The Flash star Grant Gustin teases Barry and Black Lightning's 'heavy' reunion in 'Armageddon'
After more than a year without an Arrowverse crossover, The Flash is kicking off its eighth season with a five-part team-up event that sees Barry Allen recruit several familiar faces to help him fight the alien Despero (Tony Curran). In addition to featuring Williams' Jefferson Pierce, the story will feature Batwoman's Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie), Legends of Tomorrow's Atom (Brandon Routh), Arrow's Mia Queen, Supergirl's Sentinel (Chyler Leigh), and Osric Chau as Ryan Choi. But bear in mind, this is not a crossover. It's something different.
Below, EW chats with Gustin about teaming up with Williams again, returning to the Hall of Justice, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How does "Armageddon" compare to the typical Arrowverse crossover?
GRANT GUSTIN: It was cool because it all took place at home, which was a little more convenient for the cast and crew of The Flash. We weren't juggling so many different production schedules. Because it was just one continuous Flash story, it almost more like a feature compared to a lot of the other crossovers we've done, where the vibes are constantly different going to other sets and other crews and different scripts. All of these scripts were written by [showrunner Eric Wallace] and our writers. It kind of felt like our version of a little CW Flash feature. It was a little easier to balance because it was all Flash schedules and we were inviting all these other cool guests over to our home base.
What's the coolest interaction Barry had with one of the many guests?
My favorite thing, and not to discredit anything else, is I have a lot of really cool scenes, a lot of the meat of the beginning of "Armageddon," with Cress as Jefferson from Black Lightning. We had like, I think, three jam-packed days of work, but it was a lot that we got into those three days. It was all at the Hall of Justice set, which is a cool location on this airfield. It was a day shoot leading into two night shoots. It was just a cool filming experience, but also I think some of the best heavy scenes that I have in the first three, four episodes. So I'm looking forward to seeing how those turned out. I know we had a good time shooting them, and there were a lot of different elements in those scenes.
Cress had told me multiple times how much he loved working with you on "Crisis" and that he was looking forward to doing it again, and it sounds like the feeling is mutual. What do you enjoy about working with him so much?
First of all he's just a really nice guy, and he's been in the business a lot longer than I have. I love working with guys like that who just have stuff that they can share with me, and there's a lot I can learn from somebody like that. Not just in the craft [of acting], but how he carries himself in the business, carries himself on set. I just have fun talking and working with him. But he's a really serious, well-prepared, good actor. They give us really good material, and he shows up ready to go. It's just fun. It's different than any of the other dynamics I have on the show. It's special because it's different. I think it's mutual, but we really, really enjoy working with each other.
What makes Barry and Jefferson's dynamic different?
He's a lightning-based hero, which is not incredibly different from Barry's powers. Barry has this connection with the Speed Force, which is obviously different from Jefferson's powers. But the whole reason Barry goes to Jefferson during the "Armageddon" five-parter is for a very specific reason, for the powers that Jefferson has. He needs him specifically to help him achieve something that is kind of a dark twist in, I believe, the second episode.
The introduction of the Hall of Justice set was pretty exciting. As a Superman and comics fan, how did it feel to return there?
It was cool. It was also bittersweet because as we were there we were like, "Man, we're not here with everybody." Supergirl is ending. It was sad almost because this was supposed where our squad hooked up, and we haven't done that yet. I'm hoping we get to do that in some capacity, but it was cool just to be back with Cress. We have a lot of action take place on the set. We just have good scenes in general that take place on the set. But it's a cool room to shoot in. It's a real-life functioning hangar for people working on airplanes.
How are things going for Barry and Iris' [Candice Patton] marriage?
They're doing well. When we pick up, everybody is in a good place. We get to see them having this nice little romantic dinner at home that is comedically interrupted by one of our guest stars that shows up, but they're in a good place. We're still getting the signs that they'd like to start a family and move forward with their lives. But Despero's arrival and everything else kind of gets in the way of all that. Iris is still dealing with her time sickness, and Barry is not aware of that at this point. That's one thing Iris has going on that we'll start to get hints of.
Finally, Barry had such a close relationship with Oliver [Stephen Amell]. How would you describe his dynamic with Oliver's daughter, Mia [Katherine McNamara]?
I wouldn't say that she kind of replaces the Oliver dynamic by any means. She's a very different character than Oliver. I love Kat's take on the character; she's a little spunky badass. They're good teammates, and she works a lot with the whole team actually when she shows up on the show and falls right in with us. Grant and Kat are probably closer at this point than Barry and Mia are, just because we haven't seen them develop that relationship on camera in the way that Stephen and I had years and years to do.
The Flash season 8 premieres Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CW.
After the success of Arrow, Barry Allen (a.k.a. the Flash) gets his own CW treatment in this comic-themed spin-off.