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Interview: The Flash Showrunner Eric Wallace Previews a Post-Crisis World

The Flash -- "Marathon" -- Image Number: FLA610b_0239b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Grant Gustin as Barry Allen and Candice Patton as Iris West - Allen -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Katie Yu/The CW

Perhaps more than any other show in the Arrowverse, the Crisis on Infinite Earths event has been an integral part of The Flash. The threat of Barry Allen “vanishing in Crisis” has been part of the show since day one, so now that he survived the world-altering event, what’s next? Barry’s dealing with a lost friend, Iris is back to journalism and no one is fated to die.

What else is going to change in this post-Crisis world? Well, there’s one person who knows the answer to that question and many more: Flash showrunner, Eric Wallace. Wallace took the time to chat with The Mary Sue about all things Flash-y and where the remainder of season six, or as Wallace calls it “graphic novel number two” might go.

The Mary Sue: So, I guess we’ll start with the big one: How have things changed in this “post-crisis world” for Central City?

Eric Wallace: Well it’s interesting, somethings have changed radically … Cisco has noticed some of these radical changes immediately. Villains of the past are not the villains we expected them to be in the present anymore. Which is great, is that has given us an opportunity to bring back, as you’ll see as this season continues, graphic novel number two. You’ll see more and more, old familiar faces from the past, but they might have new facelifts, literally … some of them might have new abilities. They might be different and change.

So those are the more obvious changes, now conversely there are things that have not changed but are a little different. For example, like a Jay Garrick who used to be on another earth. Jay Garrick’s now on our earth now, Jay and Joan are alive. So at some point, we, hopefully, will run back into them because they’re a part of our world. You never know what kind of familiar face you might run into.

And the other thing that’s great is we no longer have to wait for a crossover which is a crisis—right? A literal apocalypse—for our heroes to meet. Now, Kara and Barry can just have coffee or Kara and Iris can work on the same story because they’re both reporters, right? You can actually have, I think, stronger emotional bonds and more communication between the character and I think that’s going to happen. Not initially, but I think more and more across the shows as we get used to writing stories in a post-crisis world. And I think that’s going to be more enjoyable for the audience.

The Flash -- "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Three" -- Image Number: FLA609a_0007b3.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): LaMonica Garret as The Monitor, Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Flash, Hartley Sawyer as Dibny/Elongated Man, Candice Patton as Iris West - Allen, Osric Chau as Ryan Choi, Brandon Routh as Superman, David Ramsey as John Diggle/Spartan and Tyler Hoechlin as Superman -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The Flash meets other heroes in Crisis. Katie Yu/The CW

Did you have any sort of discussions with Marc Guggenheim or other showrunners and producers about what you wanted out of Crisis and to plan what Earth prime would be?

Well, yes and no. It wasn’t planning what we thought Earth prime would be, because we wanted to discover that organically. It was more “here are a couple of rules that we need to have go across all the other shows, please don’t violate them cause we’ll have to retcon some out.” So it was more just a few simple mandates, for example, in “Marathon”—our graphic number two opener, Cisco says extrapolators don’t work anymore … That was something that I requested for across all the other shows. I said, “hey, folks, it would really help us story-wise if extrapolators don’t work anymore and people aren’t just bopping around using those little things because that’s integral to our world now.”

And that’s great, the [other showrunners], everybody was “oh yeah” and then each of them began to chime in with kind of their own “oh … this is how Luthor corp works now … can you make sure and not do blank.”  Those kinds of rules were set out, but there were very few of them … and the rest of it is about discovery from a story point of view in a very organic way: what does earth prime look like. And that’s what we’re going to find out obviously in the back half-season of Flash.

I understand why you would want to get rid of the extrapolators because you’ll have fewer people asking “why isn’t Kara there? Why isn’t he calling Batwoman?”

Correct! We had to find a way [around] “well, we can’t defeat the big bad this week, okay call Supergirl!” That’s not very interesting dramatically.

The Flash -- "Marathon" -- Image Number: FLA610a_0171b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Tom Cavanagh as Nash Wells, Victoria Park as Kamilla and Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Katie Yu/The CW

Cisco went through a lot last year to develop the meta cure and then decide to take it, but the Monitor just zapped him back to being vibe … does he still have those powers going into graphic novel number two and is there any sort of fallout from that?

Well in graphic novel number two, Cisco does not have his powers. He starts off just like we last left him. He got those powers in from the Monitor in Crisis. but he does not have them anymore. And the question is—how does he feel about that … Caitlin asks him point-blank: “how do you feel?” Do you regret taking the meta-human cure.” And he says no, but there’s obviously something conflicted behind that.

News surfaced last November that Natalie Dreyfuss has been cast as Sue Dearbon, a character a lot of fans have been waiting to see since you introduced Ralph Dibny in season 4. She’s been teased since last year’s finale but can you tell us when and how she’s going to come into play?

Not in the way people are expecting!

Natalie Dreyfuss, I gotta be honest with you, in her audition, nailed the part. I literally looked the audition and I’m like, “oh my goodness, you ARE Sue Dearbon. This is crazy!” And the chemistry when she first appears—which is early in this season, we’re not gonna make fans wait, it will be in the first half of graphic novel two—when she appears you will see immediately what we saw in that audition tape…this chemistry between her and Hartley Sawyer is amazing.

It’s just been a gift that’s been given to the show. yet another injection of new life to graphic novel number two and just to The Flash in general in its six seasons. I can’t tell you how excited I am to tell a really wild Sue-Ralph story.

Hartley sawyer as Ralph Dibney and Natalie Dreyfuss

Hartley Sawyer as Ralph Dibny and Natalie Dreyfuss

This may be a spoiler question, but given her fate in the comics (where she was killed by Dr. Light at one time) should we be worried that Dr. Light is showing up at the same time Sue is joining the show? Will they be connected?

Well … that’s a spoiler. I will only say Yes and no. I will say this: We’re not adapting the “Identity crisis” storyline. I want to make that very clear, you don’t have to worry about that. Sue is not dying this season. That’s not a spoiler at all. That’s just that. We just got her! That’s crazy!

I’m really interested to see how Ralph will continue to grow as a character with Sue now joining the party?

Yeah. I think as you’ll see … in the first half of Graphic Novel number two, Sue brings out the best in Ralph, even when she’s annoying the heck out of him. They’re just so funny together and wonderful I think the audience is going to fall in love with them as a couple as we have as a writing staff.

Finally, this is a question specific only to me because I live in Portland, Oregon and that’s the city The Flash uses for the establishing shots—will you be updating the skyline at all post-crisis? We have a few new buildings now!

One of my favorite towns in America! Oh my goodness, that’s hilarious. You’re absolutely right we should probably look into that … It didn’t really happen in this season, but that is really something we should probably do. It’s a cost thing … at the beginning of the show when the pilot is first shot you send a crew up to get all those exteriors, and you live with them for a long time.

I will say in graphic novel two, it’s not indicative of Portland—we will be going to some new places. There’s some construction going on in Central City.

The Flash returns Tuesday, February 4th at 8:00 p.m. on The CW.

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.