Tom Cavanagh Opens Up About Leaving The Flash

Earlier this month, fans of The CW's The Flash were saddened to learn that the series would be losing two of its original cast members with both Tom Cavanagh and Carlos Valdes departing the series after the current seventh season. While Valdes, who plays Cisco Ramon/Vibe, still has some episodes to go, Cavanagh has already ended his series regular run after years of playing numerous versions of Harrison Wells as well as Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash. Now, Cavanagh is reflecting on his time on The Flash and opening up about his decision to leave.

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Cavanagh explained that leaving The Flash was entirely his decision and spoke about the unexpected opportunity he was given to play multiple versions of Harrison Wells.

"No, that was my decision," Cavanagh said. "It was definitely my decision. The first season was such a strong season, such strong writing. I think the accelerant to the first season was fear. When we did the first season, I don't think we gave a lot of thought to the second season. We were like, 'Let's try to make something that sticks.' And the thing that made the most sense was to go Flash vs. Reverse Flash [like] Superman vs. Lex Luthor, Batman vs. Joker. It makes perfect sense because you get the A story out there and then figure out if it does well enough to give you a second season. And at the end when Flash (Grant Gustin) and Reverse Flash fight, and Flash wins necessarily, I remember thinking, 'Well, that's it.' Honestly, I was like, 'I'm grateful to have been a part of that.'"

He continued, But then Greg Berlanti and I were speaking about it and the opportunity provided by the fact that this show is set in this fictional multiverse. You're like, 'This is certainly an opportunity.' So then I was coming to the table with all these different characters. Ultimately when you think about, it's another privilege as an actor because that is a rarity for the same actor to get to play multiple versions of a character. What a joy! I think that was, for me, a very fun run."

Cavanagh went on to explain, however, that there came a point where he just felt like he was getting close to an exit, having told himself that he would only continue so long as he felt challenged and like he was contributing to the series' overall storyline.

"You also have to keep in mind that the show you're doing is not called Wells. It's called The Flash. At a certain point I [thought] in the back of my head, 'I'm going to do this for as long as I really feel challenged and it's enjoyable and that I'm contributing to Flash's storyline,'" Cavanagh said. "I thought after Sherloque was tracking down himself, the Reverse Flash [in season 5], even early on in that season, 'Yeah, this feels like I might be heading towards the exit now.' I thought [that would be] a perfect denouement. The Wells characters have been fun, but like we say, the show is called The Flash and it'll be fine without me."

When it was announced that Cavanagh was departing The Flash, Deadline reported that the actor had intended to step down as a series regular at the end of Season 6, a plan that shifted due to the COVID-19 pandemic which shut down production and pushed Season 6's storylines into the first part of Season 7 to wrap up. Cavanagh has appeared one additional time in Season 7, in the recent episode "Timeless", and while he won't be a part of the show regularly, he is still open to returning in the future.

"I feel like all of us on The Flash feel a certain sense of propriety toward the show and when Greg Berlanti calls, I don't think there's ever any hesitation," Cavanagh said. "I think one of the grand things about the show is the collaboration I've had with him. It's not just a sense of, 'When this guy calls, he's so prolific, I best go.' It's more a sense of, 'When this guy calls and he's so wonderful, I can't wait to go.'"

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The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.

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