barry the flash

When The Flash returns to The CW for Season 4, the titular hero won't be keeping Central City safe like he used to, since Barry will be living that Speed Force life. And it sounds like the Scarlet Speedster will go through a bit of an adjustment phase once he makes his not-so-swift escape. Star Grant Gustin spoke with CinemaBlend and other outlets during San Diego Comic-Con, and here's what he told us to expect from Barry in Season 4.

Barry, when he comes out, won't be himself initially, because of how insane this experience is. This Speed Force experience isn't like the past where we've seen him in the Speed Force. We've seen the Speed Force embody other people in his life and teach him whatever lesson they think that he needs to learn at that point. This time, I think he's kind of been left on his own and he's been experiencing a non-linear timeline of his life over and over again from start to end, in really no particular order. So I think when he comes out, he's kind of jumbled and messed up initially, but once we get past that, I think he's had this sense of awakening and understanding. He's been able to let go of a lot of the loss in his life, and forgive himself for a lot of the mistakes he made last year that sent the whole team down the road they went down.

That's extremely interesting for quite a few reasons. One, we know (somewhat) what Barry is going through while stuck inside the Speed Force. Though other speedsters were doomed to specifically face their worst memories inside the metaphysical prison, Barry apparently went through a more time-intensive struggle while inside, taking on the entirety of his timeline-twisting existence. It probably won't be a very fun experience to relive everything that happened with Nora and Henry Allen, considering he was to blame for how some of those malfunctions played out. But if it helps him to shed some of his melancholy baggage, so be it.

When he finally does make it outside the Speed Force in Season 4, Barry will have been missing from Earth-1 for about six months, and we all know just how much madness can happen in half a year, from pop culture to world news to Central City's metahuman population. It would be a jolt for anyone to experience, and even the fastest man on the planet will have to work to wrap his brain around things.

After all, not even Team Flash will be the same as Barry left it at the end of Season 3. When he steps out of the Speed Force, he'll see a squad that has embraced Iris as its new leader, despite her lack of superpowers, with Earth-2's Harry and Jesse around to assist Kid Flash, Cisco and Joe. (No more Julian, apparently, and we're still not sure what's up with Caitlin/Killer Frost.) Here's what Grant Gustin told us to expect from Barry, as far as his reactions to everything, especially Iris' expanded role.

I think it's a more mature Barry than what we've seen, so I think he's will to kind of work with whatever has happened. He doesn't know what the dynamics are initially when he gets back, so the first couple of episodes, you see him put his foot in his mouth a couple of times. But that's Barry Allen. . . . Barry, whenever he needs it, he gets the inspiration from Iris at the helm, in the Cortex, speaking into the microphone, giving him while he's out in the field. When he's needed it, that's what's lifted him up in the past, and it's only a good thing for Barry to have Iris in that position.

While everyone in Team Flash will obviously be affected by Barry's absence, it's hard to argue that Iris is the biggest victim-of-sorts. Their impending nuptials were first impacted by what was supposed to be her death, and then right after she survived that fate, she watched her lover sacrifice himself for the greater good. But while there was probably much mourning for her to do, Iris could very easily have taken steps to emotionally move on in a post-Barry world. How will his return play into all that? We'll be watching to see.

With possibly more version of Harrison Wells left to be introduced, The Flash will return to The CW for Season 4 on Tuesday, October 10, at 8:00 p.m. ET. To see when everything else is hitting the small screen in the coming months, check out our summer premiere schedule and our fall premiere schedule.

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