Tonight's season premiere of The Flash was full of surprises, Easter eggs, and even a scene ripped straight from comics, but there was one very specific moment that dropped a hint not only for Barry's future but for that of the entire Arrowverse as well.
Spoilers for tonight's Season 5 premiere of The Flash, "Nora", below.
Going into tonight's episode fans already knew that Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy) is Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris' (Candice Patton) daughter from the future and, as such, probably has quite a bit of information about how their lives play out. That proved to be heartbreakingly true when Nora not only confirmed that the newspaper headline first seen all the way back in the series premiere that declared "FLASH MISSING - VANISHES IN CRISIS" in 2024 does indeed happen but that it's a crisis Flash never returns from.
Nora pulls up a second newspaper headline, this one 25 years after the Flash disappears, noting that Barry is still missing. It's devastating news for Barry, but it also may have major implications considering what we already know about the future from another Arrowverse show: Legends of Tomorrow.
While the Legends do a lot of time travelling -- it's kind of their thing, after all -- they've visited the future in the direct "canon" timeline on two significant occasions before. The first was in "Star City 2046", the sixth episode of the show's first season. In that episode, we are introduced to a very dark, bleak world in which Star City is taken over by Grant Wilson, Team Arrow devastated, and the whole place is essentially a dystopian wasteland. Then, last season, the team heads to 2042 where they meet Zari Tomaz and discover a future in which there are severe anti-metahuman laws, a banning of religion, and A.R.G.U.S. control of the United States.
Both future times are bleak. It wouldn't be too difficult to think that maybe the Flash disappearing in 2024 and whatever crisis that causes that is part of what sends the world declining to that dark place. Of course, one could argue that if the future is truly that bad then Nora would surely say something but that's the thing about time travel. Nora has been very careful not to reveal too much. She may well not want to reveal any more information that she has to. It would be fitting with her overall plan to stop Barry from disappearing in the first place.
It's also worth noting that we already have some idea that Central City 2024 isn't a great place. Barry did pay the year a visit in Season 3 of The Flash to try to find out from his future self how to stop Savitar. While it's possible that the dreary criminal's paradise Central City was in that race forward changed when Iris didn't die, it's equally possible that it didn't.
There's also another future event that the ominous 2049 headline could be hinting at. The upcoming crossover event "Elseworlds" is set to feature Mar Novu, an extraterrestrial being of infinite power known as the Monitor. DC fans will recognize that character as one of the two ageless beings (the other being the Anti-Monitor) who personified and wielded the energies of the matter and anti-matter universes. Crisis on Infinite Earths dealt with the idea that since the matter universe had been split into an infinite multiverse, each of the individual universes was weaker, leaving them more vulnerable to attack by the Anti-Monitor than they otherwise would have been.
In Crisis on Infinite Earths, Barry Allen dies while sabotaging the Anti-Monitor's antimatter cannon, accelerating time to the point that he quickly ages and crumbles to dust while experiencing his past. The Flash literally vanishes in the crisis. While details are still few about the "Elseworlds" crossover, it's possible that the event could be lead up to The Flash eventually doing its version of Crisis on Infinite Earths, something that would be a welcome story to Gustin who said at San Diego Comic-Con back in 2017, that they talk about doing on the show.
“We don’t really talk about on a yearly basis, but it was mentioned early on and that's a goal. Obviously, we’d have to go I think ten years to reach that,” Gustin said. “So there’s a possibility for sure. It’ll be fun to get there.”
What do you think? Did the season premiere hint at Crisis on Infinite Earth? Or is something else coming? Let us know your thoughts in comments below.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.