The Flash season 3 finale just aired, bringing a few twists and a painfully predictable ending to the saga Savitar, and the prophecy of Iris West's murder.
WARNING - SPOILERS FOLLOW
Iris managed to survive her deadly fate (thanks to H.R.'s sacrifice), and though Barry and Team Flash beat Savitar and erased him from existence, it was a bittersweet victory, as Barry was forced to sacrifice himself to the Speed Force, in Savitar's place.
Now that Barry Allen is gone from earth, we're looking ahead to what that major development means for season 4 of The Flash. To that end, we've come up with 4 Great Ideas for The Flash's Season Storyline.
Barry is now imprisoned in The Speed Force - creating the kind of situation that can be a big stumbling block. In both the comic book and television mediums, whenever a major character finds his/herself in some kind of purgatory situation, the story can begin to meander through past, present, future events, real or imagined, as the protagonist gains new perspective.
The Flash season 4 can use Barry's time in the Speed Force smartly, if that time is used to give Barry new power and perspective, which will make him all the more formidable when he finally gets out. What wouldn't be smart, however, would be wasting the first arc of season 4 on a predictable two-pronged story: Team Flash trying to protect Central City from metahumans in Barry's absence; and Barry having some sappy, dramatic, introspective journey through The Speed Force.
Indeed, a lot of The Flash season 4's prospects will depend on how the show uses the development of Barry in the Speed Force to tell its story. The show definitely should not spend an extensive amount of time on that storyline; it should be resolved at a quick pace, so that we can move on more important things...
As stated, the storyline of Barry being trapped in the Speed Force needs to be handled smartly, and resolved quickly. One great way to resolve the story would be to have Barry return from The Speed Force with a much bigger perspective on things.
Unlike other speedsters trapped in the "hell" of The Speed Force (Wally, Jay, Savitar), Barry (as stated in the finale) has much more of a connection with that realm. In The Speed Force, Barry will be to see all things, in all timelines, in a way that he never could on earth - that's got to have an effect on him.
We still have that ominous message from a near-future Barry, sent to the Legends of Tomorrow crew, warning that a war is coming, and Barry may be the culprit at the heart of it. A lot of fans thought that the Savitar reveal would explain the Legends warning; with Savitar now gone, that mystery is once again one that needs to be answered.
Having Barry return from the Speed Force thinking like a god, rather than a man, would be an interesting turn; a hero who is now a villain - not because he's arch and evil, but because he sees a bigger perspective or greater good that needs to be achieved.
In DC Comic books, Barry Allen was thought dead for decades, when he'd actually been trapped in The Speed Force during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Obviously, The Flash TV series has been teasing the idea of the Crisis storyline since the very first season - but the show can definitely take some liberties with the story.
Barry is already lost in the Speed Force before the Crisis events takes place, but that doesn't mean the show can't follow comic book history, by using Barry's absence as a way to launch Wally West as the new Flash.
Actor Keiyan Lonsdale has been gaining serious acclaim lately (both personally and in this past season of the show), so he's ready to step up and take center stage as the new Flash. The comic book Wally West Flash has a lot of famous storylines and events attached to his legacy - plenty for The Flash TV show to adapt.
By letting Barry Allen actor Grant Gustin truly take a break for awhile (to do things like get married!), The Flash can service a whole demographic of '90s DC Comics fans, who grew up being more familiar with Wally than they ever were with Barry.
One thing The Flash season 4 is in a unique position to do, is completly reboot the status quo of the show, giving fans something new to explore.
Depending on how season 4 chooses to approach its story, we could spend the first seasonal arc following Barry through the aforementioned abstract journey through past, present and future, via the Speed Force; and when he finally gets out, it could be the case that he doesn't return to the exact same world he left.
However, instead of continuing to compound The Flash's already excessive use of dopplegangers and multiverse theory, it would be interesting for Barry to return to his legitimate timeline - just further into the future from when he left.
Following Barry thorugh the Speed Force, and then following him back to an earth, and life, he no longer recognizes would be a fresh and interesting adventure for viewers.