The Flash might be adapting another famous comic book arc in season 4.
Over the holiday weekend, a tweet from The Flash production office that’s since been deleted — actually, the entire account seems to now be missing in action — appeared to reveal the season premiere title: “The Flash Reborn.” Though it’s not the exact title, “Reborn” seems to be a nod to the 2009 six-issue limited series The Flash: Rebirth, which was written by Geoff Johns, an executive producer on the show and the Chief Creative Officer over at DC Comics, who also wrote Flashpoint, which the show adapted last season.
The last we saw of Barry (Grant Gustin) on the series, he had defeated Savitar, taking the God of Speed’s place in the Speed Force lest a Speed Force storm destroy Central City. In the comics, Barry Allen’s version of The Flash had been missing from comic book pages for 23 years(!) after the Scarlet Speedster sacrificed himself during Crisis on Infinite Earths — a storyline that’s been strongly hinted at since the show’s pilot. With Barry gone in the comics, it was up to Wally West to be the new Flash, much like Barry recently left Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) in charge of protecting Central City in the season 3 finale.
SPOILER ALERT FOR THE COMICS AND THE SHOW: When Barry Allen returned in Rebirth, he transformed into speedster grim reaper Black Flash. On the show, Hunter Zolomon (Teddy Sears) became the Black Flash in the season 2 finale but was subsequently killed on Savitar’s orders by Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker) in the season 3 finale. Therefore, it would make sense that the Speed Force would need a new Black Flash to do its bidding if the show decided to go this route. However, Barry only became Black Flash because of Eobard Thawne, a.k.a Reverse-Flash/Professor Zoom, who used a negative Speed Force to essentially turn Barry into a weapon against his family so he would once again die, but this time as a villain, not a martyr.
So here’s why it may be unlikely that the show will take this exact route: The Flash bosses previously revealed that the fourth season would not feature a speedster big bad. Instead, the show has dropped two different hints that Clifford DeVoe, a.k.a. The Thinker, will be the villain in season 4. Also, it’s unlikely the show would retread on Reverse-Flash this soon — he plagued Barry in season 1 of The Flash, then teamed up with the Legion of Doom to take on the Legends last season on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
However, there’s an entirely different Rebirth story the title could be referring to: The current DC: Rebirth arc, which kicked off in 2016 following the end of The New 52 run. In these comics, Barry becomes mentor to a whole new set of speedsters after a Speed Force storm — like the one in the season 3 finale! — causes an influx of lightning fast heroes and foes.
Sure, there’s another speedster villain in the first run of DC: Rebirth, known as Godspeed, but The Flash has a knack for putting a twist on the comics, so basically either of these Rebirth storylines could be viable. Or, you know, “Reborn” could be taken literally and the Scarlet Speedster will be somehow reborn and freed from the Speed Force next season and the story isn’t inspired by either comic book run. We should know more when The Flash cast and executive producers head to Comic-Con in a few weeks.
The Flash returns Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.
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