The Flash follows the adventures of a young man with superspeed, and it made sense that his first two nemeses were also speedsters. Barry's early days as the Flash needed to explore his abilities with the Speed Force, and speedster bad guys were solid ways to show just what people with superspeed could do. The news that Season 3 would feature yet another villainous speedster came as something of a surprise, because how many new ways could there be for Barry to run really fast and save the day from others with his abilities? Flash executive producer Todd Helbing had this to say about what will make new speedster Savitar different from those who came before:
Savitar is more of a psychological villain in a weird way. I think the Hindu word for Savitar means God of Speed; he's all about speed. Everything about this guy is different. I can't go into super detail, but he's not like Zoom or Reverse-Flash.
Todd Helbing revealed the psychological side of Savitar in a chat with IGN. His explicit assurance that the new bad guy will be different from Zoom and Reverse-Flash is rather promising, considering the potential for the villainy of Season 3 to become a repeat of Seasons 1 or 2. Zoom in Season 2 was different enough from Reverse-Flash in Season 1 that the speedster vs. speedster showdowns weren't exactly the same, but there are only so many ways for two runners to chase each other before the premise gets old. The Flash crew taking steps to separate Savitar from Zoom and Reverse-Flash may mean that we get our best bad guy to date. Zipping back and forth to save the day could be much more interesting if Savitar is psyching Barry out in some way or other while they race.
Of course, even if Savitar's lines were going to be copied and pasted from Zoom or Reverse-Flash, his dynamic with Barry was bound to be different from his predecessors. Unlike Zoom and Reverse-Flash, Savitar will be sharing the spotlight as the biggest threat to the good guys in Season 3. Classic Flash comic villain Dr. Alchemy is on board to vex Barry and Co. as well. According to Todd Helbing, the two evildoers will do more than just split Barry's focus. Helbing said this about how dual nemeses for Barry should raise the stakes:
I'll just say that Dr. Alchemy plan and Savitar's plan are not much different.
Personally, I've been curious about how Season 3 would handle two big bads in one season. Speedster Savitar and Dr. Alchemy don't have a ton in common, so it seemed possible that they would just share custody of Barry and take turns giving him trouble. The prospect of them teaming up over similar goals could create a very formidable twosome to fight the Flash. I've gotten tired of all the speedster vs. speedster action when there are so many other DC villains who could show up on The Flash, but making it a mental battle as well as a physical one could be a way to give Barry another speedy supervillain without retreading old ground.
The Flash returns to The CW on Tuesday, October 4 at 8 p.m. ET. Check out our fall TV premiere schedule to see what else you'll be able to watch on the small screen in the near future, and don't forget to take a look at our breakdown of what we know so far about The Flash Season 3.