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Although they're based on existing properties, the Arrow-verse shows have carved out their own identities over the last few years. Specifically, Grant Gustin's Barry Allen shares similarities with his comic book counterpart, but his arc has remained notably distinct for the last three seasons. However, that all seems poised to change, as The Flash executive producer Andrew Kreisberg recently revealed that Barry's time in the Speed Force will bring him much closer to the comic book Barry. Kreisberg said:
It's not in the titles, but every one of these shows --- whether it's Supergirl or Arrow or Flash --- it really is like Begins; it's really Arrow Begins, and Flash Begins, and Supergirl Begins. Now it's season 4 and he's really become The Flash in the comic books, the one who really is in full mastery of his skills and has the emotional maturity that he has in the comics.
Out of everything that has happened to Barry Allen ever since his initial debut in Season 2 of Arrow, this arguably feels like one of the biggest steps forward for his character. Barry's youth and inexperience have played pivotal roles in his characterization over the course of his tenure in the Arrow-verse (one of Oliver Queen's first comments to him was "do your parents know you're here") but now The Flash is moving beyond that. In a move that makes the TV Barry far more similar to the comic book Barry, he will be far more lighthearted, stable in his relationship with Iris, and proficient in the use of his abilities -- rather than constantly relying on some version of Harrison Wells to talk him through his powers. Seriously, they should charge stress-relieving weekend getaways in the Speed Force.
This change also seems somewhat notable in the way that it relates to other versions of Barry Allen. Specifically, the version of the character played by Ezra Miller in the upcoming Justice League film seems similar to Grant Gustin's first portrayal of the speedy hero in the sense that he's not particularly experienced or skilled at super heroics. By shifting Gustin's version of the character to feel more mature, talented, and proficient at his job, it helps create a better sense of distinction between the two Flashes.
Looking to the other Arrow-verse shows mentioned in Andrew Kreisberg's comments to EW, it seems that this mentality is really going to permeate the small screen DC landscape this year. In previous years, all of these shows have featured storylines revolving around their titular character learning to become better heroes. Now, Arrow (which will feel like a totally rebooted show this year) and Supergirl will finally see all of them come into their own and truly act like their comic book counterparts. No more (or at least, less) learning curves required.
The Flash will return to The CW for its fourth season on Tuesday, October 10 at 8 p.m. ET -- directly before Legends of Tomorrow returns for Season 3 at 9 p.m. ET. As for the rest of the Arrow-verse, Supergirl will return to The CW for its third season on Monday, October 9 at 8 p.m. ET, and Arrow will round out the pack with its Season 6 premiere on Wednesday, October 12 at 9 p.m. ET. Beyond the small screen DC series, check out our fall TV premiere guide for more up-to-date information on the rest of the shows debuting this season!