Back in February it was revealed that the upcoming Flash television series had done a bit of fan-friendly casting. The show officially announced that John Wesley Shipp - the actor who played Barry Allen in the Flash television series that ran in the 90s - had joined on the Arrow spin-off series in a mystery role. We've spent months speculating about the identity of the character Shipp would play, and today it's finally been announced: he will be playing Barry Allen's father.
In an official statement about the character reveal - printed by The Hollywood Reporter - executive producer Greg Berlanti said,
"Given his history with The Flash, Andrew [Kreisberg], Geoff [Johns] and I could only think of one person we wanted to play Barry's father and that was John Wesley Shipp. He gives a fantastic and emotional performance in the pilot and we are looking forward to his presence in many more episodes."
Those of you who paid close attention to Barry Allen's backstory when it was revealed in an episode of Arrow last season already know that the character's father plays a very significant role in the young hero's life and motivation. While Barry's mother was killed by what a child-aged Barry perceived to be a red and yellow blur of light, it was his father who ended up being arrested and convicted for the crime. Knowing that his father is innocent, Barry has spent his entire life looking into cases of the supernatural hoping to find the answers that could one day free his dad. It doesn't seem like Shipp will actually be playing a huge role in the series due to the fact that he will be behind bars for most of it, but it sounds like there are plans to have him pop up multiple times during the first season.
While the casting of John Wesley Shipp as Barry Allen's father makes a ton of sense, I must admit that I am kind of disappointed that he didn't end up playing another rumored character. Following the original casting announcement it was suggested by some that the veteran actor would be playing Jay Garrick, also known as The Flash from an alternate timeline. This would have not only been a fun nod to the fact that Shipp previously played Flash, but would also have potentially opened up the door to a whole bunch of awesome science-fiction opportunities. It probably would have been very difficult to include this kind of element to the storytelling, but that didn't stop me from having my finger's crossed.
Aswe learned earlier this month, Flash is scheduled to debut on Tuesday nights at 8:00pm on The CW this fall (no exact date has been nailed down). Are you excited yet?