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The Flash ended Season 6 on a massive cliffhanger that saw Iris disappearing, Eva killing off her husband with vengeful rage, and Ralph and Sue getting embroiled in yet another Black Hole-related mystery. However, Hartley Sawyer was fired from The Flash in June, leaving fans to wonder how the series will handle Elongated Man’s storyline now that Sawyer won’t be around in Season 7. Thankfully, showrunner Eric Wallace has shined some light on that issue.
The Flash Season 7 will obviously be missing one series regular when the show returns in January. After a series of misogynistic and racist tweets resurfaced, Hartley Sawyer was ousted from the show, which immediately sparked speculation about whether or not the role of Elongated Man would be recast or dropped altogether. Speaking with EW, Eric Wallace revealed what the plans for the character are for Season 7. Here’s what he said:
We're giving the Elongated Man a bit of a rest for [a] while. But we will leave the door open. Who knows what the future could bring. It is unknown. But I'm not saying by any means that it's the end of the character, in fact, quite the opposite. We just don't know when he will return, or in what form he will return. And that's the beauty of comic book stories. It keeps it fresh.
Eric Wallace went on to add that Ralph was supposed to be a part of a storyline that would heavily connect him to The Flash’s Season 7 villain (who has not yet been revealed). However, that particular storyline has now been passed on to another series regular. Wallace didn’t reveal which character would be getting this “emotional journey,” but that dropping Elongated Man from this storyline actually made it “much stronger.” Sorry not sorry, Ralph.
Now that we know Elongated Man won’t be around for the entirety of Season 7, that still leaves the issue of Ralph’s remaining storyline from Season 6. If you didn’t notice, The Flash’s Season 7 trailer didn’t include Ralph at all, but the unintended Season 6 finale did introduce a subplot where Ralph told Sue that Eva had framed her for Carver’s murder. How will The Flash resolve this storyline that so heavily revolved around Hartley Sawyer's character? Here’s how Eric Wallace put it:
Without giving any spoilers away, there are a couple of ways that we can have Elongated Man still appear in at least one episode this season to wrap that storyline up, that gets us what we need and still allows fans to say goodbye to the character, at least for the indefinite future. . . . It's funny, I guess technically it would be a recasting, but the character won't be a big part of season 7. He'll only be a part of just wrapping up the Sue storyline. Yes, one could say it is a recasting, but we're going to do it in a way that I think honors the spirit of the character and provides not only a satisfying conclusion to Sue's murder mystery, but also it's done with some humor.
My guess is they’ll bring in another actor to play Ralph in the Season 7 premiere, and explain his face change as being due to his powers. We know that Elongated Man has the power to alter the physiology of his face and body. He’s transformed himself into many different people over the course of The Flash, so another actor playing the role for an episode will still make sense within the framework of the show, and it could be a way to bring back a former actor, or have some fun in a different context.
As for Sue, Eric Wallace noted that just because Ralph’s gone for the rest of Season 7 doesn't mean that Sue will disappear along with him. In fact, Wallace revealed that Sue will show up “more than once” next season to help Team Flash in an “unexpected way.” That said, it’s unclear how her storyline will connect to the overarching plot of the season, but I’m glad Natalie Dreyfuss will still be around despite Hartley Sawyer’s firing.
The Flash will return for Season 7 in January 2021. In the meantime, be sure to check out our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule for more on what to watch.