Earlier today, The CW hosted a Q&A press conference with actor Grant Gustin, who will be playing Barry Allen/The Flash on Arrow and a hopeful Arrow spin-off that will have a pilot shot in a few months. Joining him in the Q&A were Arrow Executive Producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg as well as DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns. All three men were involved with the writing of the two Arrow episodes to feature Gustin as Barry Allen; the first of those episodes, “The Scientist,” airs this Wednesday, December 4 on The CW.
Fans of Glee might recall Grant Gustin as playing the dastardly slushie-throwing Warbler Sebastian — and immediately, it is obvious that Barry Allen is a much nicer fellow. “I immediately thought he was really funny and endearing, and I hadn’t done anything like that,” Gustin says about his impression of the Barry Allen role. “I had a lot of fun with that, just throughout the audition process; they kind of started steering me in that direction immediately. They said to just have fun with it, and I kind of took it from there,” he says.
“He’s fun to play. He’s likable. I would be his friend. I haven’t had the opportunity to play a character that I would actually enjoy spending time with,” he laughs. “So, that’s nice.”
DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns also has nice things to say about why Grant was the best choice for Barry Allen. “He’s earnest,” Johns says. “Grant as an actor has brought more to Barry Allen than I think we’ve seen before, especially seeing him in the days of when he’s taking his first steps. But he’s got that heart. He’s got humor. He’s got a compassion. Barry was always a nice guy; he’s the guy that stops to make sure that everyone’s all right, and then keeps going, and Grant embodies that. He’s a perfect Flash.”
Barry heads to Starling City to investigate a strange matter that is going on in town. Once there, he immediately sparks a kinship with Emily Bett Rickards’ Felicity Smoak. The Barry-Felicity interaction might have an effect on how she and Oliver relate going forward. “Especially with the way the season has been going, with Oliver and Felicity and their growing relationship or feelings for each other, the fact that Barry and Felicity are so similar, and they’re both sort of uncomfortable in their own skins, and they’re both very likable and personable, they just seem like they would instantly hit it off, which would just complicate things for Oliver even more. It felt like the right way to go,” Andrew Kreisberg explains.
“I think for Oliver, Oliver isn’t quite sure what he feels,” Kreisberg continues. “He knows he feels something for her, but he can’t quite define it, and I think he’s sort of surprised to find [in “The Scientist” he might be jealous]. For Felicity, I think she doesn’t want to like Oliver, in a way, because she finds him unattainable, and in a way, he is unattainable, especially when you saw the end of Episode 6 where he said ‘It’s better if I’m not with somebody I care about.’ So I think that while she really does like Barry, I think she probably throws even more into it, because now he’s somebody who is available. It’s certainly something we pick up in Episode 10, because the fallout from Episode 9 carries over into the next episodes, as far as the Oliver and Felicity relationship is concerned. Barry has a profound effect on them, and that will carry through.”
Gustin’s Arrow episodes will lead into a hopeful Flash series, with a pilot episode being directed by David Nutter in early 2014. Kreisberg, Berlanti, and Johns are all involved on the creative side. Kreisberg feels that Barry is a character that the audience can get behind.
“Barry is the ultimate fanboy,” he says. “And in a way, Barry is us. He represents the audience.”
See some images from the Arrow episode “The Scientist” here – don’t miss it at 8PM Wednesday, December 4 on The CW!