Earlier this year, The Flash completely changed its status quo with its season four finale, and fans have been pretty darn eager to see where things will go next.
The last installment of the hit The CW series answered some season-long questions, finally took down Clifford DeVoe/The Thinker (Neil Sandilands), and plunged the show into completely new territory with the arrival of Nora Allen (Jessica Parker Kennedy), the future daughter of Barry Allen/The Flash (Grant Gustin) and Iris West-Allen (Candice Patton).
It seems like there are quite a few twists and turns ahead for The Flash's fifth season, with the show getting a sort of makeover in some very interesting ways. With officially less than a month away until the show returns to television, it's time to run down the new changes and new teases that have already been teased for The Flash.
After a good half-season of speculating, the season finale finally revealed the identity of the "Mystery Girl" -- and opened up a can of worms in the process.
In addition to being Barry and Iris' daughter, Nora is a relatively-novice speedster in the future, who operates under the superhero code name of XS.
"Personality-wise, I think she’s a lot like Barry." Kennedy revealed in a recent interview. "Certainly, the way Barry was early on. She’s finding her footing. She’s goofy, she’s dorky, she’s very young spirited. She is prone to making mistakes and other people needing to clean them up. That’s just sort of where she’s at right now. She’s in the experimental phase of her life.”
And while it's still anyone's guess as to why Nora made her way to visit the younger iterations of her parents, we know she will be arriving with more than one "big mistake" on her plate, which will shift the way that Team Flash operates.
"We always like to introduce characters and sort of highlight areas that come from the comics but we don't want to be beholden exactly to them so we can change the stories as we see fit and tell it for a television show," showrunner Todd Helbing told ComicBook.com after the Season 4 finale. "With [Nora], it's the time that she comes from and what she did. She makes this sort of big mistake at the end of the episode -- you see the concern of what she's done, and Barry certainly learned his lessons from time travel, so now it's going to be interesting to put him on the different side of the problem and see how he can help her fix it."
Of course, adding an entirely new character into the mix is sure to shake things up, especially with regard to the West-Allen family.
According to The Flash's cast and crew, Nora's dynamic with her parents will be established on some pretty interesting footing, with her being much closer to her Barry than to Iris.
"Iris is very, very excited and eager to get to know her daughter who's back from the future." Patton explained in an interview last month. "And I think that, as we hinted in the finale last season, that's kind of met with some coldness from Nora. Which we'll get into later in the season, why there's some distance in between the two of them. But it's been really interesting to play this dynamic of Iris really wanting to enjoy this time with her daughter and figuring out why Nora's kind of not into that."
And as it turns out, Nora's arrival comes at a pretty interesting time for the larger West-Allen family, as Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) and Cecile Horton (Danielle Nicolet) are welcoming their new baby, Jenna.
"Well, you know Cecile used to be a super normal person and then she started dating this guy and now she has super powers and a baby and a grandchild that's older than her grown kid," Nicolet told ComicBook.com at San Diego Comic-Con in July. "It's complicated. You know when you date a guy and it's like 'alright, big Italian family' with Joe West it's like 'okay, big metahuman family.'"
Season 5 will also bring a slew of changes for Wally West/Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale), as he wraps up his time on Legends of Tomorrow and is involved with a three-episode arc on The Flash.
"You will see Wally in the first episode." Helbing explained. "He is in three episodes this season. We don’t have as much time with Kid Flash as I think everyone would like to see, but the story we have for him is really cool."
The West-Allens won't be the only focus of The Flash's fifth season, as fans can expect to learn a bit more about Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker) as well.
Late last season, Caitlin learned that she actually developed her Killer Frost powers from a very young age, previously retconning the idea that she got them in the STAR Labs particle accelerator explosion (and potentially changing everything we know about Earth-1's metahumans).
"I think it's going to be really important," Panabaker said in a previous interview. "You know, toward the end of the season we saw Caitlin try to understand a little bit more of why she disappeared... so I think also this year she's uncovering some mysteries about Killer Frost and how Killer Frost came to be and we're going to see her delve into that."
In Season 5, Caitlin is expected to face that mystery head-on, with the help of her mother, Carla Tannhauser (Susan Walters) and her estranged father, Dr. Thomas Snow (Kyle Secor).
“[Carla] is the one she goes to first for answers,” Helbing explained when Secor was cast. “You’re going to learn about what role her mother played in all of this, and there is that mysterious premonition that Cecile had at the end of last year about Thomas. So you’re going to learn about exactly who he is and how he plays into the season and Caitlin and Killer Frost, and really just that whole mystery about where she comes from and how she was created is explained.”
One of the most highly-publicized elements of Season 5 - in one way or another - has been Barry's new suit.
Gustin first teased the new suit in an interview earlier this summer, with fans eager to see what the new duds would look like. In August, an unofficial photo of the suit was leaked online, which sparked some negative responses and body shaming towards Gustin. The actor quickly addressed the leak on social media, arguing that the photo wasn't the best first look of the suit, and that fans shouldn't have body shamed him because of it.
"I'm happy with my body and who I am and other kids who are built like me and thinner than me should be able to feel the same way," Gustin's post read in part. "Not only that, but they should be able to feel like THEY could be a superhero on tv or film or whatever it may be someday. I love the suit that has been designed for me, and I think when everyone sees it in its entirety, you will love it too."
Shortly after, an official photo of the suit was released, showcasing that the costume will be a bit more comic-accurate and have a different construct than previous iterations. Ultimately, fans will have to wait and see exactly how the suit looks onscreen, and if it ends up being the one that comes out of Barry's new Flash ring.
It sounds like Barry's new suit will be coming particularly in handy in Season 5, as the team is tasked with taking down new villain David Hersch/Cicada (Chris Klein).
In the comics, Cicada is a Catholic preacher who is given the power of immortality, who uses his lightning bolt dagger to form a cult and murder those who have been saved by The Flash. The TV incarnation of Cicada sounds a bit different, being described as "a grizzled, blue-collar everyman whose family has been torn apart by metahhumans, Cicada now seeks to exterminate the epidemic -- one metahuman at a time". And while the villain's beef might not be with the Scarlet Speedster in particular, the team does have some ties to him, especially because, according to Nora, they were already supposed to stop him.
“His endgame isn’t about The Flash." Helbing explained in a recent interview. "It’s more of a bigger-scale issue. A big part of the story of this season [is about] the metas, where they got their powers from, and it’s tied into everybody’s journey this year,” Helbing added. “Cicada’s powers are different than DeVoe’s [and] any of the speedsters in the way they affect our team.”
Either way, it sounds like the team will definitely be challenged by Cicada's arrival, something that will create interesting narrative opportunities.
"It is nice to have a villain that we can change up what Barry's obstacle and the team's obstacles are, and how to take somebody down." Helbing previously told ComicBook.com after the Season 4 finale. "The Thinker, DeVoe, [was] a lot of fun and we certain see the benefits of doing that. Having a meta that isn't a speedster and the new ways that we can pose challenges for those guys is fun. So I think for next season, it's certainly not going to be a speedster."
But as it turns out, Cicada will not be the only foe that Team Flash goes up against, with the show dipping into some pretty interesting places to find new antagonists.
Among those villains will be Peter Merkel/Rag Doll (America's Got Talent alum Troy James), who is a carnival contortionist with a penchant for crime in the pages of DC Comics. He has previously been described as "an incredibly emotional damaged criminal who has the power to bend out of shape and fit his whole body into small spaces. As he is enjoying his criminal activities, Team Flash will be challenged by the Rag Doll in shocking ways as his sick plan is revealed."
Another new foe - or friend - for The Flash will be Spencer Young/Spin (Kiana Madiera), a genderbent version of the DC Comics character. The maniacal journalist is being reimagined as "a young aspiring social media influencer who seizes the opportunity to make herself famous when she discovers there is a new hero in Central City," which could hint that she has some sort of tie to Nora.
Arguably, a new season of The Flash isn't complete without a new iteration of Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), and it sounds like Season 5 will be keeping that in mind.
"At the end of the year, and this year is no different, we get to this question," Helbing joked to ComicBook.com after the Season 4 finale. "This year, I was up there for the finale, and I sat down with Tom and we started sort of spitballing some possible new Wellses. The two of us came up with some good options, but I think we landed on one in particular that serves the story in season five really well and also gives Tom something new and fun to play."
As has been recently revealed, Season 5's version of Wells will be dubbed "Sherloque", who (as the name suggests) is a detective that will come to the aid of Team Flash.
“[He's] a master detective from a different earth, and he’s come to help [the team] track down Cicada." Helbing explained in a recent interview. "He’s pretty awesome at his job, and Ralph [Dibny (Hartley Sawyer)] doesn’t take too kindly to somebody that has skills that may or may not be better than his.”
Those involved with The Flash have teased bits and pieces about Sherloque in the past, with Cavanagh having a pretty lighthearted approach to it all.
"I'm just doing my darnedest to get this show cancelled, one guy after one guy after one guy and somehow I haven't quite struck that note yet, but maybe this year," Cavanagh joked during this summer's San Diego Comic-Con. "This guy will be filled with intrigue and deceit, fun, humor, intensity, and very loud. I don't know about the last bit, but it's going to be really a prime-time viewing. I think. It's good, it's going to be really fun. You'll have to watch and see."
Between Nora's arrival, the emergence of Cicada, and various other elements of Season 5, it sounds like the new batch of episodes can be boiled down to one thing -- the impact of its characters.
"I think the overarching theme for the whole season is family, legacy, and truly what you're leaving behind and how what you do affects the future," Nicolet explained to ComicBook.com.
At the moment, it's anyone's guess as to what that will mean for each character. But as Gustin has previously hinted, the early batch of episodes will also pay tribute to The Flash's comic legacy as well, in some particularly interesting ways.
“In the first episode… I don’t want to tell you too much, but in the first episode, two things happen that I’ve wanted to happen for five years." Gustin told ComicBook.com. "One of them is a huge action sequence that is out of the comics, and I remember thinking when I read that ‘We’ll never be able to do that. Which sucks, because that’s so cool.’ And we’re doing it, yeah. We’re doing it in the first episode. And I’m really excited about it, because I know our visual effects guys are going to kill it, and what we shot was awesome."
While the Arrowverse's shows have yet to officially premiere, quite a lot of details have been teased about December's upcoming crossover -- including the role The Flash will play in it.
The crossover will see Arrow, Supergirl, and The Flash (not Legends of Tomorrow) involved in a one-of-a-kind adventure, which will also serve as the live-action debut of Kate Kane/Batwoman (Ruby Rose).
As has been recently teased, the crossover will also include an appearance from Supergirl's Clark Kent/Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) and Lois Lane, with Barry expected to share scenes with the Man of Steel.
“To see Flash and Superman together and to be one of the guys in the suits is something I’m definitely pretty excited about," Gustin said in a recent interview. “It did feel like something they would always save for the features, to be honest. But I feel like the Arrowverse has kind of been changing that stigma with the whole TV is the lesser medium. I think it kind of doesn’t matter these days with the streaming and content’s kind of everywhere."
"So, it is cool to see us kind of rise to even another level and bring all of us together for these crossovers." Gustin continued. "It’s pretty epic.”