The Flash Producer Talks Wally West, King Shark and the Next Arrow Crossover

Andrew Kreisberg on what we just saw and what's next.

Warning: Full spoilers for this week’s The Flash episode, “The Fury of Firestorm,” follow.

A lot was in play this week on The Flash, as a new Firestorm was introduced, King Shark (!) showed up, Harrison Wells made his presence known to Barry Allen and more.

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At a recent press screening of the episode, executive producer Andrew Kreisberg discussed these recent reveals and more, including hints at the next big Flash/Arrow crossover.

Wally West

No, there’s no bait and switch being played. We’d heard Keiynan Lonsdale is playing Wally West in Season 2 and yes, Kreisberg confirms, when Iris learns from her mother that she has a brother, “That’s Wally.” In the comics, Wally was originally Iris’ nephew, but Kreisberg said he and the Flash team decided to make it a sibling Iris never knew about, noting, “We always hated on TV shows that it’s year two and somebody’s like, 'Well, Cousin John’s coming!' And it’s like, ‘Oh, good ol’ Cousin John!’ who no one ever mentioned before. It was always weird. The notion that they don’t know Wally was sort of where that came from and then that was the idea that Francine was still alive and then that whole storyline."

He added, "Iris is now in the position that Barry was in last year – she’s keeping a secret to protect somebody and she’s going to find that, for all of her anger at Barry and Joe from last year, keeping this secret is not going to be so easy and it’s going to be weighing on her before she finally decides to take some action in an upcoming episode.”

Kreisberg also confirmed this Wally is Joe West’s son.

King Shark!

A hugely entertaining moment in “The Fury of Firestorm” is when Barry is confronted by King Shark, a villain from the comics. Kreisberg noted they’d actually included the character in one of the Flash TV show tie-in comics, because they assumed when it came to the show, “No one’s going to let us do this.”

He then explained, “Since we knew we weren’t going to be using the [Suicide] Squad anymore and we were talking about it, it was really [Flash writer] Todd Helbing who was just like, 'Yeah, let’s do it!’ It was a very expensive 30 seconds in the show. But our visual effects team are the best and they really love challenges like this. Armen Kevorkian, who’s the head of our team, got really excited, and it was probably the thing he sent me the most, like, ‘Check it out! Here’s how it’s coming!’ And I literally can’t believe that. That’s beyond feature quality and they realized it so well. Obviously we can’t afford to do an entire killer King Shark episode.” However, since the King Shark who confronted Barry was sent by Zoom, Kreisberg said, “That does mean there is King Shark in Earth-1.”

Firestorm 2.0

The new Firestorm, who will play a big role on Legends of Tomorrow, was revealed to be Jefferson “Jax” Jackson (Franz Drameh), a supporting character from Firestorm comics, but not someone who’d been Firestorm himself. Regarding why they chose Jax (as opposed to either using Ronnie Raymond or Jason Rusch, who was briefly introduced in Season 1), Kreisberg explained, “I think we decided to use it as an opportunity to introduce a different kind of Firestorm. What worked so well in the comic books was the idea that they were so different, Stein and Ronnie. In the comic books, Ronnie was like a jock. He was a dumb jock. Obviously, Robbie [Amell] and the character we created for our Ronnie was an engineer and was more mature and has a girlfriend and is more of an adult. So the idea of a second Firestorm being somebody who is just sort of in his early 20s and somebody who was radically different from this Firestorm. Here you got to see the camaraderie and when you guys get to see Legends, you’ll gonna get to see a lot more of the, ‘What the hell are you talking about? Why are we doing this?!’ while they’re merged, so there’s a lot more room for comedy with the Firestorm character than we’ve previously had before.’

Kreisberg had a lot of praise for Drameh, bringing up his performance in Attack the Block. He also added, “And honestly, we’re all so, as always, so proud to have another African American superhero with superpowers. For a whole generation of kids who are growing up, who this show is their entree into the superhero world, for them, Firestorm will always be African American and we’re so proud of that.”


It seems we’re seeing Harrison Wells’ Earth-2 doppelgänger on the show now and that we could potentially meet many other alternate versions of The Flash characters. Admitted Kreisberg, with a laugh, “It’s about to go doppelganger-a-go-go on the show. With time travel last year, we kind of tried to ease everybody into it and we kind of tried to do the same thing here where the first episode was how the two guys look exactly alike and then Jay comes over and we establish the idea of Earth-2 and then we’ve had it sort of playing in the background for episodes three and four just to remind everybody that the show is still The Flash and you’re still going to get the typical Flash episodes that sort of tie into the normal mythology of the show…”

As for Wells confronting Barry at the end of the episode, Kreisberg said, “The next episode opens in a slightly surprising way. I am a fan of Doctor Who. I think one of the things that Steven Moffat always does so brilliantly is that when he has cliffhangers and two-parters, they don’t just pick up exactly where they left off. You come in with an expectation and oh wait, now I’m not quite where I thought I was going to be. Obviously, this scene will play out but how it unfolds in 5, I think the beginning of 5 is really exciting. You’re going to get a lot of answers to questions you have.”

Meanwhile, on Earth-2...

Regarding how much we will see of Earth-2, Kreisberg remarked, “It’s funny. When we were starting to do the season, we were afraid because we didn’t … a lot of it by design and a lot of it by luck, we really feel like Season 1, we told the right story and we told it the right way with all of the time travel stuff. So when we had decided to do Earth-2, we were like, wait a minute. [In Season 1, we asked] how do we do the time travel thing and not mess this up? In the beginning, we kind of kept it all on the back-burner and we didn’t show a lot of the time travel stuff so people could ease into it. But then when we were starting to look at some of the earlier episodes [of Season 2], we realized that we weren’t starting from scratch again. People have already watched a year of Flash.

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Even the characters on the show, when someone flies in front of them, they’re not like, 'What’s happening?!' They’re like, 'Oh, that’s probably a metahuman.' The whole idea of it, since the characters were more accepting of it, we realized the audience could be more accepting of it. As long as Caitlin and Cisco especially, we really feel like those are the two characters who most represent the audience, and Joe, that we could do that. That was why when we first wrote episode 2, we wanted to see Jay fighting Zoom. That whole opening with Jay and Zoom fighting and seeing Earth-2, that was actually after the original conception. We realized people could handle it and see it and not be like, 'What the hell is going on?”'Like the show just suddenly turned into a David Lynch thing.”


The next big Flash/Arrow crossover is coming, which will also help launch Legends of Tomorrow. Said Kreisberg, “It’s hard to talk about it in [story] terms only because what Barry’s facing when he goes into the crossovers is part and parcel with what everybody’s going through in [episodes] five, six and seven. I will say that conceptually speaking, one of the ways we thought about these episodes in a macro sense was The Flash episode this year plays more like an episode of Arrow, and the Arrow episode plays more like an episode of Flash. We thought that was kind of the fun of these episodes. And what’s always fun about them is, this year, both Arrow and Flash are different, and I just mean the characters themselves - Thea's on the team now so there’s all sorts of color combinations that are occurring. “

Kreisberg added, with a laugh, “It’s kind of… it’s killing us. It really is bigger. We looked back and we thought those Flash and Arrow episodes [last season] were the biggest things we’d ever done and now we have more heroes, more people with powers, more mouths to feed and bigger villains and it’s really exciting.”

As to how many other crossovers we might see, including smaller ones, Kreisberg noted, “The first one was Felicity in episode four of Flash, that was also designed to make sure everybody was tuning into Flash early on, and we’ve had the big crossover and I think it’s one of the special things about the shows - all of these people are friends and they care about each other. The one thing we didn’t do last year on Flash, and I keep kicking myself for it, is when Oliver got exposed as the Arrow, there was no mention on Flash for all those episodes about everything Oliver Queen was going through. And it’s funny because you’d think ‘Oh, it’s two different shows’ and you didn’t even really think about it, but for me it’s like, they’re all friends and they all know each other, and they all know about each other’s secret identities and they all care about each other, and you’d think somebody would’ve said something about it. It’s actually gotten to the point now where it’s less about trying to prevent the crossovers and just to constantly make sure that we’re honoring the fact that all of these people are in each other’s lives. I think there’s probably a lot more of the mini-crossovers, like one person here for one scene, and that was why we acknowledged the Green Arrow change in Flash, because Oliver went on television. I think in the beginning there was concern that crossovers would diminish the shows, and for whatever reason, for us and it seems like for the audience too, we’ve found that crossovers make both shows feel bigger. And I think that’s because both shows are somewhat similar as far as popularity is concerned so it never feels like a phony attempt to generate ratings. It’s what we want to do. We make the show we want to see so if we think, wouldn’t it be cool if Oliver showed up or wouldn’t it be great if Cisco showed up over there? We just do it.”

MacGregor's Syndrome

While it was first introduced into the Flash/Arrow universe on Arrow (where the Clock King was suffering from the disease), Iris’ mother Francine brought MacGregor's Syndrome back into this world – one of the more amusing references these shows have included, given the origin of this fictional disease is Joel Schumacher’s infamous Batman & Robin. I asked Kreisberg about using MacGregor’s on the shows and he admitted, “For all the reality of these shows -- and part of the success of The Flash and Arrow is we try to ground them as much as possible -- hearing someone say ‘I have cancer’ is a bummer and a half and especially when you’re dealing with somebody who was also a drug addict. You try to tread lightly on those things, because when you really start to analyze those things, especially episode three, it’s really an episode about violence and violence against children and parental abuse. It can be heady stuff if you really take a step back from it, and giving it that emotion. Certainly Peyton [List]’s performance in that was amazing and I think it deepened and enriched everything and it made you understand Snart a little bit more. Yeah, Barry and Iris had tough childhoods but the Snart kids really had tough childhoods. For that reference [MacGregor’s], for example, it’s a useful tool to say something like that -- that sounds spooky and scary, without saying [it].”

Eric Goldman is Executive Editor of IGN TV. You can follow him on Twitter at @TheEricGoldman, IGN at ericgoldman-ign and Facebook at

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