'The Flash': Who Is Savitar, Season 3's New Speedster Villain?

Savitar - Publicity - H 2016
Courtesy of DC Entertainment

Savitar - Publicity - H 2016

Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) is going to be fighting more than just an alternate timeline this season on The Flash.

While the producers of The CW's hit comic book series revealed at Comic-Con that the show was going to feature "two big bads" in season three, they only announced the identity of one during the packed panel. 

"One is a speedster that we'll reveal later and the other, the one in the creepy mask, is Doctor Alchemy," writer Todd Helbing said. (While the actual actor playing Doctor Alchemy is being cast at a later date, as of right now he is being voiced by Tobin Bell, the man behind Saw villain Jigsaw.)

And then, weeks later, at the 2016 Television Critics Association summer press tour, Helbing finally revealed the identity of the other season three villain. "We announced that Dr. Alchemy was one of the two big bads this year," Helbing told the room of reporters. "The other big bad is going to be Savitar."

So who is Savitar according to the DC Comics archives? Savitar has been a part of The Flash canon since he was first introduced in 1995 by Mark Waid and Oscar Jimenez. As most supervillain origin stories go, he actually began as a good guy, a regular human who was a pilot for a Third World nation during the Cold War. When he was testing a supersonic fighter jet, his plane was struck by lightning just as he reached top speed.

That accident gave him speedster powers, and he named himself after the Hindu god of motion since he believed his newfound powers were a divine gift. But while The Flash has featured speedster villains every season so far, Savitar is different from other speedsters. Described as a "vicious and cruel man," he became obsessed with his new powers, and dedicated his life to studying velocity and pushing himself. He discovered many new powers that no other speedster had ever been able to accomplish. He could lend speed to other objects and even other people, heal himself instantly and even protect himself with a force field. But the one thing he always craved was more access to the Speed Force.

During Savitar's life, his quest for knowledge and increased power gained him fans and followers who eventually formed a cult, with Savitar acting as their leader. After a battle with Johnny Quick and Max Mercury, Savitar was thrown forward into the time stream and disappeared for decades while his cult continued to grow in numbers. When he finally showed up in the future, he had gained a new objective: Defeat all the other speedsters in existence. That resulted in all the living speedsters teaming up to defeat Savitar, led by Wally West's version of the Flash. They eventually defeated him by having the Speed Force absorb him.

The Flash returns for season three on Tuesday, Oct. 4, at 8 p.m. on The CW.