The world of The CW's The Flash is always growing, and whenever a major new face from the DC canon steps in front of the cameras, it tends to be a game-changer for the show.
Now in its third season, The Flash has been energized by two back-to-back episodes that have got the fans excited and curious for what's coming up next, and as we go into tonight's mid-season finale, it's hard not to think about what changes might be coming in an episode that showrunners have said will provide a trajetory-changing reveal.
Up to now the main source of this season's villains has been Dr. Alchemy empowering individuals whose personal histories were altered by Flashpoint, but according to executive producer Andrew Kreisberg, that's going to get back-burnered as Savitar's real plan comes into focus.
"There's a villain coming up who's another one of the husk villains that was created by Alchemy, so there's that to deal with, but the midseason finale kind of creates a new problem for our heroes that they weren't anticipating -- something that they've never faced before," Kreisberg said. "And it's so big we're actually considering changing the saga sell from talking about Flashpoint to talking about that, because that's what's driving a lot of the episodes, actually. Flashpoint won't loom as large as the threat that presents itself in 309."
Whatever that is, it's likely to need an army to deal with it; Jay Garrick will appear in this week's episode, with 1990s' The Flash star John Wesley Shipp suiting up and playing action scenes for the first time alongside Grant Gustin's Barry Allen. Set photos have also revealed what appears to be the Flash of Earth-19.
So who else do we hope to see onscreen? Some of these answers are just becuase they're exciting, while some of them are for the obvious story potential they would bring to the table. In any case, here are our picks.
If yours are different, as always, feel free to let us know in the comments!
BARRY SEEKS HELP FROM JAY GARRICK — With Alchemy and Savitar still looming threats, Barry (Grant Gustin) is unable to focus on the Christmas holiday, and especially his relationship with Iris (Candice Patton). Determined to stop Savitar, Barry goes to Earth-3 to get advice from Jay Garrick (guest star John Wesley Shipp). Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) wants to help Barry fight Savitar and reveals that he’s been training with H.R. (Tom Cavanagh), which doesn’t go over well with Barry. As Cisco (Carlos Valdes) faces his first Christmas without his brother Dante (guest star Nicholas Gonzalez), old wounds are reopened.
Tank Girl director Rachel Talalay directed the episode with story by Aaron Helbing & Todd Helbing and teleplay by Lauren Certo.
The Flash airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW. "The Present" will debut on December 6, 2016.
THE SPEED FORCE ARMY
Let's get this one out of the way first.
We know, we know: "there are too many speedsters on The Flash."
...have you actually read a Flash comic anytime in the last 25 years or so? There are a lot of freaking speedsters and, by and large, one of the best things about The Flash is the way they interact.
That said, we're not going to spend the whole time dealing with "we want the Flash of Earth-247" or "holy cow, the speed-powered turtle from Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew."
That said, there are definitely some speedsters we'd like to see:
John Fox was a historian for the National Academy of Science in Central City in the 27th century when he got powers and decided to become The Flash. He's a guy who has turned the whole time-traveling Flash thing into an art form, having subbed in for Barry in the 21st Century as well as spending a not-insignificant amount of time in the distant future as The Flash of the 853rd Century.
Max Mercury, another Golden Age speedster who began his career as the Quality Comics hero Quicksilver and who played a key role in training a generation of speedsters around the time Savitar was a problem in the comics. In the comics, it was Max who battled Savitar to a standstill in the 1960s, throwing him into the Speed Force, until Savitar emerged from it to battle The Flash in what was then the present day.
Bart Allen -- and this one of course would be tricky because it would seem to predestine Barry and Iris, but aren't we kind of there already? -- is the grandson of Barry and Iris, born and raised in the future, who came to the present day and became Impulse, Wally's sidekick for a time and later a member of Young Justice, the Teen Titans, etc. He was even briefly The Flash.
XS, a speed-powered member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. We won't say much about her, because it's probably more likely that any Legion-related revelations will come on Supergirl.
Angela Margolin was more than just a love interest for Wally West during one of the oddest periods in his publishing history.
She was also a brilliant forensic scientist -- something that the crime lab will need now that Barry Allen had stepped down at Julian's behest.
Of course, once it's revealed that Julian is Dr. Alchemy, there will be a reckoning for that...and that might leave the Central City PD in need of a CSI. Enter Margolin, who would be a familiar name to comics fans, a tantalizing tie to the "Dark Flash" era that could pay off (or not) down the line, and the ability to step in and do the job.
Well, yeah. Mostly just because if he's not showing up, what in the world was the point of dropping a reference to his name, with ties to a super-powered baddie we'd never seen before, during the "Invasion!" crossover?
Gunfire was created during the Bloodlines attack, a '90s attempt to create a bunch of new superheroes by giving them a common starting point: an alien invasion where some of the victims of parasitic, cannibalistic aliens survived and gained powers. Bloodlines was itself kind of a poor man's Invasion!, since The Blasters were created (and some other characters outed as metahumans) after the Dominator attack, but what's arguably more interesting is that Gunfire has ties (and by ties we mean "very poor relationships") to both Deathstroke and Prometheus.
Could we see Andrew Van Horn, or is this just another Amertek-style misdirect where the company will never really play a key role in the story but it's a nice Easter egg? Only time will tell.
Wally West's time in the Justice League International was a defining part of his early career as The Flash, and while many of those characters are off limits for various reasons, there are a few who could easily make their way to The Flash.
Captain Atom would be a great fit.
First of all, there have already been a number of characters on The Flash and DC's Legends of Tomorrow who have been part of the Captain Atom story in the comics, so he could easily make reference back to characters like General Eiling, etc., and not have to go too far out of the mainstream to explain his origin.
Second, he could provide the kind of "big gun" who's useful in a fight and currently absent from Earth-1. In a pinch, it's not always convenient to open up a breach to go find Supergirl.
You'll notice we never said "no more speedsters."
After tonight's midseason finale and the increased role the West family will clearly be playing going forward this season, who wouldn't like to see the Iris West introduced in Kingdom Come to the world of The Flash?
It would give Wally an interesting insight into his future without any real details (who does he marry? When? You don't know! She's named after your sister and won't say anything more!) and could even give them a chance to use XS (an African-American speedster from the future who has ties to Barry's grandson) without the baggage of the Legion, since with Wally now active, the "Kid Flash" name is firmly taken.
Miiyahbin Marten is a young heroine with a cool power set, a simple costume, and a First Nations heritage. The CW series are pretty diverse, but almost nobody represents Native North Americans and, let's face it, right now it doesn't seem like Standing Rock is going to be out of the news anytime soon, so it's kind of a win/win scenario.
She's also got relatively little backstory, so building her into the current arc of The Flash would give them a lot of wiggle room. Like Magenta or Firestorm before the Legends of Tomorrow days, there's no need to have her around all the time, but bringing on a young heroine who isn't a speedster could be a good way to show Team Flash giving back in a way that isn't entirely Speed Force centric.
Come onnnnnn, guys! Give it to us!
We've had The Shade!
We've had Stargirl!
We've even seen the Gravity Rod on board the Waverider Timeship.
WE DESERVE ONE OF THE KNIGHTS!
DISTANT COUSIN WALLY
Did you know that in the comics, Wally West has a distant cousin, also named Wally? Apparently both of them were named after the same shared relative, who's a war hero.
Even if he never appeared onscreen (which would admittedly be confusing), a wink-and-a-nod reference would make this old Wally West fan grin ear to ear.