Barry Allen will always be The Flash’s main Scarlet Speedster, but he’s no longer the only Flash from the comics being represented in live-action. Earth Two’s Flash Jay Garrick has been a recurring player, and in tonight’s midseason finale “Running to Stand Still,” Keiynan Lonsdale debuted as Wally West. While it may be a long time until he gains super speed, Wally is set to be an important character on the show for the foreseeable future. However, when it comes to interacting with the show’s main character, he won’t get along with Barry at first.
Noting how Barry is an adoptive member of the West family, Lonsdale explained to Variety how Wally will be hesitant to let Barry get close to him. The actor said:
…Because Barry is such a nice guy, and a good guy, that can be even more frustrating for Wally. He doesn’t want to let a lot of people in, and … as cool as Barry is, Wally doesn’t want to let him in. So that creates this kind of cool little sibling rivalry, in a sense. At least from Wally’s point of view, without admitting it.
Although Wally immediately looked to Barry as a mentor in his earliest comic book appearances, Lonsdale’s description of The Flash is more in line with Wally’s New 52 counterpart. After Wally’s mother disappeared during the events of the Forever Evil miniseries, Iris (who is his aunt in the comics) took him in, but Wally acted out by committing vandalism. Iris asked Barry to look after Wally, and eventually the two were able to build a rapport with each other. It stands to reason Barry and Wally will eventually come to an understanding on the series (especially if they’ll be fighting crime together in the future), but it may be a while until they finally click.
Wally was first alluded to in “The Fury of Firestorm” during Francine West’s return to Central City after two decades. After trying to make amends with her family before she succumbed to her terminal illness, Iris did some digging and learned that Francine had a son shortly after leaving her husband and daughter, prompting Iris to then tell her mother to stay away. Wally met his father and sister when they’re celebrating the Christmas season, and the family reunion also occurred in the midst of Flash dealing with Captain Cold, Weather Wizard and The Trickster trying to kill him.
The Flash’s midseason finale “Running to Stand Still” aired tonight at 8 p.m. EST on The CW, and the show will return from its winter hiatus on January 19.