The Flash's Candice Patton on Wally West, Earth-2 and More

(Photo: CW/WB)

When The Flash returns tomorrow night on The CW, nobody's life will be more changed than Joe and Iris West.

Wally West, Iris's brother and Joe's long-lost son, joined the cast in the form of Keiynan Lonsdale just before the midseason hiatus, and coming out of the gate, The Flash is going to have to deal with his appearance.

Of course, fans will know that in the original comics, Iris was Wally's aunt, not his sister, and that Wally eventually went on to replace Barry Allen as The Flash following Barry's death in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Apparently we'll see a little bit of the aunt/nephew dynamic between the two siblings, as actress Candice Patton -- who plays Iris on the series -- told this weekend that her character has to do some of the heavy lifting, parenting-wise, while Joe tries to get to know his son without alienating him or scaring him off.

I guess the big thing, obviously, that everybody's talking about is Wally. How does this affect you? Because, obviously, you're relationship with Joe has been at the core of, not only your character but a lot of just story even outside of you.

Yeah, well that's exactly where we kind of pick back up. We're going to see how, you know, Wally's arrival in the mid-season finale kind of affects Joe and Iris. You know, they're blood related but that doesn't mean they know each other or they know how to navigate a relationship with each other. You know, Wally's mother is sick and he now is finding out that he has a sister and a father and it's difficult for him. We also, Iris finds out very quickly that Wally's involved in street racing and that's quite dangerous.

Joe is more of the opinion that he wants to be friends with Wally, he doesn't want to push him too much because he doesn't want to lose him. You know, he's just found him and he doesn't want to push him too far. Whereas Iris wants him to be safe and so she kind of takes on more of the parent role and she confronts Wally about street racing and she's pretty adamant and relentless about it. There's definitely some friction between the siblings, for sure.

How much did Wally know, and when? Because, it seems to me, that if she lied to him for years, it puts a strain on his relationship with Francine as well and since we know she's going to show up, is that going to be something that you all explore?

To a degree, not so much but yeah we definitely, you know, it's hard for everyone and definitely hard for Wally because I feel like he's found out around the same time that Joe and Iris did so it's fresh for everyone and everyone's a little hurt and upset by it. They're all kind of figuring it out together and it's not easy for anyone and that's the thing is they're family and they have to work through it together. That's a lot of the conversations that Joe and Iris and Wally have.

The character Iris is often characterized as kind of Barry's tether to humanity and reality, especially in the comics.


There's been a lot of speculation from the things we've seen of you in the teasers for the second half of the season take place on Earth-2. That said, now that you're on Team Flash, whether you're physically involved with that or not, you're very much taken out of the grounded realistic elements of things and very much put into the fantastical stuff, as an actor, is that something that you're really reveling in getting to play with this year?

Oh my god, so much, I can't even tell you. It's just exciting as an actor to be able to play anything different on a television show. Not a lot of people get that opportunity, you know, you sign on to play a character and you play that faithfully for however many seasons are on the air.

What's really cool about being on a show like The Flash is, you know, while I signed on to do Iris, there are potentially many different versions of Iris and Barry and Caitlin and Cisco and all of these characters. We have the opportunity to re-envision ourselves and that's really fun. Yeah, so being able to go to Earth-2, we'll see a version of Iris on Earth-2, it is, it's more sci-fi, it's more fun. You know, there's Killer Frost and Deathstorm and Iris is a part of a lot of that and it's really cool to not just play the heart and soul of the show, you know?

Does that also allow you to keep fans guessing in terms of the relationship stuff? Because, obviously, that is such a driving part of the fan narrative but if Earth-2 becomes this big part and you guys are stuck together on Earth-2 then theoretically they could do whatever the heck they want in the "main story."

Yeah, that's true, I mean, they can do whatever they want on any Earth, to be honest. I don't really know what the plan is and how all of these Earths tie together. I don't know, my theory, and this is just me speaking as an actor and not knowing really anything about where the writers are going.

I imagine the relationship with Barry and Iris, and even Iris and Joe, those relationships are so strong that my idea, thematically, is that no matter where you find them, whatever timeline, whatever universe, that there's still a bond between them in some sort of way. That you will always find each other on whatever Earth and whatever timeline. I think that's really cool, I think there's always going to be some sort of relationship.

I think a lot of shows would have Wally's introduction kind of threaten Barry's place in the family, but that doesn't seem like where The Flash would be interested in going.

No, I don't think so. I don't think Wally's entrance threatens Barry's role in the family, he will always be a part of the West family. He may not be blood related but he's definitely a family member. 

The interpersonal relationships in the show are so strong and so well defined, that I find a lot of the time when big, catastrophic things happen that change the status quo, that becomes the thing rather than the plot that you can kind of anchor yourself to.

Absolutely, I get what you mean and I totally agree. That's what I hold onto too, as an actor when I'm navigating this because often we don't know what's coming and we don't, you know, I don't know what the entrance of Zoom means. I don't know what the entrance of Patty means, you know, so for me, I hold onto this idea that what we set up is the relationship between Barry, Iris, Joe, Team Flash, those are the things that are constant.

Somehow that dynamic will always be set in stone to some degree. No matter, yeah, like what you said, no matter how much the status quo changes from week to week, from Earth to Earth, those relationships will always be intact to some degree.

It's funny, some fans criticize at the start of the season the fact that you weren't actively mourning Eddie and that Caitlin wasn't actively mourning Ronnie.


To me it was like, well there's a six month break and we spent a lot of time mourning last year so that didn't bother me at all...but how do you think as a character that she deals with her feelings about Eddie and about Barry on a day to day basis when there's not a big seismic change coming?

We didn't get to see her grieve and to be honest I don't fans really want to see that, I think maybe they do but you don't want to spend half a season watching a character cry over someone that's not coming back. 

I think what we did right was giving Iris the space to not be with anyone else. That was our way of showing that she is grieving. We don't see her talking about it or crying at work or crying at Jitters but she hasn't jumped into any new relationship which means that she really loved Eddie and she really wanted to grieve that privately.

Yeah, I think that that was catastrophic for her and it's been hard for her to move on. I think going into the latter half of the season we'll finally see Iris, kind of, ready to be open to the idea of love at least. Yeah, you're right, if we take the hiatus at the mine, six months had passed, so six months plus everything that's been happening since the show started this season, it's been quite a good amount of time that Iris has grieved Eddie.

I think one of things that gets lost occasionally is the fact that, because the show has such a light tone, especially compared to Arrow, there are fewer stakes. But that's not the case, and I think often it's the Wests that have the opportunity to show that.

I agree. Even the stuff with Francine and a lot of the emotional, heavy stuff I think is, kind of, put on Barry and Iris and Joe and so while it is a very light-hearted comic book show, in opposition to Arrow, there still is a lot of weight and a lot of heart and a lot of emotional stuff that is occurring. Iris is one of those characters that really navigates that.

Now, going back to talking about, again, the family dynamic, Wally might not be an adult, but he's a developed human being. If we actually lose Francine then, by default, does he move into Central City or is that a case where you don't know what happens to that character next?

I mean, we're still trying to figure out where Wally is living! But yeah, he's definitely prevalent in the back half of season two, so he's definitely in Central City and trying to make a life for himself there. Yeah, he's definitely in Central City for sure.

In this back half of the season, is there another actor that you were pleasantly surprised that bouncing off of that people are really going to enjoy that relationship that maybe isn't just Barry?

Hm. That's a great question. Yes and no, I mean, the obvious answer would be Keiynan -- Wally -- but that's just because we're a family and so there's going to be a lot of scenes involving us.

I think fans enjoy seeing Iris interact with Caitlin and Cisco. I can't say that there's a lot of that in the back half of season two but Iris still pops up in S.T.A.R. Labs to help Team Flash every now and again and there is interesting fun banter between all of them. It's nice to see Iris interacting with other people than just her family and hopefully the same will be true with the introduction of her new editor, Scott Evans.

Yeah, it's actually one of the things that's always interesting when you have a character who's a reporter is the kind of inherent conflict of interest. Usually that doesn't get explored very much but with a new editor coming on, it seems like a fertile ground for you to play with that.

Absolutely, and the way in which we are handling that is, you know, Scott Evans comes in, he's strong and brash and he is not a fan of The Flash at all which is in direct opposition to how Iris feels about The Flash. She knows who The Flash is and she knows that Barry is a hero and that he deserves to be treated as one, that he puts his life at risk every single day for everyone in Central City and it's hard to convince her new editor of that without giving away too much. She's definitely stuck between a rock and a hard place and navigating wanting to have a great journalism career and he's her boss and not giving away too much about The Flash.

How does the rest of your co-workers feel because, obviously, they were very directly affected by the war between Zoom and Barry because you had meta-human actually come in and trash the joint.

Yeah. I mean, to be honest, we don't really delve into that. I mean, there hasn't been a lot that happens in Picture News so far and I'm hoping that in the back half we will move more into that. I think with the introduction of Scott we can definitely hope for that but I can only imagine that at the newspaper everyone is terrified and constantly at work trying to figure out who this person is and what is going on and who is Zoom.

Well, it, to me, is interesting because I think the audience assumes people have a certain knowledge base. I mean, I don't feel like anybody at your office understands why the hell they were targeted.

Yeah, no. They have no idea why and that's the thing. I think, I mean Zoom trampled into Picture News for several reasons. I think, possibly he knows the connection between Iris and Barry and also Picture News is a great outlet to get your face in the paper and to prove that The Flash isn't really a hero. Yeah, it's still hard for everyone else in the work environment to understand exactly why, why Zoom would choose Picture News but I guess they can assume that it was for exposure.

I know we're right up against the timeline so I'll ask a light question last. Now that you're out of Jitters and Kendra is on another show, who are we going to roll in next? Who are we going to introduce to keep us there all the time?

I don't know. I love Jitters so much, it's probably my favorite set to shoot in and I was really, I mean, I was excited to move over to Picture News but I miss Jitters so much. I don't know, I hope that there's a character, an iconic character from the comic books that in some way we can kind of include in Jitters. I mean, we always have meetings and we meet each other in Jitters but it's not enough. I don't know.

It's always nice when you go to a static location to have people who are actually a part of that static location so you're not just regulars at the bar.

Exactly, exactly. I mean, we had a hot girl there for a bit but yeah, I don't know. I think that's a great point, I think we need a new character to take residence.

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1 Comment

  1. Love Candice's response about Barry and Iris finding each other in any universe. She is always so eloquent when speaking about her character and relationships, it's obvious she does her homework and takes her work seriously. Thanks for the interview, and love her!

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