Earlier tonight, ComicBook.com wrote an article voicing the opinion that The CW's top-rated superhero show, The Flash, would be better off embracing the risky cliffhanger that ended season 3 last week and embracing Wally West as the "new" Flash for a short period of time, rather than immediately reversing course toward the status quo, as the series did following the "Flashpoint" episode of season 3.
If the showrunners don't agree with us, though, and want to bring Barry back as fast as humanly possible, how might they pull it off?
Well, as ever with The Flash, the posibilities are almost endless, but we've rounded up some plausible theories to offer them here.
Let's take a run down the various multiversal, time-travel and storytelling solutions to the corner they've written themselves into...
...in case that's the way they want to go.
Back when audiences first learned the true identity of Savitar -- and immediately some started to speculate that it might be possible he was in fact a hero somehow playing some kind of long game, rather than the villain he has appeared to be all season long -- we noted that in the comics, there was one "future Flash" story where the character seemed vaguely menacing and untrustworthy, but turned out to be a pretty alright (if damaged) version of himself.
A variation on that story could still be used to bring Barry back, if they wanted to give it a try.
In the 1990s, The Flash series starred Wally West, not Barry Allen; Barry had sacrificed himself in the mid-'80s in Crisis on Infinite Earths. And at various points, Wally would vanish into the Speed Force, appear to die, or other similar problems.
In The Flash #150, Barry found himself working with Barry during the Crisis, and inadvertently creating a temporal anomaly that would have killed Barry earlier and doomed the multiverse. Instead, Wally managed to race a mysterious blue flame into the Speed Force, seemingly dying to save Barry and thus the multiverse.
In the present day in Wally's home of Keystone City, a man in a modified Flash costume, and bearing a scar on his face, appeared. While not evil, he remained mysterious for a long time and was certainly more harsh with villains than The Flash would typically have been. Eventually it was revealed that he was Wally West from an alternate future where he had suffered quite a few losses, including the loss of the love of his life, Linda Park.
In those same comics, Savitar was actually ancient; that wasn't merely a trick he was playing, as on the TV series. He battled various speedsters throughout history and his true identity was never revealed. For the purposes of the TV series, in which the Big Bad has had a major and emotionally-wrenching "reveal" every season, they appear to have combined elements of the Dark Flash/Future Wally storyline in order to craft a powerful villain with unparalleled control over the Speed Force, but whose identity was relevant.prevnext
SEND SOMEONE ELSE TO SPEED FORCE PRISON
The obvious answer, of course, is to send someone else to take Barry's place in the Speed Force Prison.
Throughout season 3, Wally and Jay Garrick both spent time in the prison -- but this one is probably the least likely scenario unless it's a temporary emergency stopgap kind of situation.
Why? Because while Barry is headed to a kind of limbo existence, Wally and Jay both had to endure their personal Hell inside the Speed Force. There's no reason to think that it wasn't Barry's heroism that "earned" him a better place, and that anyone who might go in after him would end up with "classic" Speed Force Prison.
Condemning another speedster -- even a villain, more than likely -- to Speed Force Prison would undercut the heroism of Barry's willing sacrifice, undermining some of the finale's power and potentially angering the fickle gods of the Speed Force itself, so if it comes to Jay or somebody hanging out in the Speed Force for a while, expect it to be a result of something that only Barry can fix.prevnext
REASON WITH THE SPEED FORCE
The reason the Speed Force gave Barry a pass on going to "Hell" is the same as the reason that it insisted there be a body there, and not just an equilibrium of Speed Force energy or some other weird comic book science-y way of avoiding this cliffhanger: In The Flash, the Speed Force is sentient.
It's a bit of a twist on the comics, where the Speed Force was introduced as a literal force of nature, an energy field from which speedsters draw their power, and later it was revealed that it was populated by the Speed Force energy and consciousnesses of dead speedsters.
Here, though, the dead speedsters are, at least at present, a non-factor, but the Speed Force itself is a sentient thing. It has wants and needs and rules and, while stubborn, it can be reasoned with to a degree.
After all, the first time we saw it, Barry managed to to leave the Speed Force after being "killed" trying to increase his speed to beat Zoom. He listened, followed the rules, and got out.
That seems like it would be a boring thing to repeat...but if the rules being followed were interesting and created a compelling story, we could easily be proven wrong in that assumption.prevnext
Of course, this is The Flash, which means we can have Barry back even without Barry leaving the Speed Force.
Unless there has been a major change in the final moments of the episode, there's an implication that he'll eventually come out of the Speed Force because Iris's byline on the future newspaper was still "West-Allen." That's point one.
So if Barry is going to eventually escape the Speed Force, there's a decent chance we could get a future version of Barry -- "Dark" or not -- who has been through the experience and just comes back a little older and wiser.
We could also get the opposite -- bring a Barry forward in time from the past, allowing Wally to swap roles with Barry and essentially be the more experienced of the two. The trouble there, of course, is having Barry forget everything he knew before he heads back in time...especially becuase you could create the weird time loop of accidentally letting Savitar (knowing everything Barry knows) know how he loses and messing up the finale altogether.
But, hey, in a pinch...there's plenty of Barry out there in time, space, and the multiverse.prevnext
MORE THE FLASH
Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) lived a normal life as a perpetually tardy C.S.I. in the Central City Police Department. Barry's life changed forever when the S.T.A.R. Labs Particle Accelerator exploded, creating a dark-matter lightning storm that struck Barry, bestowing him with super-speed and making him the fastest man alive — The Flash. But when Barry used his extraordinary abilities to travel back in time and save his mother's life, he inadvertently created an alternate timeline known as Flashpoint; a phenomenon that gave birth to the villainous speed god known as Savitar, and changed the lives of Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Wally West (Keiyan Lonsdale) forever.
With the help of his adoptive father, Joe West (Jesse L. Martin), his lifelong best friend and love interest Iris West (Candice Patton), and his friends at S.T.A.R. Labs — Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), C.S.I Julian Albert (Tom Felton), and an Earth-19 novelist named H.R. Wells (Tom Cavanaugh) — Barry continues to protect the people of Central City from the meta-humans that threaten it.0comments
Based on the characters from DC, THE FLASH is from Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television, with executive producers Greg Berlanti ("Arrow," "Supergirl"), Andrew Kreisberg ("Arrow," "The Flash"), Sarah Schechter ("Arrow," "DC's Legends of Tomorrow") and Todd Helbing ("Black Sails").
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