The Flash star Carlos Valdes discusses his exit and teases his finale encore
After six-and-a-half seasons of naming bad guys, making geeky pop cultural references, and providing stellar technical support and good vibes to Team Flash, original cast member Carlos Valdes is leaving The Flash in Tuesday night's episode.
Titled "Good-Bye Vibrations," the installment sees Cisco join Barry (Grant Gustin) and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), the remaining OG members of Team Flash, for an emotional yet fun final mission before he moves from Central City to Star City. Fittingly, the meta-of-the-week has ties to the CW drama's inaugural season as the trio finds themselves going up against a new version of Rainbow Raider (Jona Xiao). They first crossed paths with Rainbow Raider 1.0 in the Arrowverse's first crossover episode, "Flash vs. Arrow." Thankfully, this isn't the last time we'll Valdes this season because he's set to make an encore in the season 7 finale.
Below, Valdes explains his decision to leave the show, what he'll miss the most, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: It feels like this has been a long time coming. When and how did you realize it was time to hang up the graphic tees and leave the show?
CARLOS VALDES: I was actually just saying playing this character has permanently ruined graphic tees for me. I don't think I can ever, ever — for the rest of my life — ever go out in public wearing a graphic tee without feeling I'm coming up as my character. Cosplaying as myself, so to speak. So yeah, it ruined that for me!
The idea [of leaving] was always there, but I don't think I felt comfortable acting on it until much later. I'm the child of an immigrant, so my whole ethos is "earn your place or card" and I think that's what I did for a long time. I just put my head down and I made it work. And a lot of joy and satisfaction and career rewards and momentum have come from that. And I'm so appreciative of that, but at the end of the day, mental health is important. And I was talking to a friend of mine this morning and he said that he thinks our culture is slowly gravitating towards seeking out healing energy. And just as Cisco had to leave his powers behind for the sake of his mental health, just as this morning [Naomi] Osaka had to drop out of the French Open for her mental health. These are highly controversial choices that people are making and it's always really rewarding to see when fans respond positively to those kinds of moves because it gives me hope in humanity and that people understand that mental health is an important priority. And so for me to step away from the show, it's a way of me taking care of myself.
When you spoke to [showrunner] Eric Wallace, did you have any wishes or ideas for how Cisco would be written off, or did you just leave that to the writers?
Eric has always been really good about creating a dialogue with the cast and motive transparency between us all, so he's been incredibly supportive throughout this whole process in terms of making sure that we collaborate on what we feel is a good goodbye for Cisco. And though a sadistic part of me was tempted to kill him off [laughs], we ultimately decided that wouldn't feel right. This big ol' goodbye... really, Cisco is just moving across the street. That's really all that's happening. So yeah, it's a goodbye but it's not that tragic because it leaves the door open for Cisco.
Even though this is your formal goodbye episode, we know you return for the season 7 finale.
Yeah, I'm coming back, baby, for the last two! I think it's really flattering and gratifying to get to do a big old goodbye, and then come in as a surprise at the very end to help the team take down on a formidable foe.
What do you think you'll miss the most about the show?
I'll miss the paycheck. I'll miss the financial security for sure! I will miss the positive influences of the people that I work with — not just the cast but also the crew. We currently live in a culture that just consumes content, consumes TV, and I think it should not be lost on people that for every show that they watch there are at least five, six, seven times as many people making that thing on the other side of the camera. And those people are some really, really special people and the crew on our show is no exception. I think just as much as I'll miss the cast, there are some vital crew members on that show whose energies and spirits I'm really going to miss.
When you look back on your seven seasons on The Flash, what's your fondest memory?
The episodes where our cast got to direct, like when Danielle [Panabaker] got to direct and when Tom [Cavanagh] got to direct, there was something so special about those episodes — and I'm sure they felt it too. But I could feel myself and castmates just creating a cushion of support for those directing efforts, trying to try to be there for them in whatever way that we could. And that's a really special energy because it transcends the trivial businessy aspect of what we do and it reminds us that at the end of the day, we're here to support each other creatively and not let our egos get in the way. There's something about that energy while supporting each other that I'll really miss.
Do you know what's next for you?
No clue. Truly no clue and I love that. I love that I'm giving this chapter a respectable goodbye and that my next step out of that goodbye is a question mark. I think that question marks tend to give people a lot of anxiety, but as I get older, I'm starting to learn that there is something very sweet about living in that question mark. And I'm learning to appreciate that mystery. So I don't know. My instinct tells me that perhaps I will dive in a more committed fashion into making music, but who knows?
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CW.