For the better part of six years, the CW series The Flash has entertained and dazzled fans of the iconic DC Comics character with some of the most dramatic and flashiest (no pun intended) action sequences and epic storylines. But all of that doesn't come together overnight, as the series' numerous showrunners and stars have learned since the show first hit the airwaves back in 2014. And with so much happening on and off the screen, there are quite a few behind the scenes facts that only add to the drama of the superhero series.
That's why I've put together this list of facts, from the Flash's humble beginnings starting with the character's cameo on Arrow in 2013, to his very own groundbreaking and extremely popular series, and all the ups and downs that came in the process. Buckle up, because things are going to get fast.
The Flash Was Originally Supposed To Have A "Backdoor Pilot" On Arrow
This all may seem like history now, but The Flash was originally supposed to have a "backdoor pilot" near the end of Arrow Season 2 after introducing Grant Gustin's Barry Allen earlier in the season. As well all know now, that plan ended up not happening. Instead, The Flash got its very own standalone pilot before going into full swing as a spinoff series. According to a 2013 report from Deadline, the decision was made after CW executives saw cuts of the two Arrow episodes in which Barry Allen/The Flash was introduced (Episodes 8 and 9), and were so impressed that they decided to give the show's creators the chance to work with the characters and storylines more before jumping into production. I'd say they made the right decision.
A Backup Plan Was Set For Grant Gustin If The Flash Didn't Work Out
Even though The CW was high on the idea of having The Flash be its very own series with ties to the greater Arrowverse, there was a backup plan put in place for Grant Gustin just in case the series didn't work out the way the producers had hoped. Greg Berlanti, the show's executive producer and one of the masterminds behind CW's expansive shared universe, revealed in an interview with Digital Spy in 2014 just what kind of contingency he and his fellow showrunners had in place, stating:
Fingers crossed we don't screw it up and he gets his own show! If he didn't, I don't think we would ever want to let Grant go. He's too valuable. That would be our hope, I think - no matter what, to keep Barry part of the universe.
As well all know now, The Flash pilot was a success, as was its first season, and we are all still talking about one of the most successful comic book television adaptions in recent memory.
Mark Hamill Was Shocked When He Was Asked To Reprise His Role As The Trickster
You can't have a great comic book show with including some of the superhero's fiercest adversaries, and that was no different for The Flash in 2014 when it was announced that Mark Hamill would be reprising his role as The Trickster in the CW series, nearly 25 years after he first portrayed the iconic villain in the 1990 Flash series. As shocking as this may have been for fans, it was even more shocking for Hamill himself, who shared his disbelief during an IGN interview, stating:
When they asked me to be a part of it, the last thing I was thinking was that I would be returning to that specific role, but I think you're going to be really pleased with what they've come up with. It was totally unexpected.
Mark Hamill went on to portray The Trickster in a total of three episodes of The Flash, but he also reprised the character (at least his voice) in a number of animated DC Comics projects over the years, with his most recent appearance being in an episode of Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? in 2019.
Arrow's Stephen Amell Did Not Like How Warner Bros. Announced The DC Movie Lineup
Shortly after The Flash TV series debuted on The CW in the fall of 2014, Warner Bros. and DC Comics announced the lineup of the DC Extended Universe, along with the fact that Ezra Miller would be playing Barry Allen/The Flash in this franchise. Stephen Amell of Arrow fame was not happy about the timing of the announcement, which was made around the same time ratings numbers for the second episode of The Flash came out, telling AMC Movie News (via Gizmodo):
I've had some great chats with people at Warner Bros. Again I though that the whole timing of the announcement… The most important day that you can ever have as a television show, is when your ratings come out for your second episode… I thought that it was shitty that all of this stuff the morning of the spectacular ratings of the second episode of The Flash came in.
Stephen Amell also explained that he spoke out because he was protective of Grant Gustin, especially so early into his run as The Flash. And with all of the recent controversy surrounding Ezra Miller, I wonder if Warner Bros. wishes it had selected Gustin way back when.
Candice Patton Had The Best Response When A Fan Said She Ruined The Show
Ever since it was announced that Candice Patton would be playing Iris West in The Flash, there has been a lot of backlash from DC Comics fans over the casting of an African American actress to play a character who has traditionally been presented as white. This animosity steered towards Patton is both cruel and unjustified, but the leading lady of the CW comic series never seems to let the racism get her down, as she responded to a comment on a picture she posted on Twitter saying that she single-handedly ruined the show, stating:
And got paid big bucks to do it!
I guess the best way to stop a Twitter troll in their tracks is to shut them down completely, which is what Candice Patton did in tremendous fashion.
Building Gorilla City Was No Easy Task For The Effects Team
One of the biggest (and most technically-impressive) moments of Season 3 of The Flash was when Barry Allen and crew traveled to Gorilla City to see Grodd and save Earth-2's Harrison Wells. Upon first seeing the strikingly beautiful computer-generated city, it was hard to tell if this was from a CW series or one of Warner Bros' summer blockbusters thanks to some amazing visuals. In a behind the scenes documentary on the making of the now-iconic visit to Gorilla City, Andrew Kevorkian, the show's visual effects supervisor, went into great detail about creating the virtual coliseum in which The Flash and Solovar fight, stating:
Obviously we're gonna need a coliseum that would hold-up up-close, because, you know, at the end of Season 2, you just saw it really far away. This is all CG, we had to add hundreds of gorillas at the stadium stands… You'd have to do animation cycles of them cheering and get that right to kind of populate it…. It was really kind of mimicking a real gladiator fight that would take place in the coliseum and bringing that to life, but everything is done virtually.
And that doesn't even tackle everything that the effects team, as well as the live-action cast, had to do in order to make this adventure one of the greatest superhero television moments in recent memory.
Former Star Hartley Sawyer And Former EP Andrew Kreisberg Were Both Fired For Offensive Comments
The Flash has seen its fair share of controversies over the years, including the dismissal of two prominent figures both in front of and behind camera. Starting with the most recent incident, let's look at the firing of Hartley Sawyer, the actor behind Ralph Dibney, a.k.a. Elongated Man. Swayer was let let go after several offensive tweets resurfaced, including this one:
The only thing keeping me front doing mildly racist tweets is the knowledge that Al Sharpton would never stop complaining about me.
And then there was also the time former showrunner Andrew Kreisberg was let go following a 2017 investigation that uncovered claims from at least 19 women who accused the executive producer of on-site misconduct ,ranging from non-consensual kissing to asking female employees for massages. Prior to his dismissal, Kreisberg was suspended by Warner Bros. Television just before the formal investigation began.
Marv Wolfman Was Brought In To Pull Off Crisis On Infinite Earths
The "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover event is one of the most ambitious storylines of its kind to hit the Arrowverse, and that required someone well-versed in the history of the series; someone like Marv Wolfman, who wrote the original "Crisis" storyline. In the early planning stages of the event, Wolfman was brought in to work with the executive producers of the different shows involved in the crossover to help with the cohesion of the project.
In an IGN profile detailing the epic crossover, "Crisis on Infinite Earths" overseer Marc Guggenheim was ecstatic to be working with one of his idols, stating:
Working with Marv is such a thrill because I grew up with all of Marv's comics. The man's an icon and he's one of my idols. As stressful as it is making sure you're not screwing something up when you work with your idols, Marv makes it super easy. He's such a collaborative guy.
And with the success of the project and its impact on all the individual series included in it, you could say that bringing in Marv Wolfman was the right decision all along.
The Young Barry Allen Actor Died Of An Overdose In 2020
Fans of The Flash were shocked and saddened in April 2020 to hear of the death of Logan Williams, the actor who portrayed a young Barry Allen. Williams was seen in a series of flashbacks in the first two seasons of the CW series, including the show's pilot episode. The cause of death was originally unknown, but one month after Logan Williams' tragic passing, his mother, Marlyse Williams, told the New York Post that her son died of a fentanyl overdose. Williams said her son first started experimenting with drugs when he was 13 years old, but didn't know when he started using the extremely dangerous fentanyl that eventually claimed his life.
The Ezra Miller CW Cameo Was Requested By The Top Brass At Warner Bros.
One of the most exciting moments in the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover event was the face-to-face interaction between Grant Gustin's Flash and Ezra Miller's Flash, which surprised just about everyone. As it turns out, this shocking moment came at the request of Warner Bros. president Peter Roth, as Marc Guggenheim revealed to Variety in early 2020, stating:
We were series wrapped on Arrow, and we were wrapped on the whole crossover. We were in post and some episodes were locked, and some were soft-locked. I got a phone call from [Warner Bros. boss] Peter Roth saying, 'I know you’re locked, but can you put Ezra into the crossover?' And I said, 'Yes.' And he said, 'How, you're series wrapped? And you're wrapped on the crossover.' And I said, 'Yeah, I know, but if you’re telling me Ezra Miller can be in the crossover, I can make it happen.'
The most amazing part of all of this is the fact that Ezra Miller's cameo was largely kept secret until the episode hit airwaves, and it ultimately became Arrowverse legend.
Well, that about catches us up with the behind the scenes facts from the CW series The Flash. If you're like us and still have questions about the Arrowverse and the future of the CW shows, or you want to learn about The Flash going up against a long-awaited villain, we've got you covered on CinemaBlend.