The Flash lost one of its leads following the conclusion of its sixth season. Hartley Sawyer, who’s played Ralph Dibny/Elongated Man on The CW series since season 4, was fired with immediate effect after many offensive tweets from his past were rediscovered. What fans have been wondering ever since, then, is whether the character will be simply written out or if he’ll be recast. As it happens, it turns out the answer is a little bit of both.
While speaking to Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Eric Wallace revealed the first details about how season 7 will tackle the loss of Sawyer. Firstly, the EP revealed that, yes, Ralph will be recast to some extent, but only so that they can wrap up any lingering plot threads and get him out the way for the rest of the season.
“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 storyline,” Wallace explained. “Yes, one could say it is a recasting, but we’re going to do it in a way that I think honors the spirit of the character and provides not only a satisfying conclusion to Sue’s murder mystery, but also it’s done with some humor.”
In the season 6 finale, Mirror Master framed Ralph’s new love interest – and future wife, according to the comics – Sue Dearbon for murder. This twist will be sorted out at the beginning of season 7, Wallace went on to promise. So for that they needed a new actor to play Ralph. Handily, the hero is able to alter his appearance, thanks to his elastic skin, so this shouldn’t break canon in any way.
“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,” Wallace added. “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 storyline up, that gets us what we need and still allows fans to say goodbye to the character, at least for the indefinite future.”
By the sounds of it, then, we’ll get one episode with someone else playing Ralph before the character is packed off for the remainder of the season. But it’s possible the door will be left open for a return at a later date if they figure out how to recast him properly. For now, though, fans of Elongated Man will have to put up with him being written out. Maybe he and Sue go on the run and flee Central City? This would explain why Ralph changes his face, to go incognito.
Remember, The Flash won’t be returning to our screens this fall as usual, but will instead air its seventh season in January 2021.