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Warning: MAJOR spoilers ahead for The Flash. Don't read any further if you aren't up to date on Barry Allen's latest exploits.
Barry Allen can never catch a break, can he? First, he had to contend with betrayal by Harrison "I'm actually Eobard Thawne" Wells, then he had to fight off the insane Hunter Zolomon (who was masquerading as Jay Garrick), and now he has to face off against his toughest enemy to date: himself. The reveal of another Barry Allen underneath Savitar's mask served as a great storytelling twist to usher in the climax for The Flash Season 3, and now it seems fairly clear the "Future Flash" is the real mastermind behind all of this season's chaos. Or does it?
Something about this week's Savitar reveal still doesn't sit too well with us. While it's entirely possible that the real foe of this season is a version of Barry Allen from the future, The Flash isn't a show that usually dishes out single-layered twists, and there are a few other explanations that need to be acknowledged. With that in mind, we have put together a list of theories for who Savitar actually is, and how he came into existence in the first place. We have several options to get to, so let's kick this list off with the event that started this whole mess in the first place: Flashpoint.
It's The Original Flashpoint Barry
The mechanics of time travel are consistently shaky in most fictional universes, but The Flash takes it to a whole new level week after week. Season 3 of the Scarlet Speedster's solo series has gradually moved away from the timeline-altering Flashpoint as a major plot point (particularly since the introduction of Savitar), but making the God of Speed a displaced version of Barry from Flashpoint makes plenty of sense. Barry's decision to essentially steal the Flashpoint timeline for himself was an inherently selfish endeavor, and the erasure of that timeline from existence (when he freed Eobard Thawne) could've easily led to an angry and bitter version of himself. Beyond that, going this route seems like great way to tie the entire narrative of the season together to remind Barry of the ramifications of his initial decision to save Nora Allen at the end of Season 2.
It's A Time Remnant
During Barry's trip to 2024 to get more information about his battle with Savitar, the future version of himself revealed that he desperately created many time remnants of himself in order to face off against the God of Speed. What if one of these time remnants evaded all time wraiths and survived the encounter with Savitar, only to become warped (and apparently burned) by the experience, causing him to turn into Savitar in the end? This is known as a Causal Loop in the time travel genre, and it implies that an attempt to change a future event actually causes the event to occur. Arguably the most iconic example of a Causal Loop in science fiction is The Terminator franchise (in which Skynet actually creates itself when it sends the T-800 back to 1984), and that franchise has already been referenced by the members of Team Flash in an effort to explain their situation.
It's Barry From An Alternate Earth
The introduction of the multiverse has quite literally opened up infinite possibilities for storytelling within the Arrow-verse. We have already seen that different versions of Barry Allen from various versions of Earth come in wildly different varieties. Given the prevalence of interdimensional travel in the series over the last few years, it does not seem particularly hard to believe that this evil version of Barry is not actually from the future -- he is from another Earth entirely. Earth-1 Barry has already encountered a version of himself from 2024 who never managed to recover from the death of Iris. With that in mind, considering the happy(ish) ending to Barry's trip to the future, it's not exactly insane to think that Savitar might not be from the future of Earth-1, and is instead from the future of an entirely different Earth.
It's Not Barry At All
Of course, we had to include this option. By now it has become very clear that things are often not what they seem on The Flash, and it seems entirely possible that we're due for yet another fakeout before the end of the season. H.R. Wells has already shown that he has a piece of technology that allows him to change his face and disguise his identity (which is useful when your doppelganger is a known murderer on Earth-1), so we need to acknowledge the fact that we may be in for one more surprise by the time the season comes to an end. Savitar's advantage is that he lived through the events of this season with Team Flash, but that doesn't mean that it necessarily has to be Barry. It could be H.R., it could be Cisco, it could be Julian, or it could even be Joe.
What do you think of The Flash's Savitar reveal? Is it really future Barry, or is it something else entirely? Let us know what you think in the comments section below. The Flash airs every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. EST on The CW.