On The Flash, the showdown with Eobard Thawne, aka Reverse Flash, has left the Scarlet Speedster in a dark place. Star Grant Gustin told reporters at Comic Con that “we’re definitely dealing with the darkness, in the first part of the season.”
During roundtable interviews about The Flash, producer Andrew Kreisberg told us that a major theme in the second season would the nature of celebrity—everybody knows about The Flash and sees him as a hero. And the most comic-book thing on this show is that it’s a world where everybody accepts that there are superpowers. But Gustin said that even as the general public acclaims the Flash, he’ll feel as though he doesn’t deserve it, because he didn’t actually stop the Reverse Flash himself.
“The Flash is getting a lot of acclaim and he’s being treated as a hero, but he doesn’t feel like one, becuase as we know, Eddie is the one who really stopped Wells,” said Gustin.
As the new season begins, Barry is in “kind of a dark place,” said Gustin. “He’s kind of a lone wolf right now.”
Barry is used to being very positive and working with his friends and moving forward, but “all those qualities are missing right now,” said Gustin. “Joe and Iris are trying to get him out of this funk, because this isn’t the Barry they’re used to dealing with.” Barry’s “faith has been rocked.”
Added Kreisberg, “Barry is going to be struggilng with, how does he get his sense of trust back” after having wrongly trusted Harrison Wells. “Everybody is learning that they have been taken on this ride, and they have been so duped. Barry is so trusting and puts his faith in people—and he wonders if he can get that back,” Kreisberg said. “That, more than anything, is what wells took from him last year.”
And meanwhile, a whole new group of metahumans has been unleashed, who have a whole different set of origins, and Barry isn’t sure he can protect the city from them.
The good news is: Barry is going to have a new mentor, who will help him find new ways to use her powers. “He’ll mature over the course of this season, and really kind of start to become the hero the city is treating him as,” said Gustin. He hopes it doesn’t take too long to get the light-hearted Barry Allen back, because he wants to have fun and karaoke as well as dark brooding.
We asked Gustin what he learned about playing the Flash from costar John Wesley Shipp, who played the role back in the 1990s. “I love John,” said Gustin. “Out of everybody, all the veterans I’ve worked with, John has given the most advice.” This advice included “being true to myself, and just trusting myself with the character, and [believing] I was cast for the right reasons. It’s a lot of responsibility and pressure that come with a franchise like this, [and you have to] just ignore it and pretty much do your own thing.”
Adds Gustin, “Working with John has been amazing. He’s just a terrific actor. Some of our scenes together are some of the more emotionally raw scenes on the show. I really loved working with him.”
Now that Harrison Wells’ evil secret is out, the S.T.A.R. Labs team is getting a shakeup. Kreisberg says “the early episodes will be about dealing with” finding a new way to work without Wells. There will be some really cool surprises, but at the same time many things will remain the same, like Cisco naming all the villains, and Caitlin and Cisco will still have a kind of brother-sister relationship, and so on.
One change this season: Iris will be more part of the team, and we’ll see more of “Iris West, ace reporter” this year—this will give the team a whole other avenue of investigation. Iris has the “ability to work more in the streets and with people, that’s where she’s very talented,” said Candice Patton, who plays Iris. “She gets the scoop.”
Iris will be joining S.T.A.R. Labs, Patton said, but she’ll also be dealing with the horror of losing her boyfriend, along with all the other loss Iris has suffered, when this season starts. At the same time, she wants Iris and Barry to get back to the fun banter they had earlier in season one.
The after-effects of the “Singularity” are going to drive the whole ongoing storyline in season two, Kreisberg added.
Tom Cavanagh, who plays Eobard Thawne, told us that from the first moment he appeared on the show, the “starting point” for his performance was never Harrison Wells—he was always thinking of himself as Thawne, which added a whole other layer to his performance the whole time. It’s always more fun, as an actor, to play things with a heavy subtext to them instead of just playing “straight pipe.” Even a line as simple and innocent as “I’ll see you soon, Barry,” can carry different meanings.
The big surprise for Cavanagh was how much affection his character feels for Barry Allen—in addition to needing to protect Barry for plot reasons.
Danielle Panabaker, who plays Caitlin Snow, said that she really loved getting to reveal a glimpse of herself as Killer Frost at the end of the season—and this was something they’d been working on for months, going back and forth with different versions of the character. They started out with a “pixie” look and then kept lengthening the wig and changing it up, until they ended with what they had.
Panabaker hopes we don’t have to wait too long until we see more of Killer Frost on the show—and when we asked whether Killer Frost could appear on the spinoff Legends of Tomorrow, which will feature lots of time-traveling and possibly future versions of the characters, she said, “I hope so! I would love that.”
Carlos Valdes, who plays Cisco Ramon, said that he’s enjoying playing some darker moments for Cisco. It’s “the kind of stuff you dream about,” he said, “playing different dimensions, and giving your character all sorts of breath of life.” And he hinted that he thinks Cisco will deal with more loss soon: “The best way to know a person is to take something away from them, and then you start to see their true colors.”
Valdes’ favorite supervillain name that Cisco came up with is actually Prism, even though that character is called Rainbow Raider in the comics (and Caitlin comes up with the “correct” name for that character.) Someone asked whether Cisco will get to name himself when he becomes the superhero Vibe, or whether someone else will name him, and he responded, “I know the answer to that question, but I’m not going to tell you what it is. All I’m going to tell you is that it’s great. It’s a beautiful moment.”
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