Warning: This article contains spoilers for the series finale of The Flash, “A New World: Part Four.”
The Flash is over, but the ending is actually a new beginning for three more speedsters.
The Arrowverse’s last series finished its run after nine seasons in a full-circle moment as Barry Allen’s (Grant Gustin) voiceover from the pilot returned, but with a twist: Barry was actually narrating while speaking to his newborn daughter, telling her the story of how he became the Flash. And as he spoke to baby Nora while Iris (Candice Patton) watched on, he revealed that it was time to share his speed. He brought about a new age of heroes as Avery Ho (Piper Curda), Max Mercury (Trevor Carroll), and Jess Chambers (Hana Destiny Huggins) — all notable speedsters from the comics — were about to get struck by his lightning.
Bettina Strauss/The CW Grant Gustin as The Flash and John Wesley Shipp as Jay Garrick on ‘The Flash’
“I thought that was really cool,” Gustin says, speaking with EW as part of our latest cover story, about how the series ends with Barry sharing his powers with three new speedsters. “I’ve also missed the voiceovers, honestly. I liked doing those, so as soon as the voiceover kicked in in that last script, I got chills.”
Gustin reveals that he actually worked together with showrunner Eric Wallace to tweak that voiceover a little bit. “I wanted it to feel more exactly like what I was saying in the pilot episode,” he says. “I wanted it to be almost identical until we got to the part where we’re talking about all the new speedsters, and that was cool.” The actor is quick to clarify that he doesn’t like to change too many things from the script, however. “When it came to the writing of the show, I’m not a writer. I was protective of my character and understood what I thought was who he was, and at times what would feel truthful to me. But as far as storyline went, I just let the writers go and I trusted the writers for nine seasons.”
That’s why Gustin loves how the show ends in the series finale, because “that feels very Flash,” he says. “It’s the universe, the multiverse, the Speed Force — it’s all so much bigger than Barry Allen. It felt very appropriate for the note for us to go out on.”
But Gustin had an alternate idea for how he wanted the show to end. “It was a fan theory I saw online about Barry sacrificing himself to the Speed Force and becoming the lightning bolt that struck him in this full circle moment,” he says. “I thought it was cool, and I remember I talked to Eric about it and he was really set on Barry and Iris having a happy ending. He didn’t want to see Barry have a hero’s death the same way Oliver [Stephen Amell] did [on Arrow].”
Bettina Strauss/The CW
After seeing the way Wallace did finish the series in Wednesday’s finale, Gustin is glad they didn’t go with his own idea. “It would’ve taken away from Oliver’s sacrifice if we also had to see Barry make that same sacrifice at the end of Flash, because Oliver sacrificed himself for Barry and for the other heroes to continue,” he says. “Looking back on this, I’ll really appreciate that that’s how Eric wanted to finish things. After everything that we’ve all been through and how consistent Barry and Iris were as a couple, it finishes with them being happy and starting a family and Team Flash moving into the future together. I think it was the right decision and fans will enjoy that.”
But it turns out that Wallace also had an alternate idea years ago for how he wanted to end the show that ultimately didn’t come to fruition. “I got the emotional heart of it, but because there was no season 10, there was just no time to set it up,” he tells EW in our latest cover story (speaking prior to the writers’ strike). “The ending that I did have in mind had the Negative Forces involved. We didn’t get it quite as I wanted but the Negative Forces storyline would’ve been far, far bigger.”
And the alternate endings just keep on coming, because previous Flash showrunner Todd Helbing (who ran seasons 2-5 and now helms Superman & Lois) also tells EW (speaking prior to the writers’ strike) that not one but two of his original series finale ideas didn’t happen either.
“I always thought that it was going to end with the newspaper: ‘Flash vanishes in crisis,'” Helbing says. “Obviously, once Crisis happened, can’t do that anymore. And I had a similar thought to Barry becoming the lightning that struck him, where he gets caught in the future and the only way to protect him from Reverse-Flash is to basically create himself. I thought that would’ve been a cool ending.”
Despite all these alternate endings, the current showrunner is proud of how The Flash actually does finish. “Where we get Barry Allen to at the end of the series finale is incredibly satisfying for myself, and Grant told me how satisfying it was for him putting a bookend and seeing where the emotional state of the character ends,” Wallace says. “I hope the fans also can feel that same sense of completion and closure as Barry Allen really achieves his full potential and also finally closes the door on past demons.”
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