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Interview: John Wesley Shipp Talks “Enter Flashtime,” O.G. Flash & More

Interview with O.G. Flash John Wesley Shipp about Jay Garrick’s return in “Enter Flashtime”

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What was it like to be back on the new Flash series after a while, since Jay’s been absent since last season?

It’s a very exciting episode. I completely understood the need for them to pare it back to the core cast, because we got pretty spun out in the third season with 21 Earths and overlapping timelines. I knew at the end of the season. I said “my guess would be they’re going to pare it back,” and they did that, down to the core cast, to remind us that this is about Barry, and Barry and Iris. What that has set up is a great deal of excitement and anticipation about what will be, really, the first big speedster episode of the season.

It’s great to come back on the tide of that excitement. I’m reading on Twitter, I’m reading on social media… people are so stoked for this episode, and they have good reason to be. I think it’s a brilliant concept. I think Todd Helbing and Sterling Gates added so much, and the whole concept of being in Flashtime and having a limited amount of physical resources and time in which to solve this problem before all Hell breaks loose… I just think it’s a great way to get us all in there working together.

Is it true that you try to portray your Jay like your classic Barry Allen a bit?

What I said was [that] when I knew that I was going from Henry to Jay, I had to differentiate the characters. I went back and I watched a couple of my Flash — my Barry Allen, the original Flash episodes — to see what I did, to kind of remind myself of what I did. It was different enough from what Grant does that I thought “okay. I can pull elements of my Barry Allen 25 years forward, and make him a part of my Jay.”

My Barry was a bit edgier, which surprised me when I went back to watch the episodes. In some instances, a bit cockier than Grant’s was at the beginning, although his Flash has the luxury of evolving over several seasons.

Has Jay ever seen anything like the bus metas or the Thinker on his world?

Well, the Thinker was a Jay Garrick villain [in the comics!] They pulled him into Earth One. I don’t know what really is going on on Earth Three, and that’s something I totally would be open to exploring, if they ever want to explore it.

Where’s Joan Garrick? Where’s their French bulldog? But that’s just me. The series isn’t called “Jay Garrick.” The series is called “The Flash,” and The Flash is Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen, so I’m grateful for whatever character development we get with Jay.

The real question is, would Joan Garrick look like Tina McGee?

I don’t know! It’s possible.

I mean, there’s a big debate now. There’s a “Tina McGee” camp, and there’s a “Megan Lockhart” camp — Joyce Hyser’s character. They’re saying “which one would it be?” And then Joyce Hyser tweeted out, “well, we could be sister wives!” [Laughs]

I saw that they made an action figure of your version of The Flash. Have you gotten one yet?

I have not, but it blows my mind! Just yesterday I saw that somebody did a video of it, reviewing it, and it’s got some really cool features and ball joints, and things that move. I was watching it with someone who collects action figures, and they were like “man! They really went high end with this one.” It’s got some new features on it… I’ve gotta tell ya, it’s a little strange… they got the likeness really well. They did a really good job. I haven’t gotten one yet, but you can bet I will get one. I’ll put it with my Emmys! I’ll have my SOVAS Award… we just won a Society of Vocal Arts and Sciences award for Powder Burns, the audio Western that I’ve been doing for the last couple years… so I’ve got those awards on a table. I’ll put my little action figure beside them.

What do you have to say to your fans of The Flash or people who knew you from soaps and other projects who have followed you for so many years?

Just extreme gratitude. I see it every time I go to these conventions. One thing I always say, particularly to the comic book audience, is that The Flash was 50 years old when I got to it. It had been around for 50 years in 1990. And it’ll be going on after me, and after I and Grant and Ezra are gone. I’m just grateful to be able to take this journey with this wonderful world of fans of this pop cultural art form during this period of time.

Having done soaps and having been in the comic book world, there’s a great deal of similarity between the two fan bases. They both know the lineage, they know the legacy, they know the characters, and they don’t want to be screwed with. And that kind of energy and excitement — it’s really special. I just could not be more grateful or more mindful of my good fortune.

The Flash “Enter Flashtime” airs tonight (March 6) at 8PM ET/PT on The CW. Take a look at some photos below!

THE FLASH

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The Flash -- "Enter Flashtime" -- Image Number: FLA415a_0007b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): John Wesley Shipp as Jay Garrick, Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon/Vibe, Violett Beane as Jesse Quick, Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Flash -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

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Crisis on Infinite Earths

The Flash: Eric Wallace Discusses Barry’s Coming Crisis

The Flash EP Eric Wallace discusses what the Crisis on Infinite Earths will mean for Barry and Iris.

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Warning: Spoilers for the Flash Season 6 premiere “Into the Void” are being discussed here.

A Crisis is coming… Crisis on Infinite Earths, that is… and on December 10, 2019… Barry Allen is destined to die. And the story engine will guide The Flash Season 6 toward exciting places.

“Crisis turned out to be the best thing that could have happened — I can’t speak for the other shows, but I certainly speak for The Flash — because it created an immediacy to things,” Executive Producer Eric Wallace recently said in a group Q&A. “We know that December 10, 2019, The Flash will die. He just said it. We’re not messing around. So as a married couple, [Barry and Iris] can count the number of days and weeks. The countdown begins next week. What kind of urgency does that give them? An extreme one. It turns the dial up to 10, and it makes you think, ‘Is every moment together our last? What can we do? Should we fight this? Is it inevitable? These are all the things that they’re grappling with for these next seven episodes, because eight ends, and it’s Crisis time, and it’s time to go off to, literally, cosmic war. So the relationship is strained. But it’s also going to bring them closer together than ever before, because that’s what tragedy does,” he continued.

And how is this different from Season 3, when they saw that Iris was destined to die?

“You should watch next week, when that exact question is asked and answered,” Wallace explained. “That is literally the plot. What this story has enabled us to do is to look back at any other time when somebody was facing life and death, and see how they reacted then. So in the writers’ room, we had a lengthy discussion about how it’s the other side of the coin. We know how they reacted with Iris. How will they react next week? And I will tell you — no spoilers — it’s different. It’s not the same, because of what they learn next week. That’s the great part of the story. The Monitor showing up and kind of making a cosmic pronouncement drives you to extremes in order to fight against or accept the coming Crisis. And every episode this season – 602, 3, 4, 5 and 6, especially — are all about, ‘Do I accept death? Or do I fight it?;’ That’s also the reason why Bloodwork is the villain this season. The villain, as we now know, has HLH cancer and is dying. So for the first time in the show’s history, we have a villain and a protagonist who are going through the same thing. It’s the reason Bloodwork was chosen as a villain this season. It was very deliberate, because they’re going to learn about halfway through the season, ‘Maybe we’re not so different? And what does that mean?”

And finally, do Barry and Oliver know about their respective interactions with The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) this season?

“No, and boy, I wonder what will happen when they both find out. [Laughs] It’s good stuff. It’s so great, ’cause I can’t tell you when it happens,” Wallace said excitedly. “But I will tell you that is a scene that happened and is a moment, and it is coming. Lets just say people might get pissed off a little,” he laughed.

The Flash airs Tuesdays on The CW.

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Interviews

Flash EP Discusses Killer Frost’s New Status Quo

Eric Wallace discusses the new status quo for Killer Frost in The Flash Season 6.

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As we saw in tonight’s Flash season premiere “Into the Void,” Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker) is going to be able to live a little bit of a life of her own. What does that mean for her future?

New showrunner Eric Wallace was asked that very question.

“Now that she has a life coach?” he joked, referring to Ralph’s offer. “I will tell you, and again, no spoilers, it has been a pure delight writing Killer Frost this season, because she’s much more in the forefront than Caitlin is.”

“That life coach stuff starts next week in 602,” Wallace teased. “It’s like the second scene and we honor the promise of the premise.We deliver. And it’s it’s led to these hilarious situations. Because basically, it’s like when we talked of her almost as a teenager who finally got the keys to the car but doesn’t know how to drive. We’ve got to drive to go to the store, to get the groceries, to get some wine, to meet your boyfriend, or to go to the movies, or whatever. So everything is new through her eyes, which means she’s gonna make some mistakes, which is great, it’s gonna lead to some more tears, but then at the end, she’s going to grow into something that didn’t exist before. Maybe you do lose that Killer. Maybe it’s just Frost waiting down the line.”

Photos from the second episode of The Flash Season 6, “A Flash of the Lightning,” can be found here.

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Interviews

New Showrunner Eric Wallace Outlines His Plan For The Flash Season 6

New Flash showrunner Eric Wallace talks about his plan for The Flash Season 6.

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Yesterday, The CW hosted a screening for the first episode of The Flash Season 6 “Into The Void”you can see some preview images here — and following the screening, new showrunner and Executive Producer Eric Wallace talked to press in a Q&A. But before he began his interview, he told us of his overall plan for what fans should get from The Flash Season 6 as a whole.

“Usually, one of about two or three things happen in the sixth season of a hit show: snooze-ville, and it goes into cruise mode, and you know, no one really cares, but you kinda watch it because it’s habit. You make your beans while you watch it, you eat it, no big deal,” Wallace illustrated. “Or crash and burn! ‘Oh my! That used to be my favorite show, and I can’t stand it anymore!’ Or third, hopefully [laughs], what we’re going for this season, we’re not looking at this as Season 6 of a show. We’re looking at it as Season 1 of a show. I’m trying very hard, my staff’s trying very hard, the cast and crew, everybody, to reward all of the fans who’ve been watching for five years. And as a thank you, we’re going to try and not give them the exact same thing they’ve gotten for five years, not that it wasn’t great. We love it. I truly love it, because I was a fan of the show before I started working on it.”

“But as a reward, we’re trying some new things,” Wallace continued. “I don’t know if you guys heard at Comic-Con, this is the season of thrills and chills. … But that is kind of the goal. But it’s one of those things where we want to not just keep the joy and the spectacle and the tears. We want to expand upon it. This is the season opener, so there’s only so much you can do in one episode. But the new format of the show, which is graphic novel number one, which just began here…it’s a self-contained story,” he said, pointing to the Ramsey Rossa (Sendhil Ramamurthy) story that begins in the season premiere.

“His story begins, it burns very hot,” Wallace explained. “By the time we get to 603, 604, we’re in cuckoo town, essentially. I mean that in the best way, because the story ends in 608. That’s wrapped up. The end. We go to Crisis. And then, starting at 610, it’s a brand new story, graphic novel #2… so it’s given, I think, the season, again, [has] a new fresh energy that I’m hoping is that reward to all the people who’ve been watching for five seasons. I’ve been watching for five seasons, too. I love Zoom, Reverse Flash, Savitar, all the gang. But sometimes me and my wife and my child will watch and go, ‘Dude, shouldn’t he have caught him by now? It’s like Episode 17.’ It’s normal. It’s perfectly normal to think that. And it’s part of the fun, because it’s 22-episode season. But I think folks are in for a little bit of a fresh surprise. We hope everybody enjoys it,” he said.

The Flash Season 6 premieres Tuesday, October 8, and you can find our video interview with Eric Wallace from Comic-Con below. Read more Flash Season 6 coverage here!

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