Last night’s episode of The Flash was the first full-on episode in The CW’s “Invasion!” crossover tying together all four of the network’s DC Comics superhero shows; in addition to being part of a larger tapestry, it also had to serve as an episode of the ongoing Flash narrative for that show’s regular viewers — something that executive producer Andrew Kreisberg stressed as important at a recent Q&A hosted by The CW.
“I think one of the things we always try to do, especially with the crossovers, is not make it feel like all of a sudden we’re in this evergreen world that’s completely disconnected to everything that’s been happening previous,” Kreisberg said, pointing out Wally’s becoming a speedster at the end of the season’s seventh episode as a perfect example. “That’s huge. That’s big news. To sort of gloss over that and not have anybody react, considering the myriad of reactions Joe has had to Barry becoming a speedster and Iris finding out, it felt like we’d be doing a disservice to the people who were watching The Flash and enjoying it,” he stressed.
“We didn’t want the people that have been watching The Flash to suddenly feel like their show disappeared for a week while we had all these superhero shenanigans,” Kreisberg said, pointing out that the alien invasion was a great way to get the others over their ‘oh God, Wally is a speedster’ feelings. “What’s the point of making sure Wally stays out of danger if the world is going to be destroyed by aliens? Him stepping into the fray and getting a little taste of things felt like it was an opportunity rather than something that we had to service because the story was telling us to,” he explained.
Audiences binging The Flash or any of the individual shows on Netflix next year might end up a little confused when they get to the crossover, but Kreisberg believes that “people are pretty savvy when it comes to how they’re watching television.” The executive producer went on to discuss the CW and audiences:
“It just feels like the technology is changing so rapidly, and yet, this is one instance where I feel like people really are keeping up with it…I think our shows are blessed in the sense that I don’t think these shows have a lot of what I would call ‘casual viewers.’ I’m sure there are people who just like Arrow, and just like Flash, and just like Legends or maybe they like two of them but don’t watch all three of them… but it feels like, especially this week, with the amazing promotion that The CW has been providing, and getting us the cover of Entertainment Weekly and all of the ad support, and all of [the press] writing about it, that people, if they only watch Arrow and Legends, for example, people will take the time to find the Flash episode, because they understand it’s a cohesive story,”
What’s coming up? “There’s a villain coming up who’s another one of the husk villains that was created by Alchemy, so there’s that to deal with,” Andrew said about what’s happening in the show’s future. The midseason finale, “The Present” airing December 6, creates a new problem for the heroes that they weren’t facing, and it’s something they haven’t faced before. “It’s so big, we’re actually considering changing the saga sell from talking about Flashpoint to talking about that, because that’s really what’s driving the episodes for the rest of the season, actually,” Kreisberg teased.
As for H.R. (Tom Cavanagh) training Wally? “It will not go well,” Andrew laughed. “But what I love about this version of Wells, and he’s said it himself before but we actually show it rather than just tell it, [is that] he is a genius in his own way. He’s not a mathematical genius and he’s not a physics genius the way the other Wells were. But he has the capacity to see it in other people, and he has the capacity to see other people’s talent and how to mine it and how to grow it. He sees that in Wally,” he explained.
Finally, Kreisberg took a moment to discuss Wally’s place in this season and his relationship with Wells, saying:
“Like he says in an upcoming episode, there’s nothing in it for him to help Wally but he sees that Wally is special and that’s where he can shine, in helping other people discover their own value and helping other people develop their own gifts…It’s an interesting relationship because a version of Wells was so important to Barry in season one, and a version of Wells was so important to Cisco in season two, and then this year it’s Wally who gets this version of Wells. On the face of it, he may not be the world’s greatest teacher; and yet every episode we find that moment for him to drop this wisdom bomb on everybody else that shocks them. I’s kind of why they let him stay around when he’s not providing any actual true value to the team. He really does have this value in keeping the team together.”
The Flash airs Tuesday nights on The CW.