’s from. But why he becomes the Reverse Flash, I’ve read several different stories of why this happens and how it happens, I’ll be honest, it’s still a little bit of a mystery to me. I think it’s something they’re building to in the show. It’s something we’re going to see more of later on.
He comes off as a bit of a mustache-twirling villain in this episode because he kills Harrison’s wife way ahead of her time. What’s your take on him? Are there any redeeming qualities?
Andrew has been very clear that he doesn’t want him to be just a psychopath. There is something more to him. Some of that is to be revealed. All I know is the circumstances I was given in this episode, which was he needs to get back to where he came from and the only way to do it is this. Clearly, the man has some sociopathic tendencies. How deeply rooted those are, his reasons for taking the actions he does take, I think that’s going to be revealed more as we go along.
How soon will we see you as Eobard again?
You’ll see him again this season at some point.
Will we possibly see Eobard in his own time?
I can honestly tell you that I’m not sure.
Had you been watching The Flash before you were cast?
Yeah, because I have two sons and they’re fanatical about the show. When Andrew called with the offer, I was the most popular person in my house. They were excited. I’ve been keeping up with the show. I love it. I watch all of Greg’s shows, because I just love the way he develops character and the way he tells story. He’s somebody who is not afraid to look for the emotional truth in these kind of supernatural circumstances. He has an intensity and earnestness that I really appreciate. I’ve really enjoyed the show this season.
Knowing the show, what was your reaction to the twist of Eobard basically body-snatching Wells? It feels like it could be pretty polarizing.
Yeah, I think probably. My first reaction was, so what does that mean for Tom Cavanagh? They had an answer for that. I was shocked to understand that all the work that Tom has been doing over the course of the season was really, in a way, in service of another character. He’s been fantastic on the show. He’s just a wonderful actor and a great guy. What he’s done in developing Harrison Wells with this foreknowledge has been pretty masterful. To get the news that this was what was behind it was exciting. Yeah, I’m sure it’ll be a polarizing reaction, but for TV, that’s a good thing.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.