The Flash showrunner Todd Helbing told Newsarama that the theme for the upcoming fifth season is "legacy" - and key to that is the question of if Barry Allen will be a good father.
For those who might have missed a few episodes, you might be saying - "What? Barry Allen is a TV dad?" That's right. In the season 4 finale, Nora Allen - Barry and Iris' child from the future - was revealed to be living in modern times, and reveals her identity to The Flash's central characters. Jessica Parker Kennedy, who plays Nora, said that she brings tension to Barry and Iris' relationship - including but not limited to an as-yet-unspoken reason why Nora prefers Barry over Iris.
"Something has obviously happened for me to feel much closer to my father than my mother," Kennedy said. "It’s something you’ll find out relatively early on in the season."
Kennedy said that Nora - who in some comic book storylines has become a superhero of her own - is a lot like Barry.
"Personality-wise, I think she’s a lot like Barry. Certainly, the way Barry was early on. She’s finding her footing. She’s goofy, she’s dorky, she’s very young spirited. She is prone to making mistakes and other people needing to clean them up," Kennedy said. "That’s just sort of where she’s at right now. She’s in the experimental phase of her life.”
Kennedy reveals that the secret identity of her character wasn't just an on-screen secret, but also one on-set.
"It was awful because it was on set that people didn’t know. Like Grant knew - the big characters knew, but there were a lot of people that - like Hartley didn’t know for a really long time, hair and make-up didn’t know, costumes didn’t know," said Kennedy. "It was something that I had to keep so secret. People were coming up to me and guessing all the time, and I’m a horrible liar. So I was thinking if only I can wear sunglasses to work, and then just take them off when I shoot my scenes and then put my sunglasses back on because I couldn’t make eye contact with anyone."
Hartley Sawyer's role in The Flash as Ralph Dibney has been upgraded to series regular this year, and Helbing said he will be living up more to his character's comic book traits - well the other one, in addition to elongating.
"Ralph is going to be doing a lot more detecting this year than he did last season, and I think the description of Elongated Man was that he has the detective skills that rivals Batman’s. So we want to get him on his journey in that regard this season.”
Speaking of journey, Keiynan Lonsdale's roundabout journey as Kid Flash comes full circle back from DC's Legends of Tomorrow for an appearance early on in The Flash's fifth season.
"You will see Wally in the first episode. He is in three episodes this season," Helbing told Newsarama. "We don’t have as much time with Kid Flash as I think everyone would like to see, but the story we have for him is really cool."
The story for series regular Danielle Panabaker is expanding into a behind-the-scenes role, as she will be directing an episode of The Flash this fall - the first for a female cast member for any of the DC-CW shows.
"I shadowed a lot in Season 4 and Tom Cavanagh in particular has been really generous with his time and his support and guidance," Panabaker told Newsarama. "Then this summer I did a program led by Warner Brothers specifically for first time directors. I did all of those things and I’m not directing until later in the season – not until episode 18. I have a little bit of time to learn and absorb as much as I can."
Additional prep involves something The Flash fans already do - but in a different way: watching the finished episodes.
"We have to make a 42-minute television show every 8 to 9 days, essentially, and that can be very difficult at times. I think the more you understand the limitations of our small budget in comparison to a feature, our time restraints, and those sort of things," she said. "It will help you support the show in a different way. I think I am the only cast member that still watches The Flash, and I do that to understand the show that is being made. It’s interesting, they’ve really leaned into the improv and the comedy in the last couple of years and unless you are watching the show you don’t really know that."
The Flash returns for its fifth season on the CW October 9.