Barry Allen (Gustin) made yet another sacrifice in the season 3 finale of The Flash, sending himself into the Speed Force to keep the mysterious phenomenon from tearing apart Central City and passing the mantle of The Flash on to Wally (Lonsdale). Executive producer Todd Helbing dishes on the circumstances of Barry’s return and how Team Flash operates in his absence.
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Rotten Tomatoes: How much time has passed when we catch up with Team Flash in the premiere?
Todd Helbing: When we start season 4, it’s six months later, so Barry’s been gone for six months now and the team has been adjusting as much as they can. Iris has stepped up, she’s the team leader. Cisco and Wally are out as Kid Flash and Vibe, taking down all the metahumans or the humans or just the everyday Central City robberies that happen. They’re protecting the Central City Bank that gets robbed like every other month, and they’ve been working with Joe and CCPD. So it’s nice, this new dynamic, but when Barry eventually does come back, there’s a lot of adjustments that happen.
How long until we find out about this year’s big bad?
Along with all the other shifts that we made this year, we’re pretty into just not necessarily showing all of our hands, but you know pretty quickly we’re not hiding as much as we have in the past.
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How is Iris as a leader in Barry’s absence, especially after being a victim all last season?
Last year from episode 9 on, she was in this defensive position and not only did that become problematic story-wise and how to keep up that tension for 13 episodes, but I think as a character, it was hard for Candice to play that. So we really wanted to do a nice shift. We wanted to do a lot of shifts on this show, but to make her more proactive this year and from what we’ve seen with Candice, she really shines like she never has before. It’s fantastic to see her in this authority position. So having her as the team leader and driving these missions, it’s been a lot of fun. She’s a phenomenal actress and I think what we’re giving her this year, she’s really taking it and redefining her role. It’s great.
This season’s big bad is The Thinker. There’s mind control involved with this guy, yes?
Like always, we take the villains and put them through our Flash television blender. It’s not that we fully reimagine every single one of these guys or girls, but we certainly give them powers that we think fit better organically in our show. So we’ve done the same thing with DeVoe here. It’s not so much mind control as it is just he is the ultimate chess master. There’s some metahuman capabilities on top of his thinking capacity, but I can’t spoil it for you.
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At the end of last season Iris was ready to marry Barry and then Barry went and sacrificed himself again. But we’re still seeing a wedding, right?
When he comes back, he has to make up for that time that he was gone and emotionally they have to get back to where they were, so that’s going to take some time. There’s the path for these two that we’ve been building since season one. The relationship is going to eventually take the next step.
At the end of last season, Caitlin was still figuring out how to embrace her meta powers and she declined the cure. What is her journey going to be at the beginning of this season? Is she still learning to embrace the Frost?
Well, much like everybody else on the team, she had her own journey that happened in those six months, so when we see her come back to the team, she has a lot of explaining to them to do to show why and how she is Caitlin Snow.
Which version of Wells will we see this season?
It’s Harry. You’ll see Harry quite a bit, but it’s not exactly the same Harry. I’ll just say you’re going to see different versions of him as well.
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How are Wally as The Flash and Cisco as Vibe fighting the metas in Barry’s absence?
Everybody has taken a step forward to collectively fill Barry’s shoes when he’s gone, so Vibe is out there in the field a lot more than he was previously. Over the last couple seasons, he’s been hesitant to go out in the field, but when you see him, he’s not so hesitant anymore. It’s also nice with Wally because he’s not just the only speedster. He’s the leader of the superhero contingent, I would say, with Team Flash.