The Flash faces down Despero in 'Armageddon' crossover first-look photos
The road to DC FanDome begins here! In the days leading up to the second annual free virtual fan event — which returns Saturday, Oct. 16 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT — EW will be debuting exclusive new looks at DC Entertainment's forthcoming TV shows and comics. To kick things off, we've got an exclusive first look at The Flash season 8's epic five-part event.
Despero, The Flash's next big bad, has landed in Central City.
EW is debuting an exclusive first look at Doctor Who's Tony Curran as the psychic DC Comics alien in the CW superhero drama's upcoming event "Armageddon." Kicking off season 8, the crossover-like five-part saga sees Barry Allen/The Flash (Grant Gustin), Team Flash, and heroes from the other Arrowverse shows join forces to battle Despero, who left his home world of Kalanor on a deadly mission that threatens Earth.
According to The Flash showrunner Eric Wallace, the scene depicted in these new photos isn't Barry's first confrontation with his super intelligent and powerful new foe, but it is one of the most "pivotal" exchanges they have in the entire event.
"That's actually the scene where we really learn about Despero's alien origins, which is what makes that scene so fascinating to me," Wallace tells EW. "[Curran] has a big speech in that scene. No spoilers, [but] it's a very intense moment in his relationship with the Flash. You'll see throughout the episodes how Despero tests Flash in various ways. This is one of those moments. That's what makes it so pivotal. I think the audience is going to learn something new about Despero that they never knew, because we do have our own take on the [DC] mythology for the character."
Created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky in 1960, Despero is a hulking three-eyed purple alien who boasts immense psychic powers and super-strength, among other things. He was a recurring Justice League of America villain in the '60s-'90s, which is one of the main reasons Wallace chose him for "Armageddon."
"I wanted to put a truly classic DC villain in this five part event that I knew fans would get excited about," says Wallace. "Also, and I can't say too much without revealing too much of the story, there's a certain element to the story itself that involves the powerset of Despero, [which] makes him the perfect fit for the story."
While Curran doesn't appear comic book accurate in these new photos, Wallace cautions fans against jumping to conclusions just yet. "Be careful what you see," he says with a laugh. "Your eyes can sometimes deceive you."
A fan of Curran's portrayal of Vincent Van Gogh on Doctor Who, Wallace chose Curran because he needed an actor who could both bring an "operatic flair" to a big character such as Despero and ground him when necessary.
"When Despero shows up on Earth, you can kind of understand why he's here [and] see it from his point of view," says Wallace. "That was kind of important to get across, but then to not be afraid of the bigger side because, as fans of the comics know, Despero has a lot of powers. This isn't a guy who just stands there and talks for five episodes. You'll see him using some of his familiar powers from the comic books. That's where Tony's experience in other sci-fi genre shows really came into the play, because he immediately understood. [He said,] 'I love the Shakespearean bigness of it, but I also understand he needs to be relatable to the audience on a very grounded level.'"
Wallaces continues: "I think the audience is going to flip out when they see how dynamic, exciting, and unpredictable Tony is in bringing this particular version of Despero to life. This is not exactly the Despero that you might know from the comics, or the Justice League cartoon. This is our own version that Tony is really bringing something unique to it that I think is going to help make him the definitive Despero."
Not only that, but Wallace believes Curran's performance also brought out the best in the entire cast. "What was really nice about 'Armageddon' is that everyone stepped up and treated this like the event that it really is, and Tony was a part of that," he says. "Tony's the nicest guy ever, but he doesn't mess around. He's intense, and it helped the cast, having someone so experienced around, rise up to that next level. I think the scenes that you see between Grant and Tony, I just think you're going to cackle and hoot with joy because they're just amazing. Two amazing performers giving just incredible, incredible performances in two really special roles."
Of course, Despero isn't the only bad guy in "Armageddon." Both Tom Cavanagh and Neal McDonough will return as their popular villains, Reverse Flash and Damien Darhk, respectively; however, Wallace isn't quite ready to share how they fit into the story, except for the fact that the duo — who previously teamed up to find the Spear of Destiny in DC's Legends of Tomorrow season 2 — cause trouble for the Scarlett Speedster.
"What happens when you have one bad guy? Well, bad things happen. What happens when you have more than one bad guy? Multiple bad things happen, and it makes for a really terrible day for the Flash," says Wallace. "Let's just say the Flash is about to have the worst day he's ever had in eight years."
Arriving in November, "Armageddon" will feature many familiar faces from across the Arrowverse, including: Javicia Leslie as Batwoman, Legends of Tomorrow's Brandon Routh as the Atom, Cress Williams as Black Lightning, Supergirl's Chyler Leigh as Sentinel/Alex Danvers, Arrow's Kat McNamara as Mia Queen, and "Crisis on Infinite Earths" star Osric Chau as Ryan Choi.
The Flash premieres Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CW. For more on The Flash and the Arrowverse, tune in to DC FanDome this Saturday at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET on DCFanDome.com.
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