One of the dominating events of 2020 is the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and other associated social justice protests. The tragic incidents that have taken place over the past few months have seen public opinion turn against the police to some extent and many are interested to see how the countless TV series out there that have cop protagonists will deal with this. It seems even a superhero show like The Flash will tackle the quandary and explore “the societal changes” happening in its next season.
Showrunner Eric Wallace spoke to Entertainment Weekly recently and revealed that Joe West’s storyline in season 7 will be directly inspired by the police brutality that has caused so much distress and discussion this year, saying:
“Joe’s storyline this season is inspired by the societal changes happening in today’s world,” Wallace said. “Because with everything we’re all waking up to each day in 2020, I felt there was a great opportunity here — even within our fantastical family-oriented show — to comment indirectly on truths folks could easily recognize. And do so in an entertaining way.”
Apparently, Jesse L. Martin’s character, who’s Captain of the Central City Police Department, will be “challenged” by a situation based on real-world events. Wallace teased that Joe will be faced with “injustice,” perhaps from within his own department, and he’s not going to ignore it.
“As we’re working our way through Joe’s wonderful story line this year, Joe gets challenged by the events of the world that are going on nowadays. Of course, in a sci-fi superhero way because we’re on a superhero show. And he really rises up,” he said. “I’m so proud of the character and I’m so excited for Jesse to take Joe in just a little bit of a new direction. Because Joe’s a good man with a good heart. And if he sees injustice, he’s not a person who turns a blind eye to it. He’s a person who says something and does something.”
Of course, the Arrowverse is no stranger to dealing with contemporary issues through a sci-fi lens. Supergirl has probably done so the most, with its exploration of the immigration crisis, presidential corruption and the likes across its seasons. Arrow also dabbled in it, too, as one episode dealt with gun violence, for example. The Flash hasn’t typically gone down this road so much, but clearly season 7 will in a big way.
Off-screen, The Flash has been affected by another of 2020’s big news stories, the pandemic. Season 6 had to wrap up three episodes early, so season 7 will have to kick off by wrapping up last season’s story when it returns to The CW in January 2021.