The Flash Showrunner Explains Why Tom Cavanagh’s Back As Reverse-Flash
Last year, The Flash‘s 100th episode delivered a major twist in season 5’s ongoing story. In case you missed it, it turns out that Nora West-Allen, Barry and Iris’ daughter from the future, is secretly in league with her dad’s nemesis, Eobard Thawne AKA Reverse-Flash. What’s more, the speedster villain is once again wearing the face of Harrison Wells, as played by Flash regular Tom Cavanagh (who also directed that particular episode, as it happens).
This was a curious development, as Thawne’s own form is played by Matt Letscher. Previously, he’s only appeared with Wells’ face if he wants to go undercover, which is clearly not the case here as Nora already knows who he is. So, why did the team decide to go with the Tom Cavanagh version of the villain this season? Showrunner Todd Helbing was asked this by TV Line and explained that – somehow – this way makes more sense for the timeline.
“No, we love Matt — he’s fantastic as Reverse-Flash, too. But it’s funny, if you plot out the Thawne timeline — I think there’s a version of this online somewhere — it makes more sense, logically, in a weird, time-travel way, that this is the Thawne that we see. Also, the whole theme of this season is “legacy,” so it felt more applicable in the way that we introduce Reverse-Flash, as Wells, for it to play out that way with Tom.”
It’s tough to comment on Helbing’s explanation as we know so little about what’s really going on here. For instance, why is Nora teaming up with Reverse-Flash and sending info from the past back to him? The general theory is that she’s trying to prevent her father’s disappearance in the “crisis” of 2024. We don’t know what Thawne would get out of that, but it’s possible the duo’s meddling with the timeline means the events happen earlier than they should – fall 2019, to be precise, as we know the “Crisis On Infinite Earths” crossover is on its way.
It’s possible we’ll find out the truth of Nora’s involvement with Reverse-Flash as soon as a couple of weeks, as the synopsis for 5×12 “Memorabilia” teases that Barry and Iris discover some of their daughter’s secrets. But first, you can catch the eleventh episode of The Flash season 5 this coming Tuesday on The CW.