‘The Flash’ Boss Eric Wallace Sets Up Barry’s Final Run

Grant Gustin on 'The Flash' Season 9
Spoiler Alert
The CW

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The Flash Season 9, Episode 1 “Wednesday Ever After.” So if you don’t wanna have the surprises ruined, burn your map book, too!]

The Flash‘s final leg kicked off tonight with Central City’s first couple (Grant Gustin, Candice Patton) trapped in a time loop, the return of an old villain—The 100‘s Richard Harmon as the newest Captain Boomerang—and just a hint of what hell is to come. All because of that damn book mapping out the future timeline Barry has created to keep wifey safe. Well guess what, B-Allen? Iris doesn’t need a hero…she needs a husband who understands that she can get it done and we saw that tonight as she took a major step forward in expanding her media empire.

Besides, the Flash is gonna need to keep his focus on another powerful woman heading his way. Because she could be the (red) death of him if he isn’t careful. What else is up? So much, according to showrunner Eric Wallace, who previews some big fun ahead, an episode we won’t want to miss and, if his final answer is to be believed, offers some hope that all will end well.

Hello! How are things going?

Eric Wallace: I’m good, man. I’m, uh, ready to share the final season with the world. And we’ve only got one more month of shooting. We’re writing the series finale now.

OK. So you’ve survived the big Episode 909.

We did. Yes, we did. And I watched a cut of it yesterday. So good. Oh my God. I just want people to watch it so badly so they can  see Stephen‘s return and Danielle Panabaker just knock it out of the park as the director on that one. And yeah, you might get a weepy at the end of it.

I’m counting on it. And I’m counting on possibly a couple other returns that maybe weren’t announced yet?

Well, maybe not in that episode. But you never know what might crop up in the rest of the season.

All right. So the first question I have to ask is: What happened to Central City when that explosion diffused throughout the entire area? Did something happen to the people in this town?

No, honestly. [Laughs] The Flash truly saved the day. It’s a big McGuffin. It really is. But the question people should hopefully come out of the premiere with is “What are the implications of knowing the future?” Because Barry might have burned that map book, but you know, he did read it, right? He does remember things. So that’s what I want. I also want them to think about, “Wait a minute, who came outta that box? You’re not, Caitlin. Who are you?”

And that’s what all of what episode two is about, okay?  It’s all about is learning about who Danielle is playing. This season, that’s the one I directed and it’s one of those things where Danielle and I, we had really long talks about this to kind of make sure to remember she’s playing a character that has an arc too. So where she starts won’t necessarily be where she ends. And that means how will Team Flash accept her? What does it mean as they start to fight their not one, but two new big bads this year? It’s all connected. And she’ll become a member of Team Flash, but in her story, especially as we get closer and closer to the series finale, we’ll see how her new character kind of ties into the battle against the latter Big Bad.

And that is Javicia Leslie‘s Red Death?

Well, that’s a spoiler! I’m hoping people who watch the season opener [noticed] we really do tease Red Death pretty hardcore in that last shot. So I’m hoping that they realize this is us saying to them, “Oh, you don’t have to wait long at all. You’re not gonna have to wait 13 episodes…that character is coming ASAP.” And we’re getting right into it. We only have 13 episodes, not 20 so that’s been a big challenge this year. I have so much story to tell and not enough time to tell it. So, you know, we gotta get right to it. The Red Dead storyline will explode in the first half of the season.

And how is Javicia as a villain?

I kind of feel like she’s been waiting to play this role her whole life because she’s so awesome. It was so clear how much fun she was having both on set and watching the dailies. She called me afterwards and she said she, “Thank you I had a blast. I loved it. Thank you so much.” And I said, “No, thank you!” She just brought it in a way that I knew she always could because I’m big Batwoman fan in the first place. But I felt like this was taking it to the next level. It was really, really fun. I think the audience is gonna fall in love with her all over again.

How much of the Metal Knights storyline are you borrowing from the DC Comics stuff?

Well, it’s funny. I was a fan of Metal Knights, but this is not a Metal Knight story, I wanna just say that right off the top. We’re doing our own version of the character. We were not allowed to use Bruce Wayne or anybody like that. So I just want everybody to know that. The costume is, you know, comic-book accurate, some of the motivations are [similar] but she’s got a different backstory in this storyline because it has to be more Flash-centric. So don’t expect any more Metal Night nods other than really the character in the costume. And we created a new mythology for her.

Is it her Batwoman, Ryan Wilder, merged with the Speed Force? Or is it, is she, she

Keep watching, all right? Just keep watching. I would say tune into episodes 2, 3, 4, 5, and six.

Deal. Now…how much do we love that Iris West-Allen is pretty much the only person in the Arrowverse who can say no to Cat Grant?

She’s building her own empire! Yeah. You know, she’s not gonna be Cat Grant’s employee. She’s be bigger than Cat Grant. And that’s something that we follow up as the season continues. You know, as the map book says, she is on the path to two Pulitzers and yes, that gets paid off this season. It’s really exciting. And there’s also the emotional payoffs that are happening too. I mean, Barry says it right there in the opener, “You’re gonna get pregnant in three months.” He’s not lying. We have to see that and see what happens as a result. And I’m happy to say, because it’s the Flash, you get the things you want, but never in the way that you’re expecting. [Laughs]

Three months would place us at your series finale.

It would, yeah. Imagine that! [Laughs] I mean, no spoilers here, but you are a wise man.

Candice Patton and Grant Gustin as Barry and Iris on 'The Flash' Season 9 Premiere

The CW

You gave us so much Barry and Iris in this episode…

That’s on purpose. Finally, we felt like we’d earned it. After Seasons Six through Eight, where we spent more time developing their characters separately—we had the Flash leveling up as a superhero and at the same time, we had to level-up Iris in her journalistic career—it finally felt right. And now that we’ve earned all those things, the last part of the journey is “Who are Barry and Iris as a couple?” That’s what the season is all about. So in every episode, since they’ve decided to go on these babymoon adventures, we’re gonna be checking in with those babymoon adventures. In fact, one of the funniest ones that we do is at the top of episode 903. That’s not a spoiler, but it’s just cute to see them together. I love it so much. And who knows, they might even go dancing at some point.

Oh, I like it. And is this some of a “Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?” concept where they’re a different place every episode? How often are they outta town?

You know, sometimes they’re out of town on-camera, like they are in 903 and sometimes their babymoon adventure is in Central City. There’s a funny one at the end of 902…I would actually say keep watching all the way to the end of the credits on the second episode of the season. There might be a little gift in there somewhere. [Laughs]

So you’ll see them kind of checking in, but obviously, as the battle against the two Big Bads begin, they can’t be jetting off around the world…or running, I guess, around the world? [Laughs] So the baby adventures do trail off a little bit, but what doesn’t trail off throughout the season is their connection. One of my favorite episodes this season is them being together on a mystery. One of the things that was on my bucket list was, “What if Nick and Nora Charles from The Thin Man were updated with Barry and Iris?” What does that look like? We get them in one episode essentially alone, investigating a hysterically funny mystery. Get ready for that episode later in the middle of the season. And Grant and Candace just knocked it outta the park. They were having so much fun. Which is another thing that I think the audience hopefully will be able to sense this year: Everybody’s having fun. We know this is the last season and we’ve gotta bring it, but they are all like, “Let’s have fun doing this, and let’s go out on our best.” And I think the cast and the crew and the writers and the directors and everybody have taken that to heart.

Well, I for one thank you for finally letting Candice do legit comedy. The wake-up montage was incredible because it was almost like she hit a different note every time they woke up.

Yes. Yes. Uh, that’s, uh, our brilliant producing director, Vanessa Parise, who directed the premiere. When Candice says, “I need a cocktail”? It was in the script, but the performance of it just leaps off the page at that point. That’s the director and the actress really working together and creating something special. But I would dare say, I think the funniest thing she does is in this murder-mystery episode. And it’s really subtle, but every time I see it, and it’s just kind of a throwaway moment in the episode, I laughed so hard cause she’s so funny.

I cannot wait for that. And also kudos for the hair bonnet.

[Laughs] Yes! Um, you know, I’m a black man who grew up with my mom and a sister. They wore those and so, you know, we ran it past her  and she’s like, “Of course! This is what I would wear at night. This is real.” And that’s a part of the things that we’re trying to do. Look for a lot of unique looks this season for Candice’s hair in general. She’s, she’s got some really exciting natural things coming down. I’m just so happy for her to finally feel free enough to do that. Something that I’ve supported from day one since I took over. And I’m so happy that she felt comfortable doing that and showing that other side to the audience.

Grant Gustin on 'The Flash' Season 9 Premiere

Shane Harvey/The CW –

Now, what is the idea behind Joe (Jesse L. Martin) wanting to leave Central City? He’s about to become a grandfather?

You’re gonna find out why Joe wants to leave in episodes 902, 3 and 4. Now, on a more practical level, obviously Jesse has a new show and we only have him for a handful of episodes. So we had to come up with something to explain where Joe is. But what it did for Joe and Cecil (Danielle Nicolet), because it takes their relationship into overdrive. It’s an incredibly emotional storyline that we have coming up. It’s not gonna be easy for Cecil and it really informs her journey for the rest of the season. But don’t worry, I’m happy to report that’s a happy ending. Nobody’s divorcing, nobody’s dying. Good. None of that nonsense. All happy endings.

The Flash, Wednesdays, 8/7c, The CW