When the CW's The Flash returns for its sixth season on October 8, it'll return with a new showrunner, Eric Wallace, who has ambitious plans for the show and its structure.
The Flash's sixth season will be split into what he describes as "graphic novels", with the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" December/January crossover inbetween. But at the same time, the entire season will essentially tie into the coming "Crisis."
"'Crisis' is not separate from any story throughout the entire 22 episodes," Wallace told Newsarama. "Even after 'Crisis,' the fallout from it continues to build and screw with Team Flash. In the first pre-'Crisis' episodes, as the big bad is getting introduced, like we always do – we will see a relationship of what’s coming in 'Crisis' with what’s happening to Barry with what’s happening to the new big bad. They are all interrelated."
"Once we reveal the new big bad, especially once we get around episode 3,4, and 5 you’ll understand exactly why this big bad was chosen," Wallace added. "It’s very specific and only could have been chosen in this year of 'Crisis' because dread is hanging all over Team Flash – dread, sorrow. The potential loss of not only your loved ones but the entire world. That’s not happy."
Sendhil Ramamurthy has already been announced as joining The Flash as the villain Bloodwork, but as Wallace and Grant Gustin tell us, there's more than meets the eye.
"It’s a different type of big bad than we’ve had," Gustin said. "He’s connected to Caitlyn initially, there’s a history there. Barry wants to give him the benefit of the doubt when we meet, and there’s kind of going to be a connection initially that’s going to mess with Barry a little bit. This is his classic biggest problem - letting someone in and then they stab him in the back."
While there's a lot of new things to focus on, The Flash isn't forgetting one of the big cliffhangers from this spring's season five finale - namely Hartley Sawyer's Ralph Dibney discovering a folder with the name "Dearbon" on it - Sue Dibney's maiden name in comic books.
"I can’t tell you when we are going to meet her, but we are going to see them," Sawyer confirmed to Newsarama. "What I can tell you is that in the first episode we are going to already explore how that’s affecting him and what he’s doing with following that file he got last season – the Dearbon file, and seeing what’s going on with that. We are going to jump right into that. I’m very excited about that, and just realized I’m a little nervous about that too. It’s like a big thing for the Ralph character. All roads lead to Sue."
It's been a rough road for Gustin's Barry Allen and Candice Patton's Iris West, especially after the loss of Nora Allen. That will be followed up on in the new episodes this fall.
"A death of a child I don’t think is something you ever move on from, and that’s the theme that we deal with very early on with Barry and Iris. It’s 10 seconds after Season 5, where we pick up with Season 6," Patton said. "Obviously, they are both still very distraught and still dealing with the death of their daughter, which they really only had a short amount of time to get to know. So, it’s very raw and fresh. They struggle with the appropriate way to deal so they can move on in a healthy way and deal with being members of Team Flash and dealing with the upcoming 'Crisis on Infinite Earths'."
"I think in classic Barry fashion, he’s a little bit in denial with how much it’s messing with him," Gustin added. "When we first come back he’s obviously having a really hard time with accepting the 'death' - her vanishing. He’s being extra optimistic when we first come back and is really pushing himself to do as much good for the city as he can to fill that hole. But Iris acknowledges that they are both not dealing with it in healthy ways. We have a couple of good scenes where we are with each other, and we kind of figure out the best way to deal with it."
At the same time, Patton's Iris West will be growing as a character - and as a journalist.
"I’ve had a lot of conversations with our new showrunner, he’s on the same page as me," Patton said. "It’s very important to me. It’s important to him. It’s important to the history of The Flash. I think we are finally getting to that. I hope we do it justice. It’s been a long time coming. We are in our sixth season, and for us to only really be getting into Iris being an ace reporter that she’s known to be, it’s a little unfortunate, but I’m glad we’ve gotten there."
"She’s hiring new employees," Patton continues. "We are going to see a lot of new characters showing up at The Citizen. It’s going to be its own set. It’s going to be its own kind of storyline. There’s a lot going on there. You’ll see Dibny popping in a lot since he’s down the hall. It will just give a freshness to the show I think, without everyone being in S.T.A.R. Labs. It’s a new place for Iris to congregate."
While Iris West will be dealing with new employees, Danielle Panabaker will be dealing more and more with playing the dual roles o Caitlyn Snow and Killer Frost.
"I think we are going to see Killer Frost more in charge," Panabaker said. "She’s going to be able to take the wheel and make decisions. Caitlyn is going to take a break for a little while."
"I love that they took the time to explore that a little bit last season," the actor added. "We get to see how they feel about each other and why they want to protect each other and take care of each other. That was one of my favorite parts of last season. I think this season we are going to see a little bit more of Killer Frost interacting with the rest of Team Flash, which is very different than Caitlyn."
Killer Frost will not only have new dynamics, but a new look as well.
"We actually started working on that costume about a year ago. The intention was it to be in Season 5, but it never worked out for it to appear in Season 5, which obviously I was very disappointed about at the time," Panabaker said. "But I’m excited that it’s finally out there now, and I really love the suit."
"There were a lot of things that I really wanted. There are some homages to the comic books, which I love. In the 'Godspeed' episode as well I tried to do as many homages both to the pilot and pay respect to the comic books and the legacy that’s there. I think you see a little bit of that in the suit as well."
The Flash's sixth season begins October 8 on the CW.