'The Flash': Could Barry Have Really Been in the Future?

It's been a complicated season for Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) on The Flash. After sacrificing himself to the Speed Force at the end of Season Three, he was able to return thanks to the efforts of his friends only for his homecoming to be less than ideal. His return literally created new foes for Team Flash, his wedding did not go as planned, and when the series returns in January, Barry will be fighting a murder charge.

It's a lot to process. But with the second half of the season picking up a version of the classic Flash storyline "The Trial of The Flash" combined with some other small mysteries we've seen so far, some are starting to wonder if Barry truly spent six months in the Speed Force or if he was somewhere else entirely -- like the future.

There are, admittedly, plenty of reasons to believe that Barry really was just in the Speed Force for the six months before Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) were able to retrieve him, the biggest one being the idea that the Speed Force needs a speedster. We found out last season that there needs to be a speedster confined within a "Speed Force prison" to keep things stable. After all, it's where Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) was trapped after Savitar tricked him into taking his place and where Jay Garrick (John Wesley Shipp) took his place. Jay himself exited the prison using a skeleton key -- in the form of the Speed Force Bazooka -- but after Savitar was fully defeated, the Speed Force needed stabilized again and this time, only Barry would do.

However, unlike both Wally and Jay who both were forced to endlessly relive the worst day of their lives and dealt with emotional fallout from that, when Barry was retrieved from the Speed Force at the beginning of season four he just seemed extremely disoriented. Speaking (and writing) gibberish, Barry seemed less like someone who had been trapped in his worst nightmare and more like someone dropped into the past from another time. Considering that time works a little differently in the Speed Force, the idea that Barry was in the future during his six months in the Speed Force somewhat makes sense.

For starters, when Barry is still speaking incoherently upon his return he very clearly says that they will need more diapers. A lot more diapers. It might seem like a throwaway line, but fans have speculated that it could have been a response to his and Iris (Candice Patton) having twins in the future. There's also the curious tidbit that is the connection between the comic book "The Trial of the Flash" storyline and the appearance of the Legion of Super-Heroes on Supergirl.

On Supergirl, Mon-El (Chris Wood) ended up being sucked into the future -- the 31st century, specifically and while audiences have assumed that it's the future Supergirl Earth, Earth-38, that hasn't actually been confirmed. In comics, in "The Trial of the Flash" Barry runs into the future following the outcome of the trial, specifically racing to the 30th century. In comics, the Legion was founded in the 30th century and with Supergirl establishing the team just a century ahead of that, The Flash might also make the same adjustment should Barry need to run into the future. And if the mystery girl from the West/Allen wedding ends up being either Dawn Allen or Jenni Ognats, that would be another tie to that far-flung time.

There are some other little things that seem to hint that Barry may have had some contact with the future. During the "Invasion!" crossover there was a message from Future Barry and then there is also the matter of Savitar. While Savitar's existence was explained as being the result of a causal loop, there is still a lot of time travel to and from the future that is part of his story, and with all of the times The Flash has had Barry run into the future or the past, it's not impossible that, at this point, everything is a result of one big master trip through time via the Speed Force, especially since something happened when Barry tried to fix what he broke with the Flashpoint timeline that we're still trying to figure out: the return of Eobard Thawne.


Wherever Barry ultimately spent those six months in question, it will just have to wait for The Flash to return in January for fans to figure out -- assuming that "The Trial of the Flash" isn't leading up to the show's version of "Crisis on Infinite Earths".

The Flash is presently on midseason hiatus and will return on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at 8/7c on The CW.