[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the Season 6 premiere episode of The Flash. Read at your own risk!]
The Flash is back and more stressful than ever! The CW show's sixth season premiered with an adorkable new meta, a seriously messed up new villain, and, worst of all, a foreboding death sentence.
We've known for a while now that Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) would die in the upcoming Arrowverse crossover, Crisis on Infinite Earths, but he's apparently not the only person we should be worried about. Although most of the Season 6 premiere was upbeat, the Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) arrived to bring the whole room down with the revelation that Barry (Grant Gustin) will also die in the upcoming crossover, bringing that infamous headline about his disappearance that much closer to reality. For now, though, Barry and Iris (Candice Patton) are the only people who know about the Monitor's fatal prediction, but this will no doubt influence how they (and by extension Team Flash) deal with the news.
The Flash's new showrunner, Eric Wallace, spoke with reporters about the reveal and the road ahead at a special press screening of the premiere, and it sounds like we're in for one hell of a rollercoaster in the next seven episodes as the show prepares to head into Crisis on Infinite Earths.
It's a significant moment for Barry and Iris, hearing what the Monitor has to say. How are Barry and Iris grappling with that going forward?
Eric Wallace: That would be the plot of 602. [Laughs] ... Crisis turned out to be the best thing that could have happened — I can't speak for the other shows, but I certainly speak for The Flash — because it created an immediacy to thing. We know December 10, 2019,the Flash will die. He just said it. We're not messing around. So, as a married couple, they can count the number of days and weeks. The countdown begins next week. What kind of urgency does that give them? An extreme one. It turns the dial up to 10, and it makes you think, "Is every moment together our last? What can we do? Should we fight this? Is it inevitable?" These are all the things that they're grappling with for these next seven episodes, because eight ends and it's Crisis time, and it's time to go off to, literally, cosmic war. So the relationship is strained. But it's also going to bring them closer together than ever before because that's what tragedy does.
In Season 3, they had a similar situation where they saw that Iris was going to die in the future. What did they take away from that experience that they bring this time around when it's Barry who they know is gonna die?
Wallace: You should watch next week, when that exact question is asked and answered. That is literally the plot. What this story has enabled us to do is to look back at any other time when somebody was facing life and death, and see how they reacted then... And I will tell you — no spoilers — it's different. It's not the same, because of what they learn next week. That's the great part of the story. The Monitor showing up and kind of making a cosmic pronouncement drives you to extremes in order to fight against or accept the coming crisis. And every episode this season [they] are all about "Do I accept death? Or do I fight it?" That's also the reason why Bloodwork is the villain this season. The villain, as we now know, has HLH cancer and is dying. So for the first time in the show's history, we have a villain and a protagonist who are going through the same thing. It's the reason Bloodwork was chosen as a villain this season. It was very deliberate because they're going to learn about halfway through the season, "Maybe we're not so different? And what does that mean?"
At what point in the season will we be meeting Sue [Dibney]? And could you ever see Ralph and Sue spun off into their own series?
Wallace: I'll answer the second question first: Yes. Without question. We are actually writing the episode right now where Sue first appears, and boy, we're having a blast because Sue is such a delight. Now, the first question is a huge spoiler. There's two answers to that: Sue Dearborn will appear in the back half... I would read into that when I say there's two answers to that question. Sometimes what you see isn't what you see. Is that opaque enough?
Is Barry aware that Oliver Queen is also working for the Monitor right now?
Wallace: No, and boy, I wonder what will happen when they both find out? [Laughs] It's good stuff. It's so great because I can't tell you when it happens, but I will tell you that is a scene that happened and is a moment, and it is coming. Let's just say people might get pissed off a little.
Cisco's (Carlos Valdes) relationships haven't always been well-served on the show, so will it be this time?
Wallace: Yes. In fact, we love Camilla (Victoria Park). That's why when we skipped forward four months, we wanted to just rip the Band-Aid off, like, "Oh, she's already in the family." She knows Barry's the Flash, she knows he's been Vibe, they're doing just fine and sort of have a healthy relationship that's not Barry and Iris. Maybe we have a healthy relationship on the show that goes through other things, cases of the week and stuff that they'll encounter later on, but as far as their relationship — ups and downs, highs and lows — they won't be having that kind of drama. They're doing great, and that's one of the themes of his season arc that plays over all 22 episodes. Can you be happy being human? Can you be happy not being a meta? Can you be happy not saving the world every week? Yeah, you can! You got a beer at the picnic there, and maybe you do punch in 9 to 5 and let the Flash handle everything from 5:01 to 8:59? It's kind of nice. That's a big thing that Cisco will be struggling with all season long, and Camilla's a part of that.
The synopsis for Episode 602 mentions John Wesley Shipp. Are you able to tease which version of him we are going to see?
Wallace: Jay Garrick. It's Jay Garrick. Somebody asked the question that if you put two and two together, you actually have the plot of 602. Who asked the question about how do you react to what you've been given? You go to a scientist don't you? There's your plot. And that brings up another thing that we're doing very specifically in Season 6 to watch out for. It's a little more serialized now. It comes from me being on Teen Wolf probably, doing that. Just picking up sometimes right where something left off... a lot of the episodes, especially two, three, and four, they end and it picks up one second later because I want the immediacy that audiences get when they're watching a streaming show.
Keiynan Lonsdale said at a convention that he'd be back in Season 6. Can you tease when we might be seeing that?
Wallace: It's funny because, I've got to call him probably this week, because we start breaking his episode, I think, next week... I'm trying my best to honor that and get Kid Flash in for a couple, 'cause the story is so good. And the little tease is Kid Flash will now meet a classic villain from the classic days from classic comic books. And maybe he'll have to save the Flash's behind, which is what I want to see, 'cause maybe he's not a kid anymore. It's time to grow up.
What are we going to see from Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker) now that she's out and able to live a life?
Wallace: Now that she has a life coach? I will tell you, and again no spoilers, it has been a pure delight writing Killer Frost this season, because she's much more in the forefront than Caitlin is... and it's led to these hilarious situations because basically, it's like when we talked of her almost as a teenager who finally got the keys to the car but doesn't know how to drive. We've got to drive to go to the store, to get the groceries, to get some wine, to meet your boyfriend, or to go to the movies, or whatever. So everything is new through her eyes, which means she's gonna make some mistakes, which is great. It's gonna lead to some more tears, but then at the end, she's going to grow into something that didn't exist before. Maybe you do lose that Killer. Maybe it's just Frost waiting down the line. And Danielle ... she's having a blast. I told her what was coming in the back half, because it's funny, as of this screening, we are now starting Graphic Novel No. 2, that's what we are breaking. So I'm like "OK, what happens here, right? "But the result of where she goes in Graphic Novel 1, and where she ends up emotionally, gives her the strength to face what lies in Graphic Novel No. 2, if that makes any sense.
We haven't met the new Wells yet. What can you say about Tom Cavanagh's latest character?Wallace: He's my favorite since Harrison Wells, the Reverse-Flash [of] Season 1, because he's cool. He's suave. It's just what Tom said at Comic-Con: This is a man of adventure. This is a man who can kind of get in a fight and hold his own. We haven't seen a Wells like that. But there's this completely unexpected side to him, which I will not spoil, that's just wonderful. And he has a secret, a secret that will be slowly dripped out in Graphic Novel No. 1, but which will really mess with his mind, literally — that's a spoiler, right there — in Graphic Novel No. 2. ... It'll be very apparent, I think, by Episode 6, what the hint is and what the secret is. You all will ask yourselves, "Wait a minute, that's kind of like the other Wells. I don't think it's going to end the same way." And it's a very kind of emotional story, and we're very excited.
Can you talk about the importance of tying Iris more into her role as a journalist?
Wallace: Well, those people are going to be ridiculously happy this year, because before I even got here, as a fan, I kept asking myself, "Why is this woman a journalist? I don't understand. She has no staff. She has no office. That's a pretty crappy journalist, you know? Does she work out of her house? OK, that's kind of cool." But if we know from 518 that she becomes a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, and that she has an empire, we need to start building those seeds. We need to do it now. So we have very urgently done that this season. You will meet her new staff member very soon... [It] might be a small staff at first, but it's very much about seeing her take charge of what we refer to as Team Citizen. And they will appear, and they will be getting into trouble, especially in the back half of our show. Because now we have a new way to bring in meta storylines: her investigations. It doesn't always have to be a bank robber any more. So, it's been a blessing from the story gods.
How aware is the rest of the team about what's going on with Crisis and what the Monitor said?
Wallace: You should watch Episode 603. I would literally say to you, you're right on the money with that question... 603. You'll love it. You'll get your answer.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation.)