The Flash is finally returning to The CW for Season 7, and with that return comes some conclusions to plans the series' creative team had in place when Season 6 had to halt production. Unfortunately, those plans got even more complicated, thanks to one of its central actors from the past few seasons, Hartley Sawyer, being fired for controversial social media posts. Because Sawyer will no longer be on The Flash as Ralph Dibny, many fans are wondering what this means for The Elongated Man and his storyline.
The Flash's showrunner Eric Wallace has confirmed that Ralph won't be a big presence in Season 7, and that the character will only be brought into the story to resolve the Sue Dearborn storyline that was introduced in Season 6. When the series last left Sue, she'd been framed for killing Joseph Carver by Mirror Master Eva McCullough. Wallace stated that Sue's story would be resolved and explained that she and Ralph would return for at least one Season 7 episode to wrap that up.
With that being said, Wallace confirmed that Hartley Sawyer himself would not reprise the role of Ralph. Instead, The Flash is bringing in a completely different actor, and will utilizee the fact that Ralph can shape-shift his face to play off the recasting as the original character. Ralph changing up his appearance is hardly new for The Flash, as he's used it a multiple times in past episodes to portray other characters on the show.
Given that, The Flash could have just about anyone portray Ralph, including actors who have previously worked on the show. So far, there have been no big clues as to who will portray Ralph in Season 7, but audiences should expect to get some closure for his character as the season continues. Personally, I'd like to see Tom Felton making a one-off return to the franchise as a Ralph stand-in, but that's just a pipe dream. Hopefully the show will reveal the new actor in the near future.
As for how much Hartley Sawyer's exit impacted Season 7, Eric Wallace told TVLine that the first and third episodes were changed due to both the actor's firing and COVID-19 in general. It will be interesting to see the ways the show will navigate Ralph's exit, or how it will explain the character's absence if he's not immediately present when the story kicks off.
For those that don't remember, The Flash fired Hartley Sawyer in June over a series of resurfaced tweets that were racist and misogynistic. Sawyer apologized for the tweets, all of which predated his time on The Flash, but he was removed from the show all the same. Sawyer's social media channels are still active online, but they've had no recent activity since his firing from the Arrowverse series.
The Flash airs on The CW Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET. The Arrowverse is really back in full swing, and anyone out of the loop can catch up on some of the recent happenings right here. For example, check out the stunning reveal made in the Superman & Lois pilot and why it may not be the person we all think.