The Scarlet Speedster is in for a quite a shock when The Flash returns.
After defeating season 2 baddie Zoom, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) traveled back in time to prevent the Reverse-Flash (Matt Letscher) from killing his mom, changing the timeline akin to the seminal comic book storyline Flashpoint.
Unlike the global scale of the comics — where Aquaman was at war with Wonder Woman and Batman was Thomas Wayne, not Bruce — The CW super series is taking a more personal approach to the changes Barry has wrought. While Barry still has his powers (and living parents!), there’s a new savior of Central City, Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale). But former Team Flash members are wildly different — Barry no longer has a relationship with Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and Iris (Candice Patton), while Cisco (Carlos Valdes) is an ostentatious billionaire. (Confused about Flashpoint? Here’s everything you need to know.)
“Part of Barry’s journey is getting these people, who aren’t necessarily the best version of themselves, to find their inner hero,” EP Andrew Kreisberg tells EW, teasing a ticking time clock to Flashpoint as Barry’s memories of the old timeline begin to be replaced by the new.
But Flashpoint isn’t the only trouble in store for Barry this season. In fact, he’ll get a double dose of big bads with Doctor Alchemy and speedster Savitar, while Reverse-Flash also returns to serve as Barry’s conscience after his tinkering with the timeline — something that will resonate through the rest of the series. “Some things can be fixed, and then some things are broken forever,” Kreisberg says ominously. Kreisberg offers up teases on what’s ahead in season 3:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What does your world of Flashpoint look like?
ANDREW KREISBERG: It looks like our world. Most of the changes are to Barry’s life and him being at the nexus of these changes. He’s put all of the people that are in his life — Joe, Iris, Cisco and Caitlin — and spun them into different ways. Obviously, the comic books dealt with this giant war between the Atlanteans and the Amazonians, and Thomas Wayne being Batman. All of that stuff is not at our disposal, which is fine with us because we really wanted to do something personal to Barry having changed his friend’s lives and Barry coping with [the fact that] he may have traded his happiness for his friends.
Are there still ways you can nod to Flashpoint either indirectly or directly, like substituting Robert Queen for Thomas Wayne?
There’s a couple of nods to the comics in there. There’s actually some dialogue from the comic in the episode. But as always the movies are the movies and TV is TV, we’re not trying to infringe on their purview. The episode is a much more personal one. The stakes in the comic book in Flashpoint were global and the stakes in this episode are very much just about Barry, his existence and the people that he loves.
The way you say episode, it makes it sound like the Flashpoint timeline won’t last very long.
Well, it does and it doesn’t. It will be resolved, but there will be consequences that last throughout the season, and quite frankly, last throughout the series. That’s one of the things that we’re attempting to do is have the pitfalls of time travel be long-lasting and that some things can be fixed, and then some things are broken forever.
The idea of multiple timelines was brought up in season 1. Is the original timeline still running concurrently and we’re going to see what Barry left behind — and that they’re missing their own Barry Allen?
No, when he goes back into the past and saves his mother, it rewrites the timeline.
How does Barry feel about his choice ago change the timeline?
When we see Barry Allen, to start the season, he’s actually in a happy place, which is [somewhere] you don’t always see Barry Allen in. He’s now living in a world where his mother is alive and he’s taking it as, “I’ve finally got my reward for all of the suffering that I’ve gone through. This is my prize.” And he begins to see that the cost of him getting his happy ending might be too much to bear.
How will the new timeline start to affect Barry?
There is a time clock on the storyline. Whether or not Barry will allow Flashpoint to continue, or whether he will reset things again, and the costs of him doing either is the ticking clock in the episode.
Does Barry have his powers in Flashpoint?
Let’s turn to your new villain for this season. What can you tease about Dr. Alchemy and why he’s coming after Barry?
Well, we have multiple villains this season. Alchemy is just one of them and his agenda is tied into the other villains, who we’re still going to be a little bit mum about. [Editor’s note: This interview was completed before the reveal that Savitar was joining the series as another big bad.] We’d like to give the fans teases and as much as information as possible, but we’re so excited about the dynamic between the villains and their dynamic with Flash, and the rest of the team. We really want to play cards down for now, because the surprises are going to be worth the wait.
So maybe there’s somebody familiar under that mask?
Let’s now go through how different each of these characters are. As we saw in the trailer, Cisco’s an ostentatious billionaire. Why did you decide to go that route for Cisco?
It’s funny, it was something we talked about doing for Earth-2 with Cisco, that he was rich and a billionaire. We just had a lot of fun with the idea of seeing that version of the character. We learned a lot last season doing Earth-2 and watching the dichotomy between the characters, especially watching how different they could be, and having such an amazingly talented cast that can pull off multiple versions of these characters. It’s just always fun to have Barry have to interact with different versions of the people that he knows well, because the audience knows them so well. Because these characters are so strongly defined by the actors that portray them, that’s why it’s so much fun to get to see different versions of them. A selfish, rich, cowardly Cisco couldn’t be further from the Cisco that we all know and love, and that’s part of Barry’s journey is getting these people, who aren’t necessarily the best version of themselves, to find their inner hero, which he knows is in there because he knows them from another time where they are heroes.
We don’t know much about how different Caitlin is, because we really don’t see her in the trailer other than the blink-and-you-miss it scene where she is in a lab coat standing over Wally West, so presumably she is working at Ramon Industries. So what can you tease about how different this Caitlin Snow is?
That’s one of the fun pops that happens in the episode, so I don’t want to give too much away about that.
But is that right that she is at least working there?
We know that Joe has had a falling out with Iris, and doesn’t have a relationship with Barry. Talk about the differences with him.
Again, I don’t want to get too much into the specifics of it, because that’s part of the fun journey of going through this journey to Oz with these characters. As you come upon them, the audience is discovering as they watch it what’s different and what’s the same. Suffice it to say, in some ways, Barry has sacrificed his relationship with Joe for his relationship with his birth family and that’s one of the challenges that Barry has to overcome in the episode.
Harrison is obviously the biggest question mark as he is every season. You’re not going to say much, obviously, but is it your goal to have him play an entirely new character every single season?
Not only am I not going to say much, I’m actually not going to say anything.
Will you say anything about Iris at least?
As Barry says in the episode, Iris is always Iris. So their relationship and their connection seems to be able to survive any changes to the timeline or any universe. There’s always something between them.
Whether inside the Flashpoint storytelling or outside of it, are we going to get to see more of Iris’s reporting side this year?
We saw Reverse-Flash in the trailer at Comic-Con. What does his presence in the Flashpoint timeline mean?
Well, in a way, he represents Barry’s conscious, because Barry has messed with the universe to find his happy ending. He’s put in the awkward, and ironic position of having his greatest villain, the man who killed his mother, being the one to tell him, “This is wrong, you’re a hero and heroes don’t do this.” It’s a great way to have him interact with his singular greatest foe by having the villain essentially be on the side of the angels and be right.
If and when we get back to the original Team Flash, how might they feel if they learn that Barry did screw with their lives?
I think you’re going to have to wait to see how that all plays out.
Let’s talk about Tom Felton joining the show. What came first: creating this role or wanting to get Felton on the show?
Well, we’ve obviously always been fans of Tom’s. We’ve all seen him grow up from an amazing child actor to an amazing adult actor. Season 3s are typically when you add that character who comes in to shake things up, just in the same way we added Brandon Routh to Arrow in season 3. So, having Tom join the show and adding his energy, his delivery and his performance to our very tightly knit cast is definitely meant to help shake things up. We’re just getting our first set of dailies now on him and we really feel like it’s a giant success. It’s a great addition to the show. It’s something that we haven’t had on the show, a bit of an antagonist within the group, and Tom couldn’t be lovelier as a performer, and as a coworker. It’s a success for us both in front of and behind the camera.
You guys have made many, many Harry Potter jokes over the last two seasons. How are you going to handle those jokes now?
Tom Felton is portraying a character on our show, he’s not portraying Tom Felton. I think it’d be funny if Tom Felton actually joined the cast. [Laughs] I’m sure Cisco will continue to make pop culture references and we’re, generally speaking, not afraid to have a little bit of a meta-moment.
Talk about Wally West suiting up as Kid Flash.
We wanted to do something bold and start the season off with a bang, so we decided to get Wally in the suit. The circumstances of how that happens, well, you’ll have to watch to see. But Keiynan absolutely loved every minute of it and it was a real thrill for us to finally do it. It was amazing. Just in the same way that it happened on Arrow, when you get to season 3, all of the things that you said, “Oh, one day we could do this,” in the early days of the show, are really starting to come to fruition. Just in the same way Arrow eventually added Black Canary and Arsenal — characters that we were always excited to get on, but it always seemed like years away — having Kid Flash was something that we’d always wanted to do from the beginning, before we’d even gotten on the air, and certainly long before Keiynan ever came into our lives. Now, to finally see him there doing his thing is so exciting.
It’s been said that Katie Cassidy is going to be on The Flash again this season. What can you tease of her return?
Again, we don’t want to give too much away, but Katie will be back and it’s going to be fun and exciting — that much I can promise.
We saw Zoom appeared to be transformed into Black Flash in the finale. Are we going to be seeing Black Flash?
We don’t have any immediate plans for that. Obviously we did that on purpose and we love working with Teddy. He’s such an amazing actor and amazing person, and was so much a part of the success of this show last season. There aren’t any immediate plans for that, but you can’t keep a good Black Flash down. So, I’m sure we’ll be seeing him in the future.
What themes are you going to be exploring on The Flash this year?
One of the themes is what does it mean to have power and what you do with that power, and is power ultimately corrupting? That’s definitely one of the themes that we’re talking about.
Is there anything you can tease about this very highly anticipated four-way crossover?
We’re always trying to outdo ourselves. The first year we did the crossovers, they were very loosely connected and it was just between Flash and Arrow, and last year the episodes were connected, including the introduction of a few characters from Legends. So, this year, with all four shows up and running, it’s going to be a mammoth challenge both creatively and practically. As much as the fans are just excited to see everybody together, that’s what we’re most excited about. Just figuring out the right tale to tell that would necessitate needing Flash, Arrow, Supergirl and Legends to team up. What could possibly be so bad that we need four shows worth of superheroes to take on? [Editor’s note: This.]
The Flash returns Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.