The Flash showrunner talks season seven and Ralph Dibny recasting
Like many shows this year, the latest season of The Flash was cut-short due to Covid-19. A number plot threads were left dangling in the season finale, not least Iris still trapped in the Mirrorverse and Barry loosing his powers. Season seven - which is due to start production shortly and will air is the US in January 2021 - will spend the first few episodes picking up those pieces, show-runner Eric Wallace has confirmed.
One of the biggest questions hanging over season seven is what will happen to fan favourite Ralph Dibny/Elongated Man, after the actor playing him,Hartley Sawyer, was fired back in June following the discovery of historic racist and misogynistic tweets. Talking to Entertainment Weekly, Wallace has said that Ralph will technically be recast for the start of season seven as his character's story isn't quite finished yet.
"In order to wrap that up, which we're going to do at the top of season 7, Ralph has to be part of that. Now thank goodness, Ralph is a guy who can change faces and his appearance in many ways. Without giving any spoilers away, there are a couple of ways that we can have Elongated Man still appear in at least one episode this season to wrap that story line up, that gets us what we need and still allows fans to say goodbye to the character, at least for the indefinite future."
In the season six finale, Eva McCulloch framed Sue Dearbon ( a character that married Ralph in the comics) - for murdering Joseph Carver, with Ralph vowing to protect her. Once that cliffhanger is resolved, Ralph will be gone for a while...
"It's funny, I guess technically it would be a recasting, but the character won't be a big part of season 7. He'll only be a part of just wrapping up the Sue story line. Yes, one could say it is a recasting, but we're going to do it in a way that I think honours the spirit of the character and provides not only a satisfying conclusion to Sue's murder mystery, but also it's done with some humour."
Wallace went on to say that once that cliffhanger is resolved, Ralph will be gone for a while...
"The beauty of comic book stories and superhero stories are the conventions that heroes come and go, but they never fade away and they never disappear entirely. So we're going to treat it like we would if we were writing a comic book graphic novel. We're giving the Elongated Man a bit of a rest for while. But we will leave the door open. Who knows what the future could bring. It is unknown. But I'm not saying by any means that it's the end of the character, in fact, quite the opposite. We just don't know when he will return, or in what form he will return. And that's the beauty of comic book stories. It keeps it fresh."
The show runner added that the original plans for Ralph in season seven have changed somewhat...
There was a whole story line that involved Ralph with another character in particular going off on a two hander journey — a season-long [arc] that would have involved a whole bunch of twists and turns that would have played into the season's big bad, which I don't want to spoil. And yeah, we can't do that anymore. However, as is always the case, and this is why I like planning ahead, it turns out to be a situation of some lemons and we made lemonade out of it. We pulled the Elongated Man out of this particular story line, and the story line became so much stronger because now it's focused on the other character, [who] I don't want to reveal because it's a surprise.
"For that other character, it became a much more of an emotional journey. And this other character I'm referring to is one of our series regulars, so it's going to be very exciting. That particular character now gets to go somewhere that we never imagined they would until many seasons down the line, but we just pulled that up. So I think it's going to be really fun. And it was a good way to, like I said, make an awkward situation into a great opportunity that ends up making Team Flash as a whole, stronger."
At the DC Fandome this weekend, the first teaser for season seven was also released. It's likely any new footage is what was left behind when season six filming came to a halt, but it does give an idea of where the show will be heading when it returns next year.
The Flash airs in the UK on Sky One. Check out our full season six reviews - and our TDF Top 10 celebrating the 10 greatest episodes - here.