Meet ‘The Flash’s Original Speedster: Teddy Sears on His Role as Jay Garrick
Two Flashes? Well, the CW hit does have a lot of awesomeness going on these days, and with original Speedster Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears, Masters of Sex) popping up at the end of last week’s season premiere with bad news for Barry (Grant Gustin) and company, we might need to double up on heroes. And with Sears psyched to start helping to save the day, it was a breeze to get the easygoing actor to open up about his time-traveling character—who made his comic-book debuted back in a 1940 as the original Speedster—and how Jay fits into the current world of The Flash.
Welcome to the timeline!
[Laughs] I am so excited, you have no idea. This is so cool.
Jay Garrick is a major icon from the history of comics. How did all of this come together for you?
I think I auditioned for it in early June. I was actually working on Nine Lives, the same movie that Robbie Amell [who played Ronnie Raymond] was doing this summer with Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Garner and Christopher Walken. And this was even before The Flash came up for me. Small world, right? But I didn’t even know who I was auditioning for. It was just laid out as this Season 2 multi-episode guy who was going to be a mentor to Barry, maybe an older brother-type who’s been around and has had some experience.
Well that is pretty much who Jay is.
Exactly! And had I known the comic book mythology better, I probably could have ascertained a guess. But I just went in thinking that it was fun writing and The Flash is such a fun show, so why don’t I take a swing? Then they gave me the opportunity.
So tell us about this version of Jay Garrick.
This Jay is very much the guy who seen some things, he’s been around and had some battles. He has more years on him, so he has a different approach to what it means to be a Speedster. He’s got a good 10 years on Barry Allen.
Why has he been lurking around Central City?
Jay showed up because he very much needs Barry’s help in defeating Zoom, who is his arch-nemesis. He’s been fighting him for years on Earth 2, but Zoom stole his speed, so he arrives needing help.
He literally has the need for speed?
[Laughs] Yes! There is your headline right there!
So Jay has been a Flash for a while?
Yeah, we actually get into how long he’s been doing this and yeah, without revealing too much, it’s not as long as you think. And in episode 3, Jay will tell more of his story about how he became The Flash, his recollections of it, and also his struggles to reconcile who he is now without his speed. I was able to do all of this stuff before, but now I don’t have those powers, so who am I?
He misses being a hero?
He certainly does. He was a scientist before and was slowly chugging away at being able to help people by developing things and then suddenly he was able to do it much faster. So now that it’s been taken away from him, Jay is still a scientist, but he’s having a hard time reconciling that.
He is not taking forced retirement well.
[Laughs] No he is not! This is not the old, silver-templed Jay Garrick from the comic books…he could probably take retirement well.
What is Earth 2 like?
That is a very good question. We are going to start to see, to literally see, what Earth 2 looks like. You are going to kill me for saying this, but it’s the same and different. There are things that have been perfected on Earth 2 that haven’t on Earth 1, and vice versa. Certain technologies. There are still cities and streets and buildings, but it will look different, the tones will be different. But we are just starting to see the tiniest pieces now, and my hope is that the writers will send us all there. God, I really want that to happen.
Does Jay have people back home?
I have not been privy to what they have in store for him, but I believe that he is a lone wolf. There is no Joan like there is in the comic books. He has been a pretty much a one-man operation.
When I spoke to Grant Gustin this summer, he mentioned that Barry isn’t feeling this guy at first.
Right. Jay has to win everybody over. And that’s not some manipulation where he thinks if he can win them over, he can get to Barry. He is trying to win the whole team over at once because he needs to impart to them how important it is to fight Zoom. Barry is extraordinarily skeptical especially because of what he experienced last season with Harrison Wells [Tom Cavanagh]. He is very protective and not quick to lend trust to anyone right now. That makes sense based on what he went through.
So how do they wind up on the same page?
Well Barry is very leery of this Jay Garrick character, so he puts him through a series of tests and does what he needs to do to see if he can trust Jay. Also, Barry is struggling whether he should march to the beat of his own drum now because the people he’s around end up getting hurt or worse. Maybe he’s better off not listening to anybody and that is very emblematic of someone trying to figure out what being an adult means. He was burnt pretty badly in Season 1.
Sounds like Jay is the guy who ends up helping him navigate that?
Yeah, Jay will be one piece of the puzzle. He does find himself embraced by the S.T.A.R. Labs family eventually, but I don’t think Jay’s voice will be louder than Joe’s. He will just be one spoke in the wheel.
So last question…how is your costume?
You will see it up close and personal in episode 2, helmet and all! It is extraordinarily comfortable. You know, as they do, they took all the measurements and it fits to a T. Grant has to wear a cowl and it’s cumbersome. Mine is a gorgeous leather jacket, some great pants, boots, gloves and the helmet. That is probably the least comfortable thing and it’s not even uncomfortable, so that should tell you how nice the costume is. It’s heavy, but who cares, right? [Laughs]
The Flash airs Tuesdays, 8/7c, The CW.