7:00am PT by Philiana Ng
'The Flash': Meet the Main Players on CW's 'Arrow' Spinoff
The CW's Arrow spinoff, The Flash, blasts onto television screens Tuesday with a new crop of characters — some you've met before and others you haven't.
The Flash centers on Central City forensic investigator Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), who — through a freak accident — is given the power of super speed, which transforms him into the fastest man alive. Viewers first met the character in a two-episode arc on Arrow in December 2013, which ended with Barry getting struck by lightning and entering a nine-month coma. When he wakes up, Barry begins his long road to discovering and adapting to his newfound superpowers.
"For The Flash, it's Day 1 of being a hero. We experience the show through Grant and through Barry," said executive producer Andrew Kreisberg, who revealed that the writers have "three seasons worth of ideas.... Who people are and what they seem, we're learning that just as he's learning that. That's his evolution of a hero."
That same evolution also can be said about the visual effects. Though Flash is rooted in a more sci-fi and fantastical world than Arrow, the ambition will be upped in gradual progression. "We'd like to take it in steps," said executive producer Greg Berlanti. "Without a doubt the most effective part of the show is two, three people on the screen having a great scene together.... We do try and up our game and push everybody to the limits because we know how important it is for people who keep watching the show to not feel like we blew all the money on the pilot."
The Flash has been building up a stable of notable supporting players, from Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell to Clancy Brown and original star Amanda Pays returning as Dr. Tina McGee, not to mention borrowing Arrow favorites at opportune times (episodes four and eight). But every hero needs a team, and Barry is surrounded by a top-notch group of people — at the Central City Police Department, STAR Labs and at home. So who is Harrison Wells? Who is Cisco Ramon? The Hollywood Reporter breaks down The Flash's main players.
Barry Allen, aka The Flash
The young Central City forensic investigator who becomes The Flash (a name coined by Barry's mentor, the Arrow, in the premiere), spends considerable time adjusting to his new abilities — at least in the beginning. Juggling between the science-driven STAR Labs crew, duties at the Central City PD and potential romance adds increasing pressure for the young Barry. Gustin (Glee) has spent significant time with the character (more than a year) and admitted that the line between him and Barry have become incredibly blurred. "Every day, it's hard to tell the difference between me and Barry as we go because I'm Barry more often than I am Grant," he said with a laugh. "I think I carry him with me a lot when I leave [set]."
In DC lore, Barry's best friend, Iris (Candice Patton), grows up to become an award-winning journalist, a journey that begins to take shape in the second episode. When The Flash picks up, Iris is working at Jitters coffee shop and is quickly established as Barry's closest confidante (and crush). Daughter of Central City Detective Joe West, she has secrets of her own — namely, that she's dating her father's partner, the charming Detective Eddie Thawne, something Barry becomes aware of by accident. "It doesn't dawn on Iris that Barry would ever even think of it in that way. We play with that a lot this season," Patton tells THR.
Detective Joe West
One of three father figures in Barry's life, Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) raised him as a young child while his dad, Henry Allen (John Wesley Shipp), was imprisoned. A blue-collar cop with the sole intention of protecting Barry at any cost, he finds himself learning of the existence of metahumans, Barry included, following the particle accelerator accident, and figuring out who he can trust. "I've got conflicts with everybody and that's an actor's dream," Martin tells THR. "It's all these conflicts that make for an interesting time."
Detective Eddie Thawne
Charming and good-looking, West's partner Detective Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett) — based on DC's Professor Zoom — is a recent transfer to Central City PD who is secretly dating Iris at the start of the series. "When he sees that she's with Eddie, it makes it clearer to Barry how he feels because of how it makes him feel to see her with somebody else," Gustin told THR over the summer. Eddie's background and history are shrouded in mystery.
Dr. Harrison Wells
Perhaps the most mysterious character of all, Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) is the brains behind STAR Labs' particle accelerator, and following the explosion that creates The Flash, is shunned from Central City. His intentions with Barry become increasingly unclear as his obsession with the fastest man alive grows and more is uncovered about Wells' motives. Is Wells, who's another mentor figure to Barry, to be trusted?
STAR Labs' bioengineering expert, Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), based on DC's Killer Frost, is an integral member of Wells' main team. Believing that she lost her fiance, Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell), as a result of the STAR Labs explosion, Caitlin spends considerable time at work. Little does she know, Ronnie Raymond (aka one-half of Firestorm) will re-emerge soon.
Based on another DC character, Vibe, Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) is responsible for outfitting The Flash with his tech-friendly suit. The youngest member of Harrison Wells' STAR Labs crew, Cisco is a mechanical engineering wunderkind, who has one or two of his own winks and nods.
The Flash premieres 8 p.m. Tuesday on The CW.