Hartley Sawyer, who plays Ralph Dibny on The Flash, will return for the show's fifth season as a series regular.
Sawyer, who suited up this season as the elastic hero known as the Elongated Man, was a recurring guest on The Flash in season four, but after his apparent death and return turned out to be key to defeating The Thinker, Dibny is positioned as a major part of Team Flash in season five, and Sawyer will apparently be featured in more episodes as a result.
"Ralph's powers are so unique. In the comics, there's a lot of things we haven't done yet with Ralph Dibny," executive producer Todd Helbing told ComicBook.com last month. "We have a lot of investigative stories to tell; we obviously want to get to Sue Dibny at some point. So it just didn't feel from the beginning that we could tell his story in one episode and we all fell in love with Hartley literally from the moment we met with him and we knew we wanted to have him part of the show moving forward."
Ralph's death reverberated through the team for weeks, right up until the moment that Barry realized there was a way to get him back and defeat the big bad in one fell swoop. They pulled it off, and everyone lived happily ever after, but Helbing admitted it took a lot of time to consider how to best deliver the resurrection in a way that did not feel like a cheat.
"We never want to make the experience for the audience feel cheap, or like it's not earned for him to come back," Helbing said. "With The Thinker and DeVoe's plan, it hit a lot of story points with us. The reason why he was jumping through all these other metahumans was to take their powers, and we knew that when he finally got to Ralph, [the question was] how do we keep Ralph alive and bring him back and with his powers? DeVoe was able to return to form and we could pay off the Weeper storyline and emotionally, we could really get something that hit home with the team and send the team on a journey, dealing with a team member's death, and ultimately how this brings them closer together. They all have to work as a team and then it just felt like the best time to bring him back, in the finale, when he goes into the mindscape and he finds Ralph Dibny still alive."
Hartley's promotion is the second such move this week; on Wednesday, the network announced that Danielle Nicolet, who plays Cecile Horton, would return as a series regular, too.
The Flash airs on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW. The series will return for its fifth season in October. If you have any questions, comments, or theories about what comes next for Team Flash, hit us up in the comments or tweet @russburlingame. ComicBook.com doesn't take hiatus!