It’s been almost a month now since The Flash’s Season 3 finale aired and we saw that Barry paid the ultimate price for creating the Flashpoint timeline, as well as the evil speedster Savitar. We saw our hero retreating to the Speed Force, paying for his actions which raises the question, who will protect Central City without the Scarlet Speedster?! With the way Season 3 ended, I began to think that the show may be starting to really draw from the comic books moving forward into next season. It could even result in Wally West stepping up and be the driving force with the absence of Barry Allen.
I just thought I’d write a post giving my insight into how I think the writers will approach Season 4 and what elements they may draw from The Flash’s long comic history.
As we know from the show’s inception, we have had that iconic newspaper article from 2024, showing that iconic headline “Flash Missing – Vanishes in Crisis”. As a comic book fan, I think that this has always been in reference to the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover story event, which I will go into detail about later on. At the end of the episode it seems that what the articles states about The Flash disappearing has come to light, predicting these set of events. It does appear that the “crisis” mentioned in the newspaper has come a little sooner than 2024, as The Flash and his team managed to defeat Savitar seven years prior to the events we saw in the future episode.
As I mentioned before, that newspaper article from the future could be a reference to the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover story event, that was incepted back in 1985. It still is one of my favourite DC events to this day as the story was on such an epic scale and was so well written. For those who don’t know, in the crossover event we discover a very powerful villain who we come to know as Anti-Monitor with one purpose….to conquer and devour the multiverse, leading to these strange red skies that end up appearing on different earths/worlds spread throughout the multiverse. There were many casualties in this story, leading to a small number of heroes surviving in the fight against Anti-Monitor but at the end of the battle the entire multiverse ending up collapsing. One of the major death’s in that story was Barry Allen/ The Flash who was one of the heroes responsible in helping to save the multiverse.
I don’t think that this event has anything to do with the version of the multiverse in the show, but it did have the same effect that we saw in the Season 3 finale of The Flash. We see Barry sacrificing himself for his friends and his city, by returning to the Speed Force being consumed by it. This is where things will become interesting going into Season 4 as it means that Wally West is going to have to step up, be faced with the difficult task of being the sole speedster of Earth 1. I do hope that we get to see the show try to adapt the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline as I think that would make for some pretty epic television, like we saw this year with the Invasion crossover event. I mean think about it, we would have an epic scaled four night crossover with The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow based on the Crisis in Infinite Earths storyline….I actually hope we get to see this at some point during the show’s run.
Different versions of The Flash
As we all know, The Flash has a very long and extensive comic book history and in that times there have been different writers taking different approaches to the Scarlet Speedster. Take a look at Mark Waid’s version of The Flash for example. When he was writing comics for The Flash, after the events of Infinite Crisis Wally West took over as The Flash for many years during Barry Allen’s absence. For many different years and comics, Wally was the Scarlet Speedster and really lived up to the mantle of The Flash left by his friend and mentor. It wasn’t until the 2008 crossover event Final Crisis which was the moment that we saw the return of Barry Allen. He was pulled from the Speed Force and returned in the flesh, back from the dead if you will. I have no idea what Berlanti and team plan to do for Season 4 in terms of how long Barry Allen will be trapped in the Speed Force. It could be that he may be absent for a few episodes or they may decide to have him missing for a majority of the season, focusing on giving Wally West more of an arc in the new season. It would be pretty awesome if they focused on Wally West as The Flash as some of my favourite stories from the comics were when Wally suited up as the Scarlet Speedster.
For me personally I think that Mark Waid, with the combined effort of Geoff Johns who is my favourite writer at DC, is a one of the most important writers on The Flash for the Wally West arc as the Scarlet Speedster. The thing I loved about Waid’s time on The Flash was that he helped shape Wally into his own hero, making that transition from sidekick to the definition of a superhero. I think with Season 4 the writers are going to use the mantle of The Flash as a symbol of hope, that is bigger than one man and that all the speedsters in the show all live up to that mantle.
2010 – Rebirth
One of my all time favourite comic books is the 2010 The Flash: Rebirth, which was written by Geoff Johns who is my favourite DC writer ever and think his story telling is of the highest quality. In this comic, Johns really dived deep into the impact of having Barry Allen returning from the Speed Force and how it affected the DC universe. I do think that Rebirth was a massive influence when the writers were working on The Flash TV series as elements of it are contained within the show. The elements in particular are the version of Barry’s origin story that they chose to use in the show and especially the strong connection he has with the Reverse Flash. All that being said, I do think that the way Season 3 ended has giving the writers a brilliant opportunity to draw more elements from this storyline going into Season 4.
The thing I really loved about Rebirth is that we see Barry Allen struggling to adapt back into normal life, a man out of time if you will. He was trapped in the Speed Force for a long ass time, so you see him really struggling to come to terms with being back on Earth once again. These things include him finding it hard to reconnect with Iris, trying to get back into his forensic work and the biggest task of reclaiming the mantle of The Flash from Wally. These are some of the elements I think could play a great factor in Season 4 and would make for some amazing development for Barry. I think these are ideas the writers could play with in Season 4, especially when Barry returns from the Speed Force, I mean they may even decide to throw in some flash forward segments showing how Central City and The Flash has moved on without him making him wonder what his purpose could be.
I mean it would be weird not seeing Grant Gustin as The Flash as he has done an amazing job as the Scarlet Speedster, but I think the Season 3 ending has opened up the doors for Wally West to really step into the spotlight and become his own hero. The writers have so many ways in which they can approach Season 4 and I have complete faith that they are going to surprise us going into the show’s fourth year. I think that with so many years of Wally West stories as The Flash, we are going to be in for a very different tone for the show and as a fan it is a very exciting prospect.