With the big announcement of the expansion of the Arrow universe to include Barry Allen, aka The Flash, in Season 2 of the popular series on The CW, executive producers/writers Andrew Kreisberg and Geoff Johns participated in a conference call with press to discuss what viewers can expect.
During the interview, Kreisberg and Johns talked about why The Flash is the first character from the DC universe that will cross paths with Arrow, what makes his personal story compelling, that he’ll appear in three episodes – Episodes 8, 9 and Episode 20 (to be directed by David Nutter) – which will set things up for a possible spin-off, how the introduction of superpowers will affect the world of Arrow and its characters, what sort of conflict will arise between Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and Barry Allen, where they’re taking inspiration from, and that they were waiting to start casting until they made the official announcement about the character. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
ANDREW KREISBERG: It really started with Greg Berlanti. The Flash was his favorite character, as a kid, growing up, and he’s obviously been a strong personal favorite of both Geoff [Johns] and mine. So, when Greg approached us, one day, and said, “Hey, what would you think, if we did The Flash as a spin-off?,” all of us lit up. Despite the fact that he’s got superpowers, I think there’s something relatable about Barry, of the big seven of The Justice League. He got his powers by accident. He isn’t a God. He isn’t an alien. He wasn’t seeking this out. It came to him. And his reactions to that feel very human and grounded. I know that’s a word we use a lot on Arrow, but that’s how it really feels. Oliver Queen is a very dark and tortured soul, and Barry is not. I think it will be fun to see these two characters together because they both have distinctly different world views while both caring very deeply about right and wrong.
GEOFF JOHNS: There’s also something really compelling about Barry Allen’s personal story. You see some of that in the comic books, but we’ll really be exploring his life as a forensic scientist and the people around him and the tragedies that he’s had to face, himself, and how he deals with them in a very, very different way than Oliver Queen.
How are you going to fit The Flash into the Arrow world?
KREISBERG: When we first meet Barry Allen, he’s just a forensic scientist working for the police department. He’s just an ordinary man, when we meet him. As we always do on Arrow, we try to keep things as grounded and realistic as possible. That’s how the audience will be introduced to Barry and get to know him, before his life gets a little bit faster.
Barry won’t be entering Arrow with powers, but will he be leaving with powers?
KREISBERG: I think part of the fun for the audience is to see how we do our “Arrow” take on The Flash legacy. I think some of it will feel very familiar to fans of the comics, and some of it will feel hopefully different, but fresh and exciting. The same way we approached Arrow is the same way we’re approaching Barry.
JOHNS: All that said, he does need powers to become The Flash.
KREISBERG: He will be The Flash.
Is this going to mean an introduction of powers in the Arrow universe, in a broader context, as well?
JOHNS: We looked at it as Barry Allen. When he first appeared back in the ‘50s, he ushered in the Silver Age of DC superheroes. In the same way, he’s going to usher in some new and pretty insane concepts to the Arrow world, but in a very grounded way.
KREISBERG: The important thing is that our characters, who people have really come to know and like, will react to the extraordinary changes to their world, hopefully in a very realistic way. These “powers” won’t be treated as commonplace, on the show. They will be extraordinary events and the world, and our characters in it, will react accordingly.
KREISBERG: Honestly, we’re really not looking that far ahead. For right now, we’re really just focusing on these episodes of Arrow that Barry Allen is partaking in. For this season, especially, this is in addition to Arrow. We’re not trying to take away anything from Arrow. We’re really trying to add to Arrow. So, for right now, that’s our singular focus.
JOHNS: We’re really focusing on making these episodes the very, very best they can be. The Flash deserves it.
Will Oliver have direct interaction with Barry, and will there be friction there, like in the comic books?
KREISBERG: Oh, yeah, absolutely! That’s part of the reason we’re excited about doing this. As excited as we are to write for Barry, we’re really excited about what Barry’s arrival is going to mean for Oliver, for Dig for Felicity and everybody. He’s a great character, who’s going to affect all of our characters’ lives.
JOHNS: Barry is a cop. He follows the law. He follows the rules. He’s the last thing in the world you would ever think about as being a vigilante.
KREISBERG: What’s really nice is that they’re both going to learn from each other. When Barry comes into Oliver’s life, he’s going to have a profound impact on it. We always talk about the villains. We don’t do these things as gimmicks. We figure out what it’s going to mean for our characters and what the most exciting story is that we can tell with our characters. For this season, especially as Oliver is embarking on a new mission of trying to be a hero, he comes into contact with somebody who, as much as Oliver thinks he’s now being a hero, Barry won’t always think that.
What is Barry actually going to look like?
KREISBERG: For right now, because you’re just meeting Barry Allen, CSI, we’re not really focusing on potential costumes, or that stuff. That’s further down the road. We’re going to do what we did when we started with Arrow, which is hopefully write a great script and look for an amazing actor to play the part.
How many episodes will Barry be in?
KREISBERG: He’ll appear in Episode 8 and 9, and 20.
JOHNS: Episode 20 will be directed by David Nutter.
JOHNS: First off, that was one of the greatest episode of television this year, and Game of Thrones is one of the greatest shows.
KREISBERG: And he definitively deserved an Emmy nomination.
JOHNS: David Nutter is a fantastic director.
KREISBERG: He did the pilot for Smallville, and he also did the pilot for Arrow, so it feels right that he’s doing that episode. As much as people talk about Greg [Berlanti], Marc [Guggenheim] and I for Arrow, David really made it what it was with his amazing direction and his unparalleled advice and leadership.
Who will be writing Episodes 8, 9 and 20?
KREISBERG: Episodes 8, 9 and 20 are going to be written by Greg Berlanti, myself and Geoff [Johns].
Have you given any thought as to how you will render super-speed, when it comes to be?
JOHNS: It will be very different. It will not be blurring around. It will be very different.
KREISBERG: I think we’re excited to show something new that people have never seen. We don’t want to do something that people expect or what they’ve already seen. We really want to do something fresh and new and exciting, and give people a real cinematic experience in TV, in the same way that they’ve gotten from Arrow.
JOHNS: There’s also some wonderful visuals in The Flash comic book, currently, that we’re looking at because they’re really inspiring. Also, there’s a DC animated film, called Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, and there’s some sequences in there. I’ve never seen super-speed like that before, especially towards the end. We’re getting inspired by every incarnation of The Flash, everywhere, and beyond that.
Have you started the casting process yet?
KREISBERG: No, we were actually waiting for the news to come out. We really want to open this up to everybody, and see some people who are “names” and unknown people. It would have been difficult to look for an actor and say, “Oh, yeah, you’re guest starring on Arrow, but we can’t tell you who it is.” This way, everybody knows now, and we can really start in earnest. David Rapaport, who cast the Arrow pilot, is going to be casting this, so we feel like we’re in good hands.
How physical is the role going to be?
JOHNS: Physically, it’s going to be different than Arrow. Barry Allen isn’t typically a very physical guy. That said, he’s got to be athletic. He’s going to be running around buildings and through walls, but he won’t have to do those crazy pull-ups.
KREISBERG: Nobody can do the crazy pull-ups, but Stephen [Amell].
JOHNS: I think Green Arrow might show off in front of Barry Allen.
JOHNS: Yes, absolutely! There will be no sweatsuits or strange code names. He will be The Flash.
Are there plans to involve any other characters from Barry Allen’s universe, in his Arrow appearances?
KREISBERG: That’s interesting. Episodes 8 and 9 will take place in Starling City, which Barry has come to. I think Episode 20 will be a bigger introduction to Barry’s world. Those first episodes are really Barry coming to the Arrow world.
JOHNS: So, ultimately, yes. In Episode 20, you will see Barry Allen and The Flash’s world starting to form, in earnest.
Arrow returns to The CW for Season 2 on October 9th.