When The Flash returns for its fourth season in October, series star Grant Gustin says that it will recapture some of the lighter tone and fun that made the show's first season a big hit, taking a cue from DC's Rebirth publishing initiative.
During the second and third season, the series got progressively darker and more angsty. While producers and the cast make no apologies for that direction, they do acknowledge that they are eager to get back to something a little more in the spirit of the show's first season.
“It’s almost like a fresh start for me as an actor this year,” Gustin told ComicBook.com.“The first episode is called 'Reborn' and it’s our take on Rebirth, and it gives me an opportunity to let go of all the weight that we’ve built up and have held onto and there’s even some lines that reflect that for Barry, that he’s been able to cope an move on in a way he was never able to in the past. So it gives me an opportunity to let go and have more of that kind of fun that we had initially in season one.”
Rebirth, a publishing initiative launched last year from DC Comics, brought the publisher big success in part by lightening the tone of most of its series and embracing the history and breadth of the DC Universe.
The central plot of the issue centered on a Flash who was trapped outside of time and had to rejoin the DC Universe before he ceased to exist and became a permanent part of the Speed Force -- something that likely resonates with Gustin's Barry, who sacrificed himself to the Speed Force at the end of Season Three.
In DC Universe: Rebirth, his time in the Speed Force and outside of the timestream gave Wally West insight into a threat that was shaping the fabric of reality itself. Gustin has said that his Barry will be similarly gifted with some insight, though he won't understand what it all means at first, and readjusting to day-to-day life after experiencing the ultra-condensed timeline of the Speed Force will mess with him a bit in the premiere.
We’re not necessarily going to see Barry’s experience in the Speed Force this time. We’ll see the effects that the Speed Force has had on Barry. He’s been in there six months real time but the way I see it is that the Speed Force is non-linear with time, so Barry has experienced his entire life from start to end infinity times over since he’s been in there. So he’s going to have kind of an awakening when he comes out,” Gustin explained. “He’s got some knowledge that he doesn’t even quite understand yet. He’ll also be scrambled; he won’t be himself at first.”
The Flash returns October 10 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.