On The CW series The Flash, Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) is becoming more comfortable and more confident in his Kid Flash powers, at the same time that both Iris (Candice Patton) and Joe (Jesse L. Martin) are being threatened by a criminal meta-human who is methodically killing people by causing them to decompose at an accelerated rate. And while The Flash mentors Kid Flash and elevates the newer speedster’s training to another level, Wally must also come to terms with the fact that he might not be able to save everyone, every time.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview on Collider, actor Keiynan Lonsdale talked about his reaction when he found out that he was officially becoming Kid Flash, when being in the superhero suit comes in handy, just how rough Kid Flash’s training will be, the challenge and pressure that comes with saving his own family, learning what it means to be a superhero, The Flash/Supergirl musical cross-over episode, and teaming up with Jesse Quick (Violett Beane) again. He also talked about reuniting with his former castmates for the Dance Academy movie, which is set for Australian release on April 6th.
Collider: When you signed on to join the show, everybody, including you, knew that we’d most likely eventually get to see Wally as Kid Flash, at some point. When did you first find out that it was actually happening, and how did you react to that?
KEIYNAN LONSDALE: The first time I received the first clue was Flashpoint, and I found out about that just a few weeks before starting filming. I was back in Australia and I read the script and was so excited. I didn’t expect for that to happen so soon. And then, when Wally got his powers from the stone and Kid Flash became and official thing with an outfit and was legit, I was as excited as Wally was. It’s been cool. He has to work on the powers now, but I’m having a lot of fun.
How did it feel the first time you put on and saw yourself in the superhero suit, and does it ever get old, especially on really long days, or is it always just a ridiculously awesome day at work, no matter what?
LONSDALE: It’s interesting. There are different layers to the suit and it’s kind of tight. When we’re inside, the suit can be really hot and I’m like, “I’m sweating!” But when we’re outside in the cold, the snow and the rain, it’s very comfortable. Everyone else will be uncomfortable and freezing, but I feel great. That’s always quite helpful. So, if I’m going to be outside at 2am, I’m glad if I can be in the suit. It’s a crazy thing. I rarely get to see myself in the mirror while I have it on because I need help putting it together. I usually just see it when I watch the show, which is funny. But, it feels awesome and it lifts you up. It’s just a crazy, surreal moment, for sure.
On the last episode, Barry told Wally that he’s going to be the one who has to save Iris. How does Wally feel about that? Is he up for the challenge, or is it a lot of pressure for him?
LONSDALE: It’s both. He’s up for the challenge, definitely, but it is a lot of pressure, and he understands that. He’s excited about the fact that he gets to train and immerse himself fully into being a speedster. He’s not just training to be in the background, but to be pushed, and he’s looking forward to that. He’s probably masking the fear with his ego, but that’s what Wally does, and that’s what most people do.
Now that Barry is determined to train Wally to be able to succeed in saving Iris when he knows that he can’t, just how hard will the training get, and will we see Wally get better at being a speedster than Barry is?
LONSDALE: That’s a tough question. The training is gonna be rough and it’s gonna be painful. Wally is gonna learn, very quickly, that it’s about more than just speed. Whether it’s in the training or in battle, it’s not just to do with being really fast. There’s strategy involved. You need experience in keeping your guard up, all the time. These are the things that Barry has learned, over a long period of time and through wins and losses, and Wally hasn’t really had any of those. These are all things that he needs to understand, if he’s going to save Iris.
Does it feel like Wally is really finding his groove and place as Kid Flash, or is that still and will that always be evolving for him?
LONSDALE: He’s finding his groove, for sure. He feels very comfortable being Kid Flash and he’s very confident in being Kid Flash. He has fans, and he’s lapping that up. Of course, it will always be evolving. What it means to be a hero, for him, will always be evolving, just as it does with Barry. But, Wally has never felt more himself.
Do you think actually getting to save his own family is the ultimate in being a hero for him?
LONSDALE: He wouldn’t wish it on anyone to have to do that. But knowing that people are trusting and believing in him to do something so important gives him a boost, and I think that would really make him feel like he belongs.
What can you say about this next episode and what it will be like for him to go up a really scary meta-human who threatens Iris’ life?
LONSDALE: It’s frightening for him. Wally is going to have to deal with what Barry has felt, in the past, about sometimes not being fast enough. That’s really going to shake him. Along with all of that, he doesn’t have his mom around, and that was all he had. It took some months for him to call Iris, Joe and Barry family, but now that he has, Wally is very loyal and very protective. He will take it to heart, if he lets anyone down. It’s gonna be interesting and tough.
This is really the first time that Wally has to come face to face with the fact that powers won’t necessarily help you save everyone or do everything you want to do?
LONSDALE: Exactly, 100%. He’s wanted to help out for so long, and the grass is always greener. In a lot of ways, it has resolved his issues with self-doubt and he feels like he’s become more himself with powers. So, when you strip the light, bright and colorful layers away from that, it gives him a reality check and a different perspective.
How much fun has is it to get to be a part of a show where you even get to do a The Flash/Supergirl musical cross-over? Please tell me that you’ll at least get a dance number in the Kid Flash suit!
LONSDALE: The thought is always there! I’m like, “I should sneak in a couple moves here!” It’s really cool. I love the fact that there are endless possibilities with our show, and that there are endless ways to actually have it make sense with the story. That’s really cool. That’s what you get when you have guys in red and yellow leather, running around. We can do a lot of cool things. It’s fun! It keeps work exciting, even to have new people around. It just always keeps the vibe up.
We also know that Kid Flash will be teaming up with Jesse Quick again, in the upcoming Grodd episode. What can we expect from them teaming up, especially now that Wally has a better grasp of his powers?
LONSDALE: Last time we saw them, the dynamic was different. They were in a great place. Wally had to accept that Jesse has powers and he doesn’t, and that’s okay. Now, it’s really exciting to share something with her. It feels a little more equal between them. They’ll have to team up and deal with their own issues. While dealing with their relationship issues, they’ll have to deal with a meta-human while The Flash is gone in Gorilla City. There’s pressure and responsibility that falls on them, and I think that will be an interesting watch.
Is it also cool to go back for the Dance Academy movie, where a lot of people, especially in America first became aware of you? Was it fun to return to that role and work with that cast again?
LONSDALE: One hundred percent! Those guys are like my best friends. We had known that the movie was in the works, but we had finished the TV show so long ago and we were all getting older, so we were like, “This is never gonna happen!” But the show kept getting more and more popular, over time, after we finished, and they were like, “Okay, we’re ready to do this movie. It’s happening!” We were just so happy. It felt surreal that we got to work together again. We were all at each other’s houses, every night after work. It’s a big family. It was great! And to dance again was incredible, but super painful.
The Flash airs on Tuesday nights on The CW.