Much is in flux at The Flash, (almost) all of it born of the pandemic pressing pause on production. But what might that delay mean for Season 7’s new “graphic novel” arcs?
Season 6 of The CW’s No. 1 series introduced what then-incoming showrunner Eric Wallace dubbed a “graphic novel” format, seeing as the first eight episodes had to set the stage for the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover event and were thus a bit standalone. As such, “Graphic Novel No. 1” had its own Big Bad in Dr. Ramsey Rosso aka Bloodwork, while Graphic Novel No. 2 (which kicked off post-Crisis) focused on Eva McCulloch’s evolution into a new Mirror Master.
The abrupt stoppage of production in mid-March left The Flash with three written but uncompleted Season 6 episodes. Those episodes will now, in some form, lead off Season 7, triggering a ripple effect that will alter the rollout of the next, new Graphic Novels.
“Because this is The Flash, there’s a huge twist at the end of every season, and that twist is now kind of coming in the middle of the [start of the] season,” Wallace told TVLine. “And that has really affected our storytelling for all of Season 7,” which is hoped to premiere in January 2021.
Wallace, though, chooses to see the ripple effect as “yet another blessing in disguise,” akin to how Crisis drove the first half of Season 6. “Amid the horror and the tragedy of what’s happening with this pandemic, if we can find some kind of lemonade in the lemon, it’s us having to rethink a few things about how a Flash season looks, given this ‘narrative unpredictability’ to the season.
“There are going to be more Graphic Novels next year,” he assured, “but they’re not going to be broken up in the way I think folks expect.”
When we spoke with Wallace, he was already mulling whether to bring Caitlin/Frost back sooner than planned (since Danielle Panabaker’s maternity leave would no longer be an issue); the same goes for Carlos Valdes’ Cisco, who had embarked on a mission to Atlantis, but would have been back by the finale. Even so, he teased at the time, “Not only do we know what happens at the end of Season 6, but I could tell you all of Season 7 right now.”
An additional wrinkle has since surfaced, when series regular Hartley Sawyer, who played Ralph/Elongated Man, got fired in early June for a series of racist, misogynistic and homophobic tweets he authored years ago, before joining The Flash. So while Wallace in mid-May anticipated a “wee bit of tinkering” to Season 6’s final three scripts (if only to undo any season finale crowd scenes now rendered impossible by COVID-19 restrictions), Ralph’s sudden absence — assuming there is no recast — will also need to be written in.