Shortly after the premiere aired for The CW's The Flash, everyone in the comics community was asking the same question: who the heck is Harrison Wells?
It's a fair question, considering that (spoilers) at the end of the premiere, he showed himself to be in possession of a machine that gave him access to headlines from the future, implying that the Crisis on Infinite Earths was coming to the series.
That's...massive. Like, Nick Fury showing up at the end of Iron Man massive.
We got in on the speculation, thinking that he could be any number of familiar DC characters, including Hunter Zolomon and Rip Hunter.
Then, in the second week, we got another susprise ending, with Wells shooting Simon Stagg, killing the billionaire for his evil-tinged curiosity about The Flash's abilities and how to "control" him. Killing Stagg, Wells told him that "He's called The Flash -- or he will be -- and he must be protected."
We may have got the exact wording wrong, but that's the point.
Now...that seems to take a couple of candidates off the board.
While at first it seemed like this could be a deep cover operation for the Time Masters, it seems very unlikely that Rip Hunter or Booster Gold would travel back in time and kill someone as important as Stagg if they weren't already supposed to die. The ripple effect down the line could potentially be massive. That doesn't mean we couldn't find out that they were "meant" to do it -- Booster, after all, evaded prosecution in the 25th Century at one point by proving that historical records indicated he was supposed to travel back and be a superhero in the 20th Century, and that's something that even Booster didn't know until long after he'd done it.
Still, it doesn't track with the way that The Flash executive producer Geoff Johns depicted Booster and Rip during his run on the title and in other books like Justice Society of America and 52 where he wrote the characters. It's probably safe to remove them.
That said, other characters have been suggested by our readers, or occurred to me in the course of watching, who seem worth adding to the original list.
As a refresher, here's a (shortened) version of the list and our justifications for their inclusion, with Booster and Rip removed:
One of the versions of the Reverse Flash (there are a few) was Hunter Zolomon, also called "Zoom" or "Professor Zoom," who fancied himself a perfect foil for The Flash because he wanted to make him a better hero. Everything he did, then, he rationalized that it was only to challenge The Flash and force the speedster to evolve past it. That mentality could easily fit the kind of paternal, stern relationship that Wells seems to be cultivating with Barry. Also, just from the semi-official key art above, I can kinda see actor Tom Cavanagh's nose and jawline in the Reverse Flash.
We've recently seen a brutal, alternate-future Barry Allen in the comics (see above); tying into the "five years later" events of The New 52: Futures End, there's a blue-clad version of Barry who is older, and on a mission...and very, very unstable.
Barry's twin brother, accidentally abandoned to another family in the hospital. An ancestor of future Reverse Flash Eobard Thawne, this character makes sense for all the same reasons that the "evil" older Barry does...and in fact that Blue Barry might be the New 52 version of Cobalt Blue.
...So! Who else can we add to the list, now?
In the second episode of the series, his character referred to himself as a "pariah," which many fans thought was an Easter egg we never called out.
At the time, I just didn't consider that it was or could be an Easter egg; while it is the name of a DC Comics hero, it's also a fairly common noun, and he used it properly and in a sentence that didn't call attention to it.
That said...Crisis on Infinite Earths was the first place we met Pariah, a character whose lot in life was to live eternally, always witnessing the destruction the Anti-Monitor wrought on an infinite number of worlds before being swept away to the next one just before the universe blinked out of existence.
Such a strong tie to the Crisis cannot be ignored, so he makes the list.
Now, this one would be a little odd, since Savage, while immortal, has usually not had "knowledge of the future" as one of the tools in his toolbox.
That said, in a show with time travel, anything is possible and he could have encountered Barry in the past, or Reverse Flash or Zoom.
Somebody had suggested Vandal Savage -- I'm not sure why, or who -- and so he was on my radar this week when, just before switching on the particle accelerator, Wells said "I feel like I've been waiting centuries for this."
Of course, that could be about an immortal who has literally waited centuries -- like Savage or even Pariah -- or it could be a figure of speech used by any time-traveler who has traversed centuries to reach that fateful moment.