This season on The CW's The Flash has seen Iris West-Allen (Candice Patton) factor much more prominently in the Arrowverse series' story. Even in "Crisis on Infinite Earths", Iris had a not insignificant role, recruiting Ryan Choi as one of the Paragons. With "Crisis" in the rearview, Iris has also been central to the second "graphic novel" that is the back half of the season's story with the journalist deep in uncovering the mystery of the Black Hole organization and the threat they pose. It's something that has seen the character strike out on her own, with her own team, handling things separately from her superhero husband and according to showrunner Eric Wallace, it's by design.
Speaking with TV Guide, Wallace explained it was very important to him to ensure that Iris was more than just Barry's wife, allowing the character to be defined by her own story rather than her marriage.
"Whenever we can, the intention is to pepper in what makes Iris West-Allen and not define her by her marriage to a man. I love marriage. It's great, but that's not how people should be defined," said Wallace. "One of the most important things for me when I took over as showrunner of The Flash was to really make sure that Iris Allen-West was an equal character with equal time and equal stories to her male counterpart, Barry Allen — to establish equality, not just as a wife and a spouse. No, no, no. As a reporter, and as an individual with her own interests and her own stories, and, even more importantly, to show the independence of a working African American woman and bringing all of that out."
Seeing Iris be more her own person -- and specifically get to do more work as a journalist -- is something that Patton has been asking for for some time. Back in 2018, ahead of the show's fifth season, Patton expressed how important it was for her to see Iris be more than just a love interest.
"If you read the comics, [being a reporter is] her bread and butter," Patton said. "So, I think, story-wise, we've been separated from that for so long. I think fans, rightfully so, were a little irritated by that, I think it's also important see women doing what they love, instead of just being seen as a romantic love interest on the show."
She went on to explain that seeing Iris be her own person professionally was important to her personally.
"It's always been really important to me that Iris has agency, and that we see her at work, contributing," Patton explained. "I always say ' These characters, us as women, we're so much more than the man or the woman that we are in a relationship with.' And so, I really wanted that for Iris, and I hope we do it justice next season. I'm a little worried how we fit that into the world that we've created with Star Labs. But if they can do it right, I think it can be great. It would love to see Iris being a dope reporter, like she is in the comics."
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.