BLURRED TIME­LINE

The Flash is rewrit­ing its own his­tory. Joseph McCabe raCes to keep up

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - The Flash -

Sec­ond chances are pre­cious things. Rare, fleet­ing, and al­most im­pos­si­ble to cre­ate. Un­less, of course, you’re the Flash. But even a su­per­hero can make mis­takes in try­ing to make a bet­ter world… As The Flash’s sec­ond year drew to a close, Barry Allen had de­feated the most pow­er­ful foe he’d yet faced, the de­monic Zoom. But he paid a huge price for that vic­tory – the death of his fa­ther. Just like his mother’s death years be­fore, Barry watched help­lessly while his dad was mur­dered by a speed­ster. This time, how­ever, it was too much for the hero to bear. And so he de­cided to race back in time to save his mother once and for all, and, in so do­ing, spared both his par­ents.

Pro­ducer Todd Hel­bing gives SFX a glimpse of how things have changed since we last vis­ited Cen­tral City.

“At the end of last sea­son, when Barry went back to save his mother from be­ing killed by Reverse-Flash, that changes his life. It sets him on a new time­line. So when Barry comes back from that, ev­ery­thing is dif­fer­ent. He didn’t grow up any­more with Joe West and Iris in the house. He never ended up go­ing to STAR Labs. All the peo­ple that he ended up hav­ing re­la­tion­ships with in sea­sons one and two are com­pletely dif­fer­ent. But, at the same time, he is liv­ing this sort of idyl­lic ex­is­tence with his real par­ents, who are now alive.”

“At heart,” adds Hel­bing, “Barry’s this very op­ti­mistic char­ac­ter. And that op­ti­mism has been hid­ing the fact that there’s this hol­low­ness inside him. So for the first time in his life, at least since his mother was killed, he’s able to have that hole inside of him filled. It’s ev­ery­thing he’s ever wanted. But what he’ll start to re­alise is that with ev­ery de­ci­sion he’s made, there are con­se­quences.”

di­men­sions & Time

In­spired by the DC Comics sto­ry­line Flash­point (by writer Ge­off Johns), Barry’s ac­tions will af­fect at least one other show in the ev­er­ex­pand­ing DC TV Uni­verse.

“Su­per­girl’s in an­other di­men­sion,” says Hel­bing. “And then on Leg­ends Of To­mor­row, they’re kind of trav­el­ling through time on their own. But Arrow’s in the same time­line, the same era, so it’s gonna af­fect that. There are some big per­sonal changes with some of the char­ac­ters… Flash­point isn’t go­ing to last a

whole sea­son, but the ef­fects of what Barry did will.”

When Flash­point begins, one of those ef­fects is that Joe West’s son Wally has be­come Kid Flash. The yel­low-clad speed­ster, Hel­bing ex­plains, will dif­fer from Barry in his ap­proach to crime­fight­ing.

“Barry has pow­ers, but there’s an­other Flash out there… Last year, Wally was rac­ing cars. He was speed­ing into dan­ger. He is a lot more of the ego­tis­ti­cal, cocky teenager than Barry ever was. So there’s go­ing to be a lot of bravado with him. Like, ‘I’m Kid Flash, man! Noth­ing can stop me!’”

Fur­ther com­pli­cat­ing Barry’s life this year will be not one but two Big Bads: Doc­tor Alchemy and Sav­i­tar.

“Doc­tor Alchemy, like in the comics, has this thing called the Philoso­pher’s Stone, and it al­lows him to trans­mute things. He can cre­ate things out of noth­ing. So he is re­ally cre­at­ing a lot of prob­lems for the Flash us­ing that thing. Then on top of that we have Sav­i­tar. Sav­i­tar is the Hindu word for the god of speed. He’s like Zoom in terms of his speed. But it’s more of a psy­cho­log­i­cal tor­ment for Barry in a lot of ways. Be­cause Sav­i­tar is kind of this cult leader. So you’ll see how that starts to pull peo­ple in and af­fect him. There are groupies around him. He’s to­tally dif­fer­ent than Reverse-Flash and Zoom.”

Lend­ing sup­port in the vil­lainy de­part­ment is the Flash’s long­time comic-book foe Mir­ror Master, played by Grey Da­mon.

“Mir­ror Master is awe­some,” says a smil­ing Hel­bing. “I feel like he was re­ally the last big rogue… Well, there’s Abra Kadabra, who has some pow­ers that we’re try­ing to fig­ure out how to make look cool. In comic books it’s easy, but when you ac­tu­ally have to make it man­i­fest… Even with Mir­ror Master, it’s like, ‘How the fuck do you get him in the glass with­out it look­ing goofy?’ In our ver­sion, he’s a meta. He doesn’t have a gun. You’re go­ing to see his ori­gin story. He’s this very hand­some, ego­tis­ti­cal guy who – once he gets these pow­ers – wants to be king of the cas­tle. Mir­ror Master’s the big­gest guest vil­lain right now. But I will say we’ll do a lit­tle Grodd ac­tion.”

The tele­pathic go­rilla’s an­nual ap­pear­ance

How of­ten do you get to do a su­per­hero mu­si­cal? C’mon!

on The Flash has be­come a favourite of many fans. Though Hel­bing admits his story’s lat­est turn, in which he was ban­ished to Earth-Two’s su­per-smart simian sanc­tu­ary, pre­sented an enor­mous chal­lenge. One view­ers will see sur­mounted in a two-part episode…

“It’s one of those things where you screw your­self,” he laughs. “It’s like, ‘He lands in Go­rilla City!’ Then it’s ‘What are we do­ing – so the next time we see Grodd we have to do Go­rilla City?! We can’t af­ford that!’ Yeah, we’ll see what hap­pens there.”

Hel­bing also in­di­cates that Jay Gar­rick may be back in town to lend Barry a speedy hand when needed.

“Now that Barry knows the real Jay Gar­rick, an­other Flash, is out there, the odds of him us­ing Jay to get some ad­vice now and then will likely in­crease. It’s weird, for sure, that he looks like his dad. But there’s no way to get around that. So it’s go­ing to be an el­e­ment that Barry just has to deal with ev­ery time he sees him.”

ALSO STAR­RING…

Among this year’s new faces will be that of Tom Fel­ton. Best known for play­ing Draco Mal­foy in the Harry Pot­ter films, the ac­tor will take on the role of a new reg­u­lar – Ju­lian Dorn, a CSI at Cen­tral City PD who takes a special in­ter­est in Barry. Ad­di­tion­ally, The Vam­pire

Diaries’ Su­san Wal­ters will ap­pear as Caitlin Snow’s mother, Dr Carla Tannhauser, the CEO of her own re­search com­pany.

But for many the most wel­come news is that of a two-part mu­si­cal in the sea­son’s sec­ond half; in which The Flash will once more cross over with Su­per­girl. Both stars Grant Gustin and Melissa Benoist are vet­er­ans of TV’s tune-filled Glee. And with at least one new song ex­pected per show, Hel­bing says it’s a project that’s es­pe­cially near and dear to the heart of Greg Ber­lanti, the cre­ator/ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of all the DC TV Uni­verse shows.

“I don’t know if this is true, but some­body told me that with the mu­si­cal episode on Buffy

The Vam­pire Slayer they planned for six months or some­thing. So yeah, we’re def­i­nitely al­ready work­ing on it. This is ob­vi­ously very close to Greg. It’s his baby. So I know he got the idea in his head months be­fore he even told any­body. Ev­ery day it’s get­ting clearer what he wants to do. I’m ex­cited. How of­ten do you get to do a su­per­hero mu­si­cal? C’mon!”

With singing su­per­heroes on the hori­zon and a younger speed­ster in Cen­tral City, Hel­bing as­sures us that The Flash’s third year will be lighter in tone than its of­ten dark sec­ond sea­son.

“It got pretty grim last sea­son. That was one of those things where it was like, ‘This is gonna get darker and darker and darker. We gotta re­set that.’ So that was a con­scious thing that we all knew we had to do. I would say this sea­son is more akin to the first sea­son than the last five or six episodes of Zoom last year.”

Ac­cord­ing to the pro­ducer, it’s all about re­turn­ing to what The Flash does best…

“I worked on Spar­ta­cus for four years, and that was a re­ally dark show. To be able to write a show where at the end of ev­ery episode you feel good, and you see some­body en­joy­ing their pow­ers and what it means to be a hero… Ev­ery­thing is so dark in our world. To be able to do some­thing light is re­ally nice.”

Zoom: noth­ing to do with Fat Larry’s Band.

You’ll never win any­thing with Kid Flashes…

Now a major mo­tion tele­vi­sion pro­gramme.

The Flash is on Sky 1 in the UK and The CW in the US from Oc­to­ber.

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