Hartley Sawyer’s sudden firing from The Flash couldn’t have come at a more inconvenient time for the show, which was in the midst of a major new storyline for Ralph Dibny when season 6 wrapped up. Sue Dearbon, as played by Natalie Dreyfuss, had just been introduced, beginning the classic comic book romance between the Elongated Man and his future wife.
While speaking to Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Eric Wallace confirmed that Ralph will be written out of the series following Sawyer’s exit. However, fans don’t need to worry about Sue as she’ll continue to have a recurring presence in season 7. Wallace admitted it was a bit of a challenge to come up with a way for her to return without Ralph, but he’s happy with what the writers have devised.
“You’re going to see Sue more than once this year even without the Elongated Man — on her own, making appearances, and helping Team Flash in an unexpected way. And it’s just going to be hilarious because she was so much fun,” Wallace revealed, adding that continuing to have Sue on the show was “one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever had to make as a showrunner. I called up Natalie and said, ‘Don’t worry, you’re still going to be part of this season. We’ll find a way.’ Now, when I told her that, to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure [how]. But I am happy to report we found a way.”
The season 6 finale saw Sue framed for the murder of Joseph Carver by Eva McCulloch. Wallace revealed that, yes, Sue will get her named cleared, which will leave her free to interact with the various members of Team Flash in fun new ways now that her storyline won’t revolve around Ralph.
“Now we can expand her character and give her more backstory and more growth in ways that we hadn’t initially planned,” Wallace continued. “[It’s] really exciting to see how she’s going to interact more with Team Flash once her name has been cleared — because we are going to clear her name obviously. But then what’s the reason for her to come back to Central City? And that’s going to be a bit of her story this season. You try to take lemons and make lemonade, and suddenly, now Sue’s possibilities are wide open. And we have a particular storyline that she’s going to help us out with, [specifically] with one of our villains this season that we would have never gotten to had not the circumstances changed. So it is going to be, I think, fun and unexpected for the audience, as much as it was for us to write.”
In this same chat with EW, Wallace explained that Ralph will be briefly recast for an early episode that will write him out of the show for the remainder of the season. The recast will be waved away as the character using his elastic skin to change his appearance. While Elongated Man fans may miss the hero, it sounds like his exit could actually be a good thing for Sue as she’ll be given room to develop into a more rounded character in her own right.
The Flash season 7 won’t be kicking off on The CW until January 2021, along with the rest of the Arrowverse series. As always, though, watch this space for further updates.