Keeping Up with The Flash at SDCC

by JC Alvarez
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San Diego Comic-Con 2015 is a memory. The 4-Day celebration of all things in comic books, sci-fi and fantasy is now over! The manic cries of anxious fans reacting to teaser trailers and sizzle reels after spending hours in long lines to zig-zag their way onto a coveted seat inside of the fabled Hall H, have for now been sedated. Thousands of diehard fanboys and the ladies that love them, descended on the Pacific coast city of California to gear up for cosplay comparisons, pony up to their favorite big screen action heroes and glimpse into the future of primetime’s upcoming fall premieres!

With nearly 200 new genre shows entering into the fray and yearning to grab our undivided fan adulation. Returning favorites including The CW’s Arrow and iZombie, and FOX”s Gotham will be joined by high-flying new-comers including Supergirl on CBS and NBC’s Lucifer replaces the cancelled Constantine. One returning show hadn’t even premiered yet when it was introduced at last year’s SDCC, but as it enters its Season 2 The Flash is showing serious signs of momentum, as the show’s stars were among the more popular at Comic-Con helping to keep Grant Gustin very light on his feet.

Gustin was introduced as CSI investigator Barry Allen on an episode of Arrow. The Flash would launch on its parent network The CW later that fall . Even though a low-res version of the pilot had been leaked online, it screened in Hall H to an over-sold room of eager conventions goers — and in an instant lightning had struck! Theoretically for the second time! Arrow was an unprecedented hit for the network, and series creators Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg were eager to spin-out a companion show that could capitalize on the target success of the Emerald Archer.

Eager to introduce “super-powered elements” into Arrow’s mostly urban street turf war tactics, It made perfect sense that the Flash would be the likeliest character to realize for the small screen. After all, The Flash had already proven it had legs once before in primetime. Though it only lasted for one season on CBS, The Flash was first brought to life in 1990 and was played by actor John Wesley Shipp. Leaving an indelible impression on the creators of Arrow the producers went to work to integrate Barry Allen into the world of Oliver Queen and establish a workably televised DC Universe!

The Flash premiered in the fall of 2014 to much critical acclaim and immediately made stars of its fresh faced new cast including Gustin in the lead role, Candice Patton (as Iris West, Barry’s star-crossed sweetheart), Danielle Panabaker (as Dr. Caitlin Snow and someday villain “Killer Frost”), Carlos Valdes (as Cisco Ramon — he’s got vibes) and sported TV veterans Jesse L. Martin (as Det. Joe West) and Tom Cavanagh (as Dr. Harrison Wells). The show even got the “original” Flash to suit up for the reboot…John Wesley Shipp returned to Central City as Henry Allen — Barry’s dad.

Week after week, The Flash grew in audience with a mix of fast-faced adventure, sci-fi tech, and super-powered rogues that remained very true to the comic book character, and worked wonderfully to inspire an episodic following with its human drama and heartfelt emotion. Many fans agreed that the father and son dynamic between Gustin and Shipp is part of the formula that helped solidify the show as a favorite. That the Flash eventually took on the menace of a talking gorilla and made the occasional “all-star” team-up crossing over with Arrow was icing on the cake!

So it’s not a surprise that expectations were very high when the cast reunited to tease Season 2 of the landmark series that was hailed on the “most successful show to premiere on The CW”. Though you wouldn’t register the slightest bit of uncomfortable pressure among the assembled cast attending SDCC 2015 to bring fans up to speed on the upcoming new season. Already in production on the Second Season opener, the cast played with a casual familiarity that is evidenced of a well-tuned assembled. Tom Cavanagh and Grant Gustin may play arch rivals on the show, but that is hardly the case.

Both actors along with Carlos Valdes have a friendly camaraderie that easily extends to the ladies in the group. Patton and Panabaker were just as able to keep up with the boys as they were looking gorgeously glamorous after only minutes of make-up and prep. Though he mostly guest starred during the premiere season as Barry’s still incarcerated father, John Wesley Shipp seamlessly inserts himself into the cast hijinks especially during the on-camera interviews that will appear promoting the new season on The CW. By 9:30am the cast of The Flash are off and running joined by Andrew Kreisberg.

It’s a marathon whirlwind after that, with rare breaks and opportunities to snatch candid selfies which are approved as a group consensus before launched onto the Internet. The cast gets split into two groups when interviewed for MTV — just outside of the hotel suite turned into a mobile studio, Patton and Valdes take photos with fans, as Gustin shares his thoughts with another fan on the casting of a recent web-slinger. Cavanagh and Shipp compare interview notes, discussing just how much to reveal about the new season, as executive producer Andrew Kreisberg works to reign in some leaked surprises.

"The Flash" cast SDCC 2015

The cast of The CW’s hit series “The Flash” including Tom Cavanagh, Carlos Valdes, John Wesley Shipp, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Grant Gustin and Andrew Kreisberg take to the Press Room at SDCC.

During the interview with the Los Angeles Times Hero Complex the word had spread that another speedster would be joining the show — Jay Garrick will be played by actor Teddy Sears and will introduce a pivotal plot point of Season 2: the revelation of the multiverse. It’s only 10:35am and Kreisberg was saving this bit of info for the panel to take place later that evening in Hall H, but the word has been spreading like wildfire! It continues to follow the group through to their interview with E! News (11:00am) and into the mob scene that awaits them in the Press Room.

Inside the cast juggles duties working the roundtable interviews and the press line, but everyone is asking the same question: Is Jay Garrick appearing in Season 2? Giving into the pressures of fashion, Panabaker decides to lose her high-heeled shoes and skips through the press line in her bare feet — revealing a very “un-killer” side of her character’s frosty exterior. Having been glimpse as her villainous alter-ego in the season finale, Panabaker shared that although she’s been fitted in her suit, Killer Frost may have to wait until this season’s arc unravels.

Stay tuned for more! This is only Part 1 of our exclusive “behind-the-scenes” look at The Flash at SDCC.

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