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Comic-Con: The Flash Gang Gave Us a Preview of a Season of “Thrills and Chills” for Barry, Iris, and Co.

The Flash cast

The season five finale of The Flash was a tearjerker, as Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris (Candice Patton) said goodbye to their time-traveling daughter, Nora (Jessica Parker-Kennedy). It was an emotional finale that also saw Cisco (Carlos Valdes) give up his metahuman powers, Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) promoted to captain, and Sherloque Wells (Tom Cavanaugh) head back to his own world.

But we also saw that holographic newspaper heralding Barry’s disappearance in the future reset its date from 2024 to 2019. It looks like the heroes are headed for a serious Crisis and that the new villain, Bloodwork, played by Heroes’ Sendhil Ramamurthy, is going to make things even more dangerous if the new trailer is any indication. We talked to the cast and showrunner all about it at San Diego Comic-Con to find out more.

When Nora changed history, and in doing so erased herself from her own timeline, she may have also sped up the disappearance of The Flash that’s been looming since season one. “Once that newspaper started to spin wildly, all bets were off,” said new showrunner Eric Wallace.

The looming Crisis on Infinite Earths is something to be excited about for him, though. “We’ve been waiting for five and a half years with this newspaper holographic thing hanging over us. Well, we’re here now,” Wallace explained. Bloodwork and his dark schemes are going to all fit into that, as well. “I’m calling this the season of thrills and chills,” said Wallace, hinting at a more comic book-influenced season.

Something fans of the comics and the show have been clamoring for (I know, I saw all your Iris tweets, guys) is when we’ll see more of Iris West as a journalist, and Candice Patton agrees:

“It’s been a question that I’ve been asking for years, since we started the show. I think it’s really important to people who love the comics; Iris is known as the ace reporter. It’s crazy that it’s taken this long to get here … Starting with our new showrunner, I think he’s really invested in seeing that come to fruition, and so, as Iris hires more employees for the Citizen, we’re going to see her a lot more on that set.”

Eric Wallace is indeed in the reporter Iris fan club. “In order to become a Pulitzer-winning journalist, you have to have a media empire!” Wallace told us. “She’s going to have to grow one this season,” which means new sets, and new characters. “I’m very excited about some of the new employees that will be working for the citizen, and seeing iris actually in charge and as boss of her paper,” Wallace added.

And that’s, in a way, how Iris copes with losing her daughter. “Iris, no matter what happens, she gets back to doing what she knows how to do, which is fight for her city,” said Patton. “She’ll do that by being a reporter. I’m sure the loss of Nora and everything that’s happening will give her fuel to be the reporter that she was meant to be.”

That loss and grief is something Iris will share with her super husband, too, of course. “He’s just doing his best to move forward and do all the good in the city and for the team,” Gustin told us, but Barry is going to “kind of bury it for now, which isn’t obviously the best way to handle it. And we kind of see Iris … confront the fact that the only way we’re going to really get over this is if we kind of come together to get over it.”

It’s the same for Iris. “I think it’s hard for them to navigate, it’s not always perfect,” Patton explained. “I think there’s a common goal for Barry and Iris to do it together, to grieve together and get through it together, but it’s not without bumps along the way, that’s for sure.”

Westallen

We know their love will endure, and speaking of love and comic book stories, after two years, we’re finally set to meet the true love of Ralph Dibney (Hartley Sawyer): Sue Dearbon. No casting has been announced yet, but it’s for sure happening this season. It’s a story that Sawyer has been eager to get to since he joined the show. “Since I started playing him in season four, all roads lead to Sue Dibney,” Sawyer explained, “but I’m also nervous about it. I feel like a lot of people are waiting for it, and there’s a lot built up on it. I want to do it well, and I want to do it right, and I want it to turn out well.”

It helps that Sawyer has been laying the groundwork for Ralph’s evolution into a loving husband and hero since day one. “I know who this guy is in 15 years,” Sawyer said. “You don’t end up being part of some great romance if you don’t level up your game.”

It doesn’t look like romance is on the table again yet for the most unlucky-in-love member of Team Flash, Caitlin Snow, and her Danielle Panabaker is fine with the break her character has had from the sating scene. “I’m really pleased that they finally took the time to have her focus on her relationship with herself,” Panabaker said.

For Caitlin, that relationship with herself is quite literal, as she learned to be a team with her alter-ego, Killer Frost. Frost will be popping up a lot more this season, complete with a new super-suit. “She’s gonna get to sort of take the wheel a little bit more,” Panabaker shared, “snd I think it’s gonna be fun to sort of explore Killer Frost’s relations with everybody in Team Flash. She’s gotta learn a lot about herself; she spent a lot of time in hiding.”

Will Killer Frost’s prominence be related to Caitlin’s connection to Ramsay Rosso, a.k.a. Bloodwork? We don’t know, nut he will have a connection to Barry, and as usual with Barry’s connections to villains, that won’t go well. “I think it’s just like sadly his biggest Achilles heel, like it’s gonna happen again, he even is suspicious of this person,” Gustin lamented, and yet, more back-stabbing will happen. “It happens to Barry again and again and again, but I think it’s going to feel a little more personal this year. There’s going to be a history there with him and this character and Caitlin…there’s gonna be a level of trust that will exist and be shattered.”

And there’s more for Barry to worry about besides Bloodwork. “The Monitor pops up really early on and says that the universe is in jeopardy, and in order to save the universe, Barry Allen is going to have to die. Yeah so … we are dealing with that pretty much out of the gate. That’s the biggest change leading to Crisis.” All across the Arrowverse, it seems that all roads lead to this same massive event, and it’s going to change everything.

“There’s a reason for that, because what Team Flash is facing with Crisis is so sad and poignant and horrific knowing what could happen,” Wallace told us, but added, “The world might end—what does that do to our heroes? Make them more heroic.”

The Flash returns for season six on Tuesday, October 8 at 8:00 on The CW.

(images: The CW)

Jessica Mason is a writer and lawyer living in Portland, Oregon passionate about corgis, fandom, and awesome girls. Follow her on Twitter at @FangirlingJess.

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