The Flash's Cicada: What We Know About The Season 5 Villain

The Flash always likes to keep its viewers guessing about what's going with Central City's biggest and weirdest threats, and Season 4 jacked that concept up a notch with The Thinker's one-step-ahead schemes. It was revealed at San Diego Comic-Con that for Season 5, Barry & Co. will be facing Cicada, the show's second non-speedster big bad. And given what we know about him from the comics, Team Flash might just be in for the deadliest foe yet. Let's take a closer look at Cicada to see what we can unravel going into the new season.

the flash cicada comic

Who Is Cicada In The Flash Comics?

Created in 2001 by Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins, the soon-to-be paranoid and disturbed David Hersch was born in 1890, and was later responsible for murdering his wife Elizabeth during a thunderstorm. In trying to end his own life, the Keystone City native was struck by a bolt of lightning, which presented him with a vision of his own immortality, as well as the foreknowledge that his wife would be resurrected one day. Upon finding that he now had the ability to sap others' life energy as a way of extending his own survival, David later took on the name Cicada and started gaining followers for his wife-reviving cause. Naturally, they were dubbed the Cicada cult.

Cicada believed that the lightning bolt that created The Flash (Wally West) was connected to the one that led to his own metahuman abilities, but inevitably, his connection with the Scarlet Speedster was not one of love and partnership. Cicada and his cult began targeting people that The Flash had saved over the years, with his weapon of choice being a dagger shaped like a lightning bolt. With The Flash's own energy combined with the other victims', Cicada did manage to resurrect his wife, though his longterm goal was for naught, as he ended up killing her again after it was clear she retained the knowledge of her murder. Following this origin arc, Cicada was imprisoned a few times, and also joined up with the Secret Society of Super-Villains for a spell, but I'd think The Flash TV show will focus more on David Hersch's early days as the ruthless villain.

cicada lightning bolt the flash

What Can We Expect From The TV Show's Cicada?

To be expected, The Flash's cast and creative team are having to play things close to the vest where info about big villains is concerned, especially since Cicada was just revealed at Comic-Con. But here's the first official description for the "next scourge of Central City."

A grizzled, blue-collar everyman whose family has been torn apart by metahumans, Cicada now seeks to exterminate the epidemic --- one metahuman at a time.

The blue-collar everyman bit sounds like the comic version, who was originally a preacher and an architect. Interestingly, though, the show's big announcement did not mention what Cicada's real name is, so it stands to reason that his alter ego might be important and recognizable to fans of the show and comics. After all, The Thinker was announced as Clifford DeVoe, while Savitar and Zoom didn't have alter egos attached to their initial reveals. And both of those ended up being huge twists, however expected they may have been by that point.

As for other changes, it doesn't sound like the wife's murder will play out in quite the same way, unless Cicada himself is the metahuman who tore his own family apart. (That'd be valid wordplay in my book.) At The Flash's panel for Comic-Con, Todd Helbing spoke briefly about how the show would handle its adaptation of the comic killer.

We always take these villains from the comics and put 'em through the Flash blender for our show, and so we did that this year. He's not so much a cult leader, but his powers sort of present a challenge for Team Flash that they've never had to deal with before.

In that sense, he might very well be talking about the sense that Cicada will be targeting metahumans as his victims, with or without followers helping him. For years now, The Flash's villains have usually been far more invested in utilizing or destroying Barry Allen himself, while Vibe, Killer Frost and others were mostly seen as peripheral threats. But if Cicada has the power and inclination to take out all the heroes themselves, along with whatever foes happen to be locked up at S.T.A.R. Labs, then Team Flash had better figure out how to stop him as quickly as possible.

Also worrisome is the fact that Todd Helbing told the Comic-Con crowd there will be "a lot of deaths this season," and that at least one "very" major character will be getting killed off. Which, as we all know, might not be permanent. But it's still worrisome. And boy, I hope Nora West-Allen's big mistake had nothing to do with his creation, because that could get awkward.

chris klein idiotsitter

Who's Playing Cicada On The Flash TV Show?

Taking over the portrayal of The Flash's next big villain is Chris Klein, the actor probably best known for his work in the American Pie film franchise, though he also got his start in Alexander Payne's stellar dark comedy Election. While he's more frequently seen in comedic roles, Klein has done several action-oriented films that might serve as a good background for what we could see on The Flash, such as We Were Soldiers and Game of Aces.

While he was in the video game flick Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, Chris Klein has not been in any comic book fare before now, so The Flash will be quite the interesting entry point for him. Here's hoping he gets to crack wise as often as he gets to intimidate the shit out of everyone with his lightning-powered weaponry.

Fans will find out lots more about Cicada and all the other new elements of The Flash Season 5 when it debuts on The CW on Tuesday, October 9, at 8:00 p.m. ET. Be sure to check out what's coming next for Caitlin and Killer Frost, and while trying to decipher all the clues there, check out our summer premiere schedule to see what shows will be hitting the boob tube before then.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.