After meeting and greeting The Flash fans at a Dragon Con 2015 panel, star Candice Patton took some time out of her busy schedule to visit with our small group of journalists. The hit CW superhero show returns this fall for its sophomore season, and Patton’s character Iris West will find herself much closer to the center of all the comic-book craziness.
Since Iris is now a de facto member of S.T.A.R. Labs and is privy to the title character’s secret identity, viewers can expect her to be much more involved with the show’s episodic plots in season two. It seems like Iris will be quite busy this year, since Patton commented on drama within the West family thanks to new characters making waves, plus new relationships with male and female co-workers alike, and a new role for Iris in addition to her reporter duties. On a more personal note, Patton also addressed the good and bad sides to being a strong role model for young Black girls in the Internet age. See what she had to say below.
The West Family will see quite the emotional arc in Season 2 of The Flash. Here’s what Patton was able to tease about that:
Mama West has been absent from Iris’ life for a very long time. She’s been told one thing but comes to find out that it’s the opposite, that it’s not true, that her mother has been gone for a very different reason, and that comes as a shock to Iris. She has to struggle through that.
Regarding a rumor that Iris will act as a wrangler of the S.T.A.R. Labs team, Patton calls it a semi-truth:
She’s not the new Wells of S.T.A.R. Labs. Basically the idea is that Iris is one of the few people who can really talk to Barry and rally him when he needs to be rallied. At one point very early on in Season 2, she needs to do that with Barry and get S.T.A.R. Labs back together and back on their footing after this whole singularity happens. They’re all shaken up and I think a lot of them are at the point of walking away. Iris is the one who tells them that they’re a team and they have to fight to save the city. So that’s kind of her role, in terms of being a leader in that sense. Iris is an iconic reporter and journalist; that’s how we know her from the comic books. I think that’s her role in Season 2, and we’ll see her step into that more.
While Iris’ new position on the S.T.A.R. Labs team gives her access to all sorts of secrets, superheroic and otherwise, Patton was cagey about how that conflict with her journalistic integrity will play out in this season. She did, however, comment on an occasion in which Iris gets to save the day:
There are several that I’ve shot already, which is cool. Iris, even in Season 1 we saw her as tough and kind of a badass, and the more we can see of that – she took down the Clock King, she knocked out Peek-a-Boo with a wrench – there’s more of that happening in Season 2. I will tell you, there’s one scene where she ends up jumping out of a building window, so there’s a lot of cool, fun, kickass stuff for her.
Iris was dealt one of the show’s more devastating emotional blows with the loss of Eddie Thawne, so Patton reveals just how Iris will deal with that in Season 2:
Obviously she’s devastated that she lost Eddie. She loved him, and she loved him to the last moment. I think we saw that when she was holding onto his body. We pick up Season 2 … I mean, there’s flashbacks to the singularity, but we pick up six months later, so she’s had time to grieve. Obviously you don’t get over someone that you love in six months, but it’s not something that we see Iris deal with every day, the loss of Eddie. So she’s at a place, when we pick up, where she’s sort of putting her life back together and trying to move forward.
In terms of her relationship with Barry and how that will evolve, I think we all know that Patty Spivot is coming on, so there’s a relationship going on there. As far as Iris, I don’t know if she’ll have a new love interest this season. I’m assuming that will happen, I hope that happens, that’s always fun. Barry and Iris, it’s one of those things: “Will they, won’t they?” We’re hoping to have six, seven seasons, so I think it might take a while. Who knows?
Sorry, West-Allen fans, but it sounds like you’ll be waiting a few years before you see the relationship that was teased in the show’s future timeline realized. Speaking of the fandom, Patton addressed some of the negativity on social media and how she responds to it:
That’s tricky. This is my first big show, and it’s also a show that has a huge social media following, and with that comes a lot of polarizing opinions. When you choose to be on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram, I’m fully aware that I’m going to be bombarded with love, hate, somewhere in between. It can be quite frustrating, and to be honest it was very frustrating in the beginning, to feel like people didn’t understand the character, or were not rooting for her character, or whatever. I’m sure all of us have felt this way, all of us as actors and our characters.
And then, time goes on and you sort of stop giving a crap. I don’t care if you don’t like my character; I care about doing a good job. I don’t write the show, so all I can do is do the best with what’s written, and that’s what I show up to work and do. It’s the same with any character. Villains aren’t loved all the time, but no one cares. You do what’s written and you do the best you can with that. I know the fandom, any fandom on TV, there’s a sense of divisiveness, and that’s frustrating. I don’t control that, unfortunately. It’s hard, because you want people to be attached to your show and attached to your characters and love them, but there’s this thing with the Internet where you can socially bully and use your favorite TV show to do that, and that’s unfortunate.
I don’t really know how to answer the question because I’m still learning to deal with it. My way of dealing with it is to not deal with it, often. I try to come from a place of positivity. Just in general with the Internet, that’s how I’ve always used it before I was famous. I don’t say anything negative; there’s no reason to do that, I think. I wish that more fans would have that attitude.
Patton also commented on the flipside of her success with Iris West: serving as a role model to young people:
If people are inspired, I think that’s great. I’ve been inspired by so many actors, musicians, talents that have come before me, and the fact that anyone could see me as inspiring is only my way of giving back. I’ve only learned those things from other women that I’ve watched my entire life. and my mother. It means a lot to me. This is why I do conventions, to meet the fans who are inspired. It’s great seeing a young Black girl come up to me, so excited that I’m Iris West. I tweeted something months ago, some young girl said, “Iris West looks like me. We’re beautiful!” That’s powerful! The media is very powerful, and whether Geoff Johns, and Andrew Kreisberg, and Greg Berlanti know this or not, casting me has made a huge difference in a lot of people’s lives, and that’s important. The media is very important. TV shows are very important. Iris West being Black is very important. And that matters to me. It’s not something that I take lightly. It’s not something that I’m unaware of. I wear that badge proudly.
Back to the characters and their relationships on the show itself, Patton revealed how Iris and Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) cross paths, Iris’ relationship with Linda Park, and just what Iris and Caitlin Snow have in common:
I don’t have that close of a relationship with him. I see him often in S.T.A.R. Labs when I’m there. It’s more of a working relationship.
[On Caitlin Snow] I think it’s hard when you only have two female characters on the show. We’re remedying that with a lot of female characters. Patty, Linda Park (Malese Jow) is coming back. As far as Iris’ relationship with Caitlin, I don’t know that it’s that in depth yet. One thing they do share in common is that … I caught myself before saying something. [laughs] I do know that there will be more female relationships. Iris West and Linda Park do have a relationship that will be prevalent in Season 2 which I’m excited about. They work together and they’re both very strong-willed women, and they support each other, and I think that’s a great message for people to see.
Another new introduction to the show is Wally West, but Patton says she’s not sure how that’s all going to work just yet:
I don’t know. There are no scripts out about that. He’s not even on our show yet. He doesn’t start shooting until October. I screen-tested with him in May. I know the relationship that we have, and that’s really all I know. I don’t know how he’ll be brought on, when and where he’ll have his powers, any of that, I know nothing. [When asked if Wally West will also be gay, as he is in the current iteration of the DC Comics] I don’t know if his sexuality has been determined or not. I’m sure it’s something that’s being discussed, I just don’t know which way they’ll go with that yet.
Since many of the DC TV Universe characters can seemingly freely cross-over onto each other’s shows, fans may be wondering if Iris West will make an appearance in Arrow or Legends of Tomorrow:
Not that I’m aware of. There are cross-overs that will be happening in Season 2, we’ve got Legends on the air coming up, with Arrow and Flash; it’s a nice little tornado that happened. But as far as my character, I haven’t heard anything about that. I would die to do that. I think it’d be great to see Iris maybe go report in Starling City or something like that, but I know nothing about that. We’ll see, you never know!
Speaking of Iris West possibly reporting from Starling City, a reporter wondered if Iris would ever be clued into the secret identity of the Arrow, to which Patton replied, “I don’t know, but that would make for an interesting story.” That sure sounds like a plot point that might just makes its way into Season 2 at some point, even though she says there are no plans for it. A related story that Patton would like to see involves Iris wrestling with the decision of whether or not to reveal The Flash’s identity.
And much like the comic books, characters who die rarely stay dead. Patton is aware of the possibility that Eddie Thawne may not be permanently dead, and seemed frustrated by not being able to share more with the group. She also admits that the writers and producers only reveal as much to the cast as they think they can handle, knowing that slip-ups do tend to happen. Suffice it to say that season two of The Flash has plenty of material to work with, and I for one am excited to see just how quickly some of these mysteries are resolved with the hit show returns this fall.
Season 2 of The Flash returns starting Tuesday, October 6th at 8pm on The CW.