The Flash showrunner breaks down all those season 9 premiere twists
Warning: This article contains spoilers about The Flash season 9 premiere.
With only 13 episodes to go until The Flash ends for good, why not pause time for a little Groundhog Day action?
The season 9 premiere found Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris (Candice Patton) on the tail-end of a dreamy staycation that turned into a nightmare when they got stuck in a time loop that seemed to never end. Ultimately, by spending the day together and working through their marital issues, they not only saved the day and stopped the time loop, they also came out of it as a stronger couple ready to face whatever's coming next.
And that's a good thing, because in the final moments of the premiere, Barry met what (or who?) came out of Frost's (Danielle Panabaker) capsule at the end of the season 8 finale — and she said she's not Caitlin (also Panabaker) or Frost. And there's a new villain heading for Team Flash, teased in the premiere's stinger scene with a red lightning bat symbol.
The Flash showrunner Eric Wallace says there are even more surprises to come, in as early as next week's episode. "I would watch all the way through the credits at the end of episode 2," he tells EW. Below, check out what else Wallace had to say about all those season 9 premiere twists and some upcoming returns.
Bettina Strauss/The CW
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What's up with Danielle's new character, who says she is neither Caitlin nor Frost?
ERIC WALLACE: As Danielle's character says at the end, "I am not Frost and I am not Caitlin." That is true. I want to just say that flat out — she is someone brand new. We're going to find out immediately who she is in episode 2. You'll find out her name, her origin, what happened inside that capsule, and how she came to be. What we are going to learn over the course of the season is, why is she here? Why now? There's a reason for this new hero to rise at this time and it all ties into our series finale. I can say unequivocally that the Flash and his family would not survive the events of the finale without the arrival of Danielle Panabaker's new character. She's that integral to not just Team Flash, but maybe to the whole world.
Joe [Jesse L. Martin] announced that he wants to leave Central City — where did that twist come from and what are we going to see from that moving forward?
Its origins are very practical — we just don't have the actor all season long. Jesse's on a new show and we only have him for a handful of episodes in season 9, so we had to just practically explain, "Where's Joe this week? Why has he been gone for four episodes?" It came from a very practical place, however it led to a very emotional storyline for Joe and Cecile [Danielle Nicolet] as they deal with what happens if Joe really does leave Central City. What does that mean for their relationship?
They're about to go through some Sturm und Drang and all that good stuff, but I am happy to report nobody dies, nobody divorces, everything's going to be fine. There will be a happy ending for them, it's just going to get a little intense in the middle of the season as they deal with not always being together in the same spot all the time. What it did give us was this incredibly funny surprise as a result of what Joe decides to do in the first third of the season, it brings Cecile closer to another member of Team Flash in the funniest way possible. It's just really charming.
Now that we know Batwoman star Javicia Leslie has joined the show for the final season, what can you reveal about who she's playing and — I think I already know the answer to this one — if that has anything to do with the red lightning bat symbol we see at the end of the premiere?
[Laughs] Yes, it is fair to say that Javicia has something to do with that red lightning bolt. I don't think that's going to come as a surprise to anyone. The question is, how does it happen and why is she here? And also, who exactly is she playing? That's a mystery that doesn't get talked about in her initial appearances on the show. Also, how will it affect her relationship with Iris?
One of the happy accidents that happened in Armageddon when we had Javicia over was the discovery of the incredible chemistry between Candice Patton and Javicia Leslie. After seeing that, I literally made a note, "We've got to do more of this. This is gold." When Javicia comes onto the show, one of the most powerful emotional moments is when her character finally interacts with Iris and it's going to be in a way that folks are not expecting. And it may show you a side of Javicia Leslie that you haven't seen before because she just knocks it out of the park with performance. It's something that I think fans are going to just love.
The stinger scene in last season's finale seemed to tease the arrival of Cobalt Blue — any intel you can reveal about that now?
[Laughs] You can't see me winking, right? There are no details I can give you about whether or not Cobalt Blue might up appear on this show. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. I can neither confirm nor deny anything. I can say this, however: be aware of the blue crystal, especially in the series finale.
EW recently announced Matt Letscher's return for the final season, and though we saw Reverse-Flash die in last season's finale, is he going to be playing that same character again?
Every time Matt has been on the show, he's only played, no matter what version of it, one unforgettable character, and that is the Reverse-Flash. I don't see that changing this season. However, the question is how can he be alive when we all saw him die? And if he is still alive, what does that mean for Barry Allen? And that goes back to tying up loose ends from season 1. That's all I'll reveal, but get ready for some sparks between Grant Gustin and Matt Letscher that will blow your mind.
EW also announced Rick Cosnett's coming back as well — how is he able to return again for the final season?
Actually, this has always been the plan. We tried to get him more last year and due to availability issues and all that stuff, we could only get him into two episodes. But I always felt that if we were going to bookend the show — I'm pretending that season 9 and 1 are bookends to The Flash story — I mean, Flash might be happily married, but Iris was engaged to another dude. And even if he's dead, might there still be some ghostly baggage to deal with that? I think so. And when better to deal with it than in season 9 and to do it in a very fun but also unexpected way. So look for that in his return.
Iris expands her media empire on her own terms in this episode — how does that impact her season-long arc?
It's a almost full-circle journey for myself as a writer. I was the writer of the episode in which Iris got her speed powers way back in season 4. That's the episode where, deliberately, we had Iris reject superpowers in favor of journalism and that's where she restarts her blog. I look at what happens in season 9 as the end of the journey that was rebooted with that episode. Now on the other end of it, we learn about her future winning two Pulitzer Prizes. We know it's coming, so let's show it, how it actually happens to pay off her full turn as becoming the preeminent journalist in the Arrowverse. No offense, Lois Lane.
[Laughs] By the way, that was one of my bucket list things that I did not get to accomplish with only 13 episodes, I just wanted to get Lois Lane and Iris in the same room again, and I didn't get it. That's one of the regrets I think I'll have. But that's life.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
The Flash airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CW.
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