Here’s How John Wesley Shipp Thinks The Flash Has Improved On Its ’90s Counterpart


While John Wesley Ship may not be the only actor to have enjoyed a prolific career in the superhero genre, he’s one of the few to have embodied various characters pertaining to one specific icon. As you may recall, he played the Scarlet Speedster himself, Barry Allen, in the Flash TV show that aired back in 1990, before voicing Eobard Thawne AKA the Reverse-Flash on Batman: The Brave and the Bold years later.

Of course, he’s further cemented his legacy by appearing in two distinct roles on the currently running Flash series in recent years: First as Barry’s dad, Henry Allen, and now as the Flash of Earth-3, Jay Garrick. Oddly enough, the latter is the doppelganger of the former, which made for some awkward moments at first.

Naturally, it’s someone like Shipp who’s qualified to speak of the differences that have come with filming this character in two distinctly different eras. And in a recent interview with Cinema Blend, he pointed out the obvious, citing improved technology as a real benefit:

“In the 90s, we didn’t have the possibility of CGI to the extent that they have now, so like in our pilot, when I’m cleaning up the room and it turns into a tornado in the living room, that took forever to shoot because I had to actually go around the inside of the circle and pick up clothes and pick up clothes, and then they brought in my double to go counterclockwise on the outside of the circle, and then they had to have air cannons and blow all the clothes.

In other words, it couldn’t be drawn in in post, and so it took forever. Running around the track where they sped up, where I’m testing the new suit, we had to run around the track!

“I’m not saying that the new show is easy by any means. These kind of shows are, as you know, incredibly difficult to shoot, but there is a lot that the digital doubles can now do. Which was a very peculiar experience, going to LA to be digitally scanned for my digital double, and I was like, ‘Oh, can you take a little bit off my waist? How about my arms?’ You’re being scanned for your digital double and so you get to a certain point in the script now and you know that D.D., as I call my digital double, is gonna take over.”

The Flash

He really is right on that count, as there are so many characters and stories adapted for both big and small screens these days that simply wouldn’t have been possible in decades prior. Of course, costuming has also taken a big leap forward, as Shipp confessed:

“Of course I don’t have the cowl now, so it’s hotter for Grant. But they don’t have to glue that cowl to his face. Because once I was in that cowl in 1990, I was in. It was glued under my chin, across my cheeks and my face. Well, they now don’t have to do that. And the cowl can come off. So it certainly has improved. There’s no necessity for a cooling unit under the suit like I had, like race car drivers wear, that had tubing and they’d pull the tube out in between scenes and plug me into an ice chest, circulate ice water through the vest to kind of wake me up. There’s no need for that now. Thank God.”

That sounds uncomfortable, to say the least. Having read that, we have all the more reason to thank guys like Shipp and Michael Keaton for being those who had to endure the growing pains that came along with the maturing superhero genre. From the sound of it, Grant Gustin is probably among those who are most grateful.

The Flash airs on Tuesday nights on The CW.