Just over a month ago, Hartley Sawyer was fired from The Flash due to the resurfacing of some offensive tweets from his past. To date, we don’t know how the show will handle his exit. It’s possible that he’ll be recast, but Batwoman replacing Kate Kane with a new character following Ruby Rose’s resignation suggests Ralph Dibny will be simply written out, too. There are a few ways the writers could go about this and the most dramatic would be to kill him off.
ScreenRant has come up with a theory that argues that killing Ralph would be the best thing to do, too, as it could set up the next big Arrowverse crossover. DC fans will know that Identity Crisis, one of the darkest storylines in the comic book universe’s history, kicked off with the murder of Sue Dibny. The Justice League was torn apart as all their dirty secrets came out and the eventual killer was revealed – Atom’s ex-wife, Jean Loring.
Identity Crisis was already obliquely referenced in The Flash season 6, with Sue’s introductory episode featuring John Loring, a crime boss clearly named after Jean. It was clear from this switch-up that the show has no intention of killing off Sue, a hugely controversial move in the comics. But what if Sawyer’s firing leads them to take inspiration from Sue’s death and kill off Ralph instead?
The next major crossover – presumably coming in the 2021/22 season – would then explore the newly-formed League investigating Ralph’s demise, inspired by Identity Crisis. This is a bold idea, and it would be somewhat dramatically neat to have the private detective become the victim in a huge mystery. However, it would also be very dark for The Flash and a tragic fate for the character to meet.
As SR says, though, if Ralph has to go, then wouldn’t we rather something big and dramatic instead of an underwhelming off-hand explanation in the season premiere and then never have him referenced again?