Something speedy this way comes!
Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) will make his Arrow debut Wednesday (8/7c on The CW) for a two-parter that will cap off the show's fall run. Hailing from Central City, a pre-Flash Barry heads to Starling City to lend a hand with an investigation that will shed light on his own backstory, which is very similar to his origin story in the comics.
"Barry comes to Starling City because there is an unexplained robbery at Queen Consolidated and Barry is very interested in the unexplained for reasons that we will find out over the course of these two episodes," executive producer Andrew Kreisberg told reporters at a screening on Monday.
A younger Barry than fans know from the comics, the CSI is the polar opposite of Oliver (Stephen Amell) in many ways. "Barry is outgoing and funny and a little bit unsure of himself and smart and is a squeaky wheel," Kreisberg said. "The contrast between Stephen and Grant is both comical and fun and has been really great to watch."
But the differences between them don't stop there. In fact, the reason why the producers cast the younger Gustin, who is nine years Amell's junior, was to contrast the two characters. "Stephen is more the traditional, square-jawed, muscle-bound hero and that works really well. ... He needs all that," Kreisberg said. "One of the things about the Flash is he's a random guy who gets struck by lightning. He needs the bolt of lightning to be a hero in a way Stephen doesn't need the bolt of lightning." Added DC Comics Chief Creative Office Geoff Johns: "The cool thing is the contrast: Stephen needs the heart, Barry has the heart. Stephen has the body, Barry needs the body."
Coming off a turn as the villainous Sebastian Smythe on Glee, Gustin was attracted to good guy Barry. "I immediately thought he was really funny and endearing," the 23-year-old actor said. "He's fun to play, he's likable. I would be his friend. I haven't had the opportunity to play a character that I would actually enjoy spending time with."
His likable qualities are exactly what draws Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) into his orbit, something that will cause some tension for Team Arrow. "The fact that Barry and Felicity are so similar and they're both uncomfortable in their own skins and both very likable and personable, it just seemed like they would instantly hit it off, which would just complicate things for Oliver even more," Kreisberg said. "Felicity doesn't want to like Oliver in a way because she finds him unattainable. While she really does like Barry, she probably throws herself more into it because he's somebody who is available."
Following the two-parter, Barry was originally set to return for Episode 20 of Arrow, which would serve as a backdoor pilot for a potential Flash spin-off. However, Barry Allen will now be getting his own pilot, and it remains unclear whether Barry will still be incorporated into that episode. "Episode 20 will just be an episode of Arrow," Kreisberg said. "In doing the backdoor pilot, we actually made it a little bit harder because we were going to have to take a right turn from where we were in our ongoing story to incorporate that. In some ways, this has freed us to take the Flash and just do the Flash separately and stay on a straight line."
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Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
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