Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Tuesday’s episode of The Flash. Read at your own risk!
Savitar’s identity was finally revealed during Tuesday’s episode of The Flash — and it’s safe to say that the hero has truly become the villain.
After finally putting the pieces together, Barry Allen came to the realization that Savitar is actually a future version of himself. Thus, he’s a future Flash, if you will. The “future Flash” bit plays heavily into why viewers should’ve seen this coming all along. Several times this season, Savitar has said things along the lines of, “You are the past, whereas I am the future, Flash.” But if you remove the punctuation, Savitar was literally just telling past Barry his identity.
The reveal somewhat explains how Savitar knew so much about Team Flash, but does not yet fully explain why a future version of Barry would want to kill Iris West (Candice Patton). “You get that in the next episode, and the mystery is ongoing, but obviously Savitar is a version of Barry Allen, a heavily scarred version,” executive producer Andrew Kreisberg tells EW.
“What’s really cool for anyone who thought that there wasn’t a plan, or we didn’t know, or we were making this up as we go, this was always where we were heading,” Kreisberg says. “The idea that the darkest villain we could come up with was actually a very damaged version of our hero was interesting and fresh to us. We’re not only competing with all the stuff that we’ve done on Flash, but we’re always competing with everything we’ve done on all the other shows. So to have our lead actor be both the hero and the villain isn’t something we’ve done before, so that was exciting for us as storytellers.”
While upcoming episodes will provide answers, they will also raise an interesting conundrum for the current Barry Allen. “In an upcoming episode, when Barry is talking about Savitar, he says that so many of these bad guys that we’ve fought, I didn’t understand why they were doing what they were doing,” Kreisberg says. “They just seemed to be filled with so much hate and anger and did terrible things, I would look at them and be like, ‘Why are you doing this?’ But when Barry looks at Savitar, he sees it and he kind of understands it.”
Pointing to stories throughout history, Kreisberg says, “Usually the hero and the villain have the same backstory, just one took the pain and tragedy that they were subjected to and it girded them into wanting to do good and become a hero, and with the villain, it damaged them so badly [that] they wanted to make everybody hurt as badly as they did. Barry sees in Savitar that he could’ve gone down that path, too, but he had Iris, Joe, Cisco, Caitlin, his father, he had the memory of his mother — he had all of these things that helped mold him into the hero that he is. Savitar lost all that.”
“It’s a real ‘There but for the grace of God go I,'” Kreisberg continues. “It creates an interesting paradigm because Savitar has probably done as much, if not more, to hurt them as any villain they’ve ever come up against, and yet Barry has a measure of sympathy for him. It’s a really interesting new dynamic that’s certainly very different from his relationship with Wells/Thawne in season 1 and Zoom in season 2.”
The dynamic also provides a unique opportunity for Gustin to continue acting off himself after a stellar performance during The Flash‘s recent trip to the future. “What’s so amazing about these last few episodes, especially when you think about it in terms of ‘Once and Future Flash,’ is Grant made the future Flash a very distinct character,” Kreisberg says. “He does the same with Savitar, especially in scenes where he has to act with himself. If everything Grant has done up until now, including the musical, hasn’t blown you away with his talent, I think when you see scenes of him and Savitar together, you’re really going to be blown away because he’s found a whole new speed for him.”
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.