February will mark the return of The CW’s primetime line-up of heroes with THE FLASH starring Grant Gustin as the Scarlet Speedster taking his final lap and Season Nine wrapping up the adventure!
It’s been a heck of a run, but all good things must come to an end. When The Flash returns on February 8th it’ll be the show’s Ninth and Final Season, concluding the superhero adventure that ignited a primetime multiverse of entertainment! Starring Grant Gustin in the title role as the DC Comic’s CSI investigator Barry Allen who is struck by lightning and inherits the ability to move at super speed. The CW series was a hit the minute it left the gate, spinning out of Arrow and establishing an expanded television universe that would go on to include legends.
Debuting in 2014, fans at San Diego Comic-Con were treated to a special advanced screening of the pilot episode that would air later in the fall on The CW, joining Arrow in its primetime lineup and setting the stage for a DC expanded universe. Gustin was introduced as Barry Allan in a two-part episode of Arrow in its second season, establishing his connection to Stephen Amell’s, Oliver Queen, the Emerald Archer’s counterpart. While audiences tuned into the urban warfare unraveling in Star City on Arrow, its neighboring Central City became ground zero for the introduction of meta-humans.
The Flash was immediately distinct from its sister show. As Barry learned to use his newfound superpowers, with the help of his colleagues at STAR Labs, he battled emerging super-powered threats, a result of the lab’s particle accelerator explosion that also (in part) gives him super speed. His new allies Cisco Ramon and Caitlin Snow, played by Carlos Valdes and Danielle Panabaker are unaware that they harbor a menace that will be revealed as their arch-nemesis for seasons to come. Tom Cavanagh in the dual role of Harrison Wells, masquerades as the Reverse-Flash.
Barry’s longtime love and best friend Iris West is portrayed by Candice Patton and her father Joe West is played by Jesse L. Martin. The role of Barry’s dad, Henry Allen incarcerated at Iron Gates Prison, wrongly accused of murdering his wife Nora (recurring guest star Michelle Harrison), and Barry’s mom, is played by John Wesley Shipp. The actor originated the role of Barry Allen in the original CBS series The Flash that aired in 1990. During the course of his first season, Barry faces off against various rogues and ultimately confronts the Reverse-Flash, teaming up with Oliver Queen along the way.
One Last Lap
In the course of nine seasons, and among several cross-over spectacles, The Flash has been able to establish into its televised mythology several important players that have played significant roles in the speedster’s career in comics. The series realized every member of the hero’s infamous Rogues Gallery, including Captain Cold and Heatwave (who would both go on to join DC’s Legends of Tomorrow adventures through time), the Mirror Master, Golden Glider, and not one but two Weather Wizards (and even a Weather Witch). The Flash also confronted The Mist and battled a King Shark!
Among the most anticipated talked about revelations surrounding Season Nine is the teased return of the Rogues. Given that two among their numbers, the aforementioned Captain Cold and Heatwave, portrayed by Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell went on to turn a new leaf and have long since hung up their suits, the (re)introduction of Captain Boomerang (introduced on Arrow) has sparked rumors that a whole new group of villains will be cast to take on The Flash. Richard Harmon has been cast as Owen Mercer, the new Captain Boomerang II.
This certainly leaves the door open for Mercer, the illegitimate son of the original Captain Boomerang (in the books) to assemble a team of his own to challenge our hero and his Central City allies, for one battle royal. Among the popular adversaries that have been mentioned as returning for one last match, the list has included Bloodwork played by Sendhil Ramamurthy, who was a “big bad” in Season 6. Gorilla Grodd has also been theorized will go head-to-head against The Flash this season and the specter of Barry’s most dangerous foe, The Reverse-Flash will likely return.
And the Winner Is…
When The Flash finishes its run, it has already been determined that this will signal the end of the “Arrowverse” as fans have come to affectionately call The CW’s primetime line-up that started with Arrow and would encompass The Flash as well as the spin-offs that followed: Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning (post-Crisis) and Batwoman. Returning series Superman and Lois and DC’s Stargirl which just wrapped with Season 3 at the end of 2022, were considered outside of the Prime-Earth continuity inhabited by The Flash, although DC’s Stargirl had taken steps to bridge that chasm.
For television audiences, especially fans of the DC source material, it’s been two decades (including the 10-season run of Smallville) since DC heroes had a place in primetime, and the arrival of Arrow elevated the storytelling to a whole new level. Suddenly the multiverse came into play, thanks to the vision of super-producer Greg Berlanti and his team, including Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg who championed expanding and connecting the narrative landscape. It led to the ultimate story arc, the epic 5-part “Crisis on Infinite Earths” adaptation, which played heavily into The Flash.
As Barry and Iris settle in long-time fans are curious about the twists that will be revealed in the Final Season, including addressing the fact that their children, time-traveling super-speedsters, XS and Impulse, should be making their “baby” debut, or at least one of them should be arriving before the show ends. The latest full-length trailer for the upcoming season, teases that Iris (Patton) may be getting pregnant, just as a new speedster arrives in Central City with plans to upend their happiness. And although this leg of our hero’s journey will end, this summer in theaters lightning strikes again!
DC’s THE FLASH | starring Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Danielle Nicolet, Anjelika Kayla Compton, Brandon McKnight, Jon Corr, and Jesse L. Martin returns for its Ninth and Final Season Wednesday, February 8 @ 8 PM EST on The CW.
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