The Flash is going in a brand new direction with the big bad of Season 4, as the Thinker is Barry's first non-speedster supervillain. Instead, he's a bad guy who relies on brainpower to outthink his opponents, and he so far has dominated Team Flash. The Thinker is also the first supervillain on The Flash to be introduced early in the season. Executive producer Andrew Kreisberg revealed at a press screening attended by CinemaBlend that the Thinker made an early debut for a big reason, saying this:
In Season 3, the reveal that the man beneath the Savitar armor was none other than a future version of Barry didn't come until Episode 20, at which point many fans had already speculated that Savitar was future Barry, and there were only a few episodes left for Team Flash to deal with the bombshell. While the Savitar twist still worked well in some big ways, not everybody was happy, and Andrew Kreisberg apparently believed that the time had come to try something new with the Flash big bad.
We've actually known since back in Season 3 that Clifford DeVoe would probably be the supervillain of Season 4 thanks to some hints dropped by folks with knowledge of the future, and he made his creepy debut on screen in the season premiere when it was revealed that he sent the samuroid after Barry. We now know that he had a hand in creating brand new metahumans out of the energy released by Barry's escape from the Speed Force, and the latest episode even saw newbie Elongated Man name-drop him as a client. Thanks to Elongated Man, Team Flash now knows that somebody by the name of DeVoe is actively pulling strings in Central City. The Flash isn't drawing the conflict out in Season 4.
Of course, the latest episode revealing DeVoe as an active antagonist so early was a bold move, and folks behind the scenes weren't entirely confident in the decision. Andrew Kreisberg went on to explain the reaction to the decision to name drop Devoe in only the fourth episode:
All things considered, it sounds like we have a lot to look forward to on the Thinker front in the coming weeks. The action with the supervillain will likely take a backseat in a few weeks once the massive four-show crossover gets into gear with a different batch of villains, but the quick pace may mean that we'll see a confrontation between Team Flash and the Thinker even before the crossover kicks off. We'll have to wait and see.
Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.
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