Could Joe West's days be numbered on The Flash?
Since the end of season 2, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) has seen both his birth father and (again) his birth mother die at the hands of supervillains. Iris West (Candice Patton) has lost her mother. Taking Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) out of the picture would deal a real blow to her children both real and adopted, and while an incredibly dark move for The Flash (it was even heartbreaking watching them kill Moira Queen on Arrow), there are almost certainly story beats to be had by doing it.
But why would we think it's likely Joe could die soon?
Call it the Glenn Rhee theory.
Glenn, as most anybody with an internet connection knows at this point, was killed in The Walking Dead #100 from Image Comics a few years back. It was his death -- its brutality, its story significance, and more -- that hung over the show like a pall for years, and drove much of the speculative narrative leading up to this season's premiere, in which the audience knew that somebody had just been beaten to death by Negan -- the way Glenn had died in the comic.
That fueled a lot of speculation, conspiracy theories, and questions as to whether they would live up to what they did in the comics or go another way.
That's what we're suggesting here.
In Invasion!, the comic book miniseries on which the forthcoming four-show crossover is based, Robert "Rudy" West -- the father of Wally West in the comics -- dies.
A group of aliens led by the Dominion (homeworld of a race who call themselves the Dominators) launched an attack on Earth, with the idea that the growing metahuman population there is a potential danger if humanity ever masters interstellar travel. One of the invasion groups, the shape-shifing slien race known as the Durlans (you might remember Chameleon Boy from the Legion of Super-Heroes?), which set up shop in Cuba.
With his son -- at that point The Flash -- incapacitated, Rudy volunteered to set off a series of explosions that would kill most of the Durlans stationed there -- but the explosion took him with it.
West would later pop up alive and well a couple of times, although the Invasion! story was the last time he played a major role in the DC Universe. His ties to the Manhunters, androids created by the Guardians of the Universe in the days before Green Lanterns existed, played into his involvement in Invasion! and, before that, Millennium, two of DC's earliest inter-company crossovers.
Could the TV show follow suit and leave Wally without a father following the events of "Invasion!," the November 29 episode of The Flash? Certainly Martin, who has a long and distinguished career behind him, would constitute a significant budget savings if he was gone, and killing Joe would likely give them some interesting things to do with Barry, who tried so hard to save his mother and then refused to go back in time for Cisco's brother.
But it feels...very, very unlikely. Joe is a huge part of the show's dynamic -- much more so than Henry Allen, who was a recurring guest star, or either Iris's or Barry's moms, who were barely there. It would be a dark moment, and since The Flash is part one of a three-part story featuring tons of guest stars, it would be virtually impossible to give the death of a major character the kind of attention it deserves and needs in the episode.
Only one way to really find out:
The Flash airs on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW. The "Invasion!" crossover begins on November 28 during Supergirl and runs Monday through Thursday of that week in all of The CW's DC shows.