CW’s super hero series the Flash has wrapped up its excellent freshman season, with a very busy finale that wrapped up the first year story arcs and establishes a convoluted new time stream where the architect who set the shows major events in motion—the Reverse Flash—never existed, and yet the Flash (Gustin) still does; despite the fact that it was the actions of Reverse Flash (Tom Cavanagh) that gave him his powers. (Hopefully they’ll explain how that works in season two) The show ended on an epic cliffhanger where this time paradox has caused a singularity (black hole) to open above the city and threaten the whole planet. When the next season comes along this fall, we’ll see how far-reaching the changes in the timeline are due to the erasure of Reverse Flash. It’s likely that the arrival of the already name-dropped Rip Hunter (who will be played by Dr. Who alumni Arthur Darvill on the spin-off Legends of Tomorrow) will act as a convenient plot device to help straighten out—or at least explain—the new timeline. Or timelines!
In season two, Barry Allen/the Flash will be exploring the multiple timelines created by the finale’s paradox. Series star Grant Gustin told TV Guide, “What’s fun about this show is that there’s going to be multiple timelines as we move forward. I think we’re going to start showing Earth-One and Earth-Two in the near future. There will be kind of different dimensions going on.”
Carlos Valdez who plays Cisco—soon to be ‘Vibe’—has also commented on the coming multiverse, saying “It gets a little Rubik’s Cube-y in terms of keeping consistency between all these timelines and whatnot, but the writers have their stuff together. If I were to trust anyone, it would be them.”
We’ve already seen one major Easter Egg for an alternate universe, when the helmet of the Golden Age comic book Flash, Jay Garrick, dropped into the TV-universe. The helmet is obviously recognized by Reverse Flash, who judiciously announces, “That’s my cue to leave!”
Producer Greg Berlanti recently told Comic Central City that the Flash might even cross-over into the Smallville universe, and that Superman would appear on the Flash in year two, played once again by Tom Welling, who portrayed a young Clark Kent for 10 years. This could also be a way to possibly connect the upcoming Supergirl series to Smallville, if the producers decide to go that route.
This also opens up the possibility of connecting the DC movie universe to the TV continuity. Berlanti (who also produces Arrow) and DC creative honcho Geoff Johns have stated adamantly that the DC TV continuity (of Flash, Arrow and the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow) will not be the same as the movie universe, which began with Man of Steel and will continue in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman, Justice League, Aquaman and the Flash. In fact, the film version of the Flash (described as “a new iteration of Barry Allen”), due out in 2018, will be played by Ezra Miller. Yet despite the promise that the two universes will be different, the fact that Gustin’s Flash will cross dimensions and explore the multiverse opens a window for the TV characters to meet and interact with the movie characters.
Geoff Johns said, “Well, Arrow and Flash are the same universe, and we get a lot of great stories out of that — especially when we have episodes that cross them over, but that’s also where our superhero universe lives. We look at it as the multiverse. We have our TV universe and our film universe, but they all co-exist.” Johns adds, “There’s been discussions over the years for both, obviously. You never say never. Maybe one day we’ll link a show to a film if it makes sense, but the creative process we’re going through right now is to let the stuff live and breathe and be its own thing and own it.”
The Flash being able to cross dimensions/timelines could lead to many possible storytelling options. Since the Flash series has also mentioned “the Crisis” which will happen in 2024, if the show lasts another 9 years (as Smallville did) the multiverse “Crisis” could play out on TV and also connect to the films, the way storylines of Agents of SHIELD connect to the Marvel movies. Wouldn’t a “Crisis on Infinite Earths” film make for an amazing ‘Justice League 3’? The Flash could be a big part of making that happen.