Hilton Collins writes
Are you ready? I said… are you READY?
Cuz cast and crewmembers of The Flash just zoomed into Ballroom 20 of San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday evening for a brisk Q & A with fans.
Entertainment Tonight’s Leanne Aguilera moderated the panel, comprising showrunner Todd Helbing, Grant Gustin (Barry Allen aka the Flash, the show’s star), Candace Patton (his wife, Iris West-Allen), Carlos Valdes (Cisco Ramon aka Vibe), Danielle Panabaker (Caitlin Snow aka Killer Frost), Tom Cavanaugh (Harrison Wells), Danielle Nicolette (Cecille Horton), Jessica Parker-Kennedy (Nora Allen aka X-S), and Harley Sawyer (Ralph Dibny)
And of course, the focus went on the upcoming fifth season of the hit CW show that’s based on DC’s most famous fleet-footed crimefighter.
Arguably, the biggest news was that Chris Klein will play the season’s main villain Cicada. In comics, Cicada (real name David Hersch) leads a cult, and his body is a lightning rod for souls. He steals life energy to live forever and gain abilities, including accelerated healing.
But Cicada won’t be exactly the same way in live-action. According to Helbing for example, he won’t lead a cult on the show. And he’s obsessed with the Flash.
“We always take these villains from the comics and put them in our Flash blender.”
Cicada made his cryptic debut in a trailer that was shown at the panel’s start, though his face—and Klien’s was never shown fully because it was covered by fabric. In the clip, Cicada is in a dark apartment room watching footage of the Flash on TV and places a stylized blade on a table. It charges with strange red lightning.
On top of a new bad guy, the fifth season will also feature the show’s one-hundredth episode. Cavanaugh will direct, as he’s done previously for multiple Flash episodes. Panabaker will also direct this season as well, a first for the actor.
“I’m honestly so excited,” she said. “It’s such a rarity to be in a show that gets to almost 100 episodes.” She credited her supportive co-workers for giving her the opportunity.
Helbing said that he’d like for King Shark and Gorilla Grodd to team-up some time in the season’s second half, though plans hadn’t been formalized. There will also be younger versions of the Flash’s famous rogue’s gallery.
Barry will also wear his famous Flash ring from the comics. The audience got their first glimpse of it in a trailer that was shown before the Q&A. His time-displaced daughter from the future, Nora, hands it to him in the footage. Nora made her live-action debut in Season 4.
As for Parker-Smith, who plays Nora, many fans have commented that she looks exactly like what a child of Barry and Iris, as played by Gustin and Patton, would like. Parker-Smith told the audience she never thought about the resemblance until others made her take notice.
“I didn’t really think about it until I was reading all the fans on Instagram saying, ‘Oh my God you look so much like [Candace],” she said.
Nora’s arrival changes a lot. “It’s obviously a brand new dynamic on the show,” Gustin said.
He added that Nora’s pretty clingy with his character, her future father, whereas she’s distant with Iris, her future mother.
“I think it’s weird for Iris to see them bond so easily,” Patton said of Iris’s feelings on Barry and Nora’s chemistry. This makes Iris wonder if she’s destined to be a distant mother.
Both Gustin and Patton said that Season 5 has a lot of Season 1 energy to it. Gustin said that the fifth season’s first episode feels a lot like the very first pilot episode. Patton also said she thinks Iris will return to being a reporter like she was in earlier seasons.
Sawyer was happy that his character, Dibny, will focus on being more on being a detective like comics counterpart. In comics, Ralph Dibny is one of DC’s most famous detectives as the superhero the Elongated Man.
He debuted as the character in Season 4. On TV, Dibny evolved from a self-centered, shady PI into an earnest superhero, and his character even died and returned to life. Sawyer said the producers told him early on about his impended death and resurrection, which reassured him. Otherwise, he would’ve thought he’d be unemployed again.
As for Valdes as Cisco Ramon, his character will have to bounce back after breaking up with Gypsy last season.
“When I look at Cisco’s situation, I feel awful,” he said. He and Sawyer implied that Ralph will help Cisco bounce back by embracing an active bachelorhood and love life.
Nicolette sarcastically joked that she had a very difficult childbirth, but everything’s fine now. She was referring to the baby her character Cecille Horton had with Det. Joe West, played by Jesse L. Martin. Their new baby girl changes the whole household, but she and Joe will return to work and operate as modern parents who juggle work and family life.
The Flash season 5 debuts on Tuesday, October 9 on the CW.