The following contains spoilers from The Flash‘s final season premiere.
The CW’s The Flash kicked off its farewell run with a time loop episode in which Barry learned not to live the rest of his and Iris’ life according to some spoiler-filled “map book” he had compiled, but to make decisions in the moment. As such, for example, we saw Iris turn down a sweet offer to be gobbled up by CatCo Media and instead declare her intent to expand Central City Citizen Media on her own terms.
The Season 9 opener also served up a first kiss for Chester and Allegra… planted the seed for Joe and Cecile to move away from Central City… and introduced Barry to some new, brown-and-blue haired incarnation of Caitlin/Frost. Its closing sequence left viewers with the reveal of the new villain whose bidding Captain Boomerang was doing — and though not named on-screen, it is no spoiler to say that the batty speedster is in fact a version of the Red Death, to be played by Batwoman alum Javicia Leslie. (In the comic books, the Red Death is a doppelgänger of Bruce Wayne/Batman who challenged The Flash and ultimately uses the Speed Force to acquire his own speedster powers.)
But why is Red Death all up in our Barry’s business all of a sudden?
“You’ll find out in a couple of episodes,” The Flash showrunner Eric Wallace tells TVLine. “There’s a reason why this speedster has shown up here. I’m trying to say this without spoilers, but it’s pretty heavy duty.”
“We’re not doing the Metal Knights storyline from the comic book, or any DC Comics Metal- or Dark Metal-related storyline, so we’re not using Bruce Wayne or anybody like that,” Wallace makes clear. Instead, “We’re using kind of a completely different character, and our Red Death will have their own new origin.”
Even so, “there has to be a reason for this character to be not just obsessed with Barry Allen but hate his guts enough to try to take him down and ruin his world,” Wallace avows. “That will become obvious, but it takes a few episodes to peel back the onion of why she hates Barry so much. And I think the audience is going to love it.”
This Red Death’s agenda and motivation, once revealed, will also shed light on why Javicia Leslie — who of course previously played the Arrowverse’s second Batwoman aka Ryan Wilder — was specifically tapped to play the villain, Wallace says.
“And what’s great is that one of the key scenes that involves this whole Red Death storyline, it involves Iris,” the EP shares. “It goes back to this not being a season about Barry or Iris; it’s a season about both of them.”
The other burning question raised by the final season premiere — “Who or what is original cast member Danielle Panabaker now playing?” — will be addressed in next week’s episode, titled “Hear No Evil.”
“It is not Frost, and it is not Caitlin,” Wallace says, echoing the character’s words to a puzzled Barry. “She’s not lying. However, her appearance at this time is not a coincidence. Heroes rise up when the universe needs them to appear, so there’s a reason why Danielle [Panabaker] is coming out of that crystal coffin right now. Because as we’re going to find as we get closer and closer to the series finale, her character is very wrapped up in the season finale. She’s the right hero for the absolute right time.”
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