The fourth episode of The CW series’ second season of The Flash had more than a few jaw-dropping surprises. Thankfully, executive producer Andrew Kreisberg and actress Danielle Panabaker (“Caitlin Snow”) were available to provide some clarification and insight and what it all means and what’s next, following a screening of the episode.
With a handful of press, they talked about where the West family goes from here, why Jefferson Jackson makes a good Firestorm, more doppelgangers, whether Cisco will come to terms with his new powers, Killer Frost, and the return of Grodd. Be aware that there are some major spoilers discussed.
Question: So, is Francine’s son Wally West?
ANDREW KREISBERG: Yeah, that’s Wally. Just like with any of the shows we do, we have these ideas in the previous season, so we always knew we were leading up to this. We always hated on TV shows where, in year two, somebody is like, “Cousin John is coming?” And it’s like, “Oh, good old cousin John,” who nobody mentioned before. It’s weird. So, the notion that they don’t know who Wally is, is where the idea that Francine was still alive came from, and we’d have that whole storyline. Iris is now in the position 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 last year, keeping this secret is not going to be so easy. It’s going to be weighing on her, before she finally decides to take some action, in an upcoming episode.
It’s definitely Joe’s son?
KREISBERG: It’s Joe’s son.
How did you decide on Jefferson Jackson for this new version of Firestorm?
KREISBERG: 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 Stein and Ronnie were so different. In the comic books, Ronnie was a dumb jock. Robbie [Amell] and the character we created for our Ronnie was an engineer who’s more mature and has a girlfriend and is more of an adult. So, the idea of a second Firestorm was to have it be someone who is just in his early 20s and is somebody who is radically different from the last Firestorm. There’s a lot more room for comedy with the Firestorm character than we’ve previously had before. We love Franz [Drameh]. He’s so good, if you haven’t seen Attack the Block. It’s just a different face. It’s a freshness and an excitement. Honestly, as always, we’re so proud to have another African-American superhero with super powers. For a whole generation of kids growing up where this show is their entree into the superhero world, Firestorm will always be African-American, and we’re so proud of that.
Now that Barry has seen Wells, will you pick up the next episode where that left off?
KREISBERG: The next episode opens in a slightly surprising way. This is going to come to a giant shock to everyone, but I’m a fan of Doctor Who and I think that 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, but you aren’t quite where you thought you were going to be. Obviously, the scene will play out, but how it unfolds in Episode 5 is really exciting. You’re going to get a lot of answers to questions that you probably have.
Will we see it from Wells’ perspective?
Are we dealing with a Harrison Wells doppelganger, or are we dealing with Eobard Thawne as Harrison Wells’ doppelganger?
KREISBERG: Part of watching the show is learning all of that stuff.
Will Wells be the only doppelganger that we see?
KREISBERG: No. It’s about to go doppelganger-a-go-go on this show. With time travel last year, we tried to ease everybody into it, and we’re doing the same thing here. Jay came over and we established the idea of Earth-2. We’ve had it playing in the background for Episodes 3 and 4, just to remind everybody that the show is still The Flash and you’re still going to get the typical Flash episodes that tie into the normal mythology of the show. Now, we’re really going to pick up, with Episodes 5, 6 and 7, the Earth-2 storyline. There will be doppelgangers and doubles.
Will Cisco come to terms with and embrace what’s happening with him?
KREISBERG: I don’t want to give too much away, but yeah. For Cisco, this evil man said, “I gave you this gift.” He’s seen what happens to the other meta-humans. Good or bad intentions, they all go nuts and they all get locked up. Cisco is really scared. He doesn’t see what the benefit is yet. He doesn’t see that it really is a gift. He doesn’t see that it’s a blessing and a power that can be used to help people. Right now, all he sees is the nightmare. That’s what’s really scary for him. It’s not like he woke up and can fly. Not only is he scared about what it means to be a meta-human, he also feels that he drew the short straw. Barry got super speed, Ronnie got to fly, and he gets these blinding headaches, nightmare visions of people being killed. It’s not, at first blush, the most heroic way to step into the world.
We saw a glimpse of Caitlin’s future as Killer Frost. How does she feel about not having any powers, at this point?
KREISBERG: She’s got powers. She’s smart.
DANIELLE PANABAKER: She also has the power of often being the only female voice in the room, to boss them around a little bit. I don’t think it consciously occurs to her. It’s just the world she lives in now. Cisco’s new powers come slowly, and there are some complications with all of that. I don’t think Caitlin is particularly jealous of all of these superpowers. She’s a doctor and a nurturer. She wants to make sure everyone is okay.
Are you anxious to see her explore her powers?
PANABAKER: Oh, for sure! Absolutely! I’m so excited for Killer Frost. I can’t wait!
KREISBERG: I was there that day, and she was so happy. It was funny because she looked so incredibly scary, but she was still going, “Isn’t this great?! Don’t I look awful?!”
PANABAKER: I can’t wait! It’s going to be great!
KREISBERG: Knock on wood, Greg [Berlanti], Marc Guggenheim and I, and everybody who works on both shows, have been so blessed with the success that we’ve had. A lot of things we’ve done, we’ve rushed through and gotten to very fast. Because of the success that we’ve had, we knew we’d be on a few years and we could play some of these things like a slow con. Just because one thing is happening fast, it doesn’t mean that something else is never going to happen. It just means that it’s being platformed. These things are being set up. It’s only in hindsight that you look back and go, “Oh, that thing from early in Season 2 tied in to that thing that lead to the other thing.” There are plans for a lot of this stuff.
How did King Shark end up in this last episode?
KREISBERG: We actually put King Shark in the comic book adaptation and said, “No one is ever going to let us do this. We’re never going to be able to do this.” We talked about it and it was really Todd Helbing who was like, “Yeah, let’s do it!” It was a very expensive 30 seconds of the show, but our visual effects team are the best. They love challenges like this. Armen Kevorkian, the head of our team, got so excited. It was probably the thing that he sent me the most samples of. He was like, “Check it out! See how it’s coming!” I can’t believe it. It’s beyond feature quality. They realized it so well. It was just fun for us. We can’t afford to do an entire King Shark episode, so the idea that he’s one of Zoom’s minions is fun. He’s just the latest in the line. And it does mean that there’s a King Shark on Earth-1.
Danielle, how did you feel about getting to play Fay Wray to Grodd’s Kong, for an upcoming episode?
PANABAKER: In Season 1, you got to see just a tiny bit of her relationship with Grodd, and you’ll get to see a little bit more of that and understand their connection from before. He’s got some unfinished business with her.
The Flash airs on Tuesday nights on The CW.