This week’s episode of The Flash (“The Flash Of Two Worlds”) introduces one of the seminal figures in Barry Allen’s life — the Flash of Earth 2 (the “original Flash”, if you will), a.k.a. Jay Garrick. But what brings him to Central City? How does he figure into this season’s plot? And how does our own Crimson Comet feel about meeting another speedster? Actor Teddy Sears, who plays Garrick on the CW hit, spoke with us one-on-one recently about all of the above…
Nerdist: Many of us longtime Flash time fans have read about Jay Garrick our whole lives, but this is the first time we’ve seen him come to life in live action. What’s the experience been like so far?
Teddy Sears: It’s been absolutely wonderful for me. I’ve been so excited ever since I found out that the character was gonna be Jay Garrick. I should say that when I auditioned, I didn’t know that I was auditioning for Jay Garrick. They kept that whole thing under wraps. I had an idea of what his character would be to Barry for the season, and a bit of a background, the life this guy had led. But I had no idea it was Jay Garrick.
I did not read Flash as a kid, but I absolutely knew who he was, and absolutely knew who Jay Garrick was. But I was a comic book fan as a kid. I still have my early, early Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Wolverines that are at my apartment here. [Laughs] But it’s been very exciting because I understand that we haven’t seen Jay Garrick in live action specifically, all helmeted up and everything. It also feels important. That sounds hokey. But it feels substantial. It’s really weighty, being able to put the helmet on and being able to play this guy. I’m thrilled that the bosses over there have entrusted me to do it.
TS: Yeah, you used the right word. It is that of a mentor. It’s like coach-athlete. Probably the best thing I could say is maybe even big brother-little brother. A guy who’s had a bit more experience. He’s got more years on him. He’s experienced more and he’s figured out a bit more about himself, and he’s attempting to impart his knowledge to Barry, to prop him up when he’s feeling bad. But also to teach him things too. He needs Barry to learn things about himself, to realize that he can go deeper in his powers than he’s ever imagined he could. Jay’s motivations are archetypal. Zoom is my mortal enemy, and he has stolen my speed. So I’m not able to fight him myself now, here in Earth 1… “So you, Barry, have the speed. You are capable of doing this. But here are some things you need to know, some things that I perfected on my Earth through my experiences. Let me introduce them to you, and let me convince you are that you are able to do this.” That’s been terribly fun for me.
N: Given Barry’s recent history with male role models, like Harrison Wells, and with his father leaving town, is there some reluctance on his part to accept a new mentor?
TS: One hundred percent. He is understandably very leery of accepting anyone else new into his life. He’s not quick to lend trust when Jay arrives. He explains in episode 2 specifically who he is, how he got there, what his intentions are. Barry will not take him at his word. He will not take him at face value. He’s got to put him through a number of tests. He’s basically going to not find himself in the same position that he found himself in with Harrison Wells in season 1. He says he’s had a very bad experience with his mentor, father figure, in season 1. Then Jay slowly has to convince Barry he is who he says he is. One by one STAR Labs, begins to fall in line with who this guy is and Barry will do the same. But it takes time to get there.
N: Will we see you for the remainder of the season?
TS: Yes. Not in every episode, but I’m in definitely the majority. We’ve been discussing further dates. I have no idea what’s to come. But I’m just thrilled to be a part of this group, and I think Jay has much more to teach Barry.
N: Is it possible Jay may introduce some of his fellow heroes from Earth 2 to Earth 1?
TS: That is a good question. That’s probably the one I’ve considered before. And the writers have not indicated to me at least, one way or another. I feel like they’ve been quick to say, “Well, anything can happen, man. Just wait.” There’s a whole massive boatload of people who can come from Earth 2. Or he could also be introducing his family. But they honestly haven’t told me one way or another. I get the script like everyone else and it’s like, “Oh, that’s who we’re fighting this week!” or “Oh, that’s what’s going on!”
N: This isn’t the first time you’ve played a DC superhero. You portrayed Batman in an episode of David Letterman’s show.
TS: [Laughs] Yeah. Only one sketch made it to air, but we shot a bunch of these. Letterman and the writers thought it was really funny that he doesn’t really have any sort of abilities; he’s just this sort of guy who walks around in a suit. Yeah, he’s got the utility belt… So they threw me out into the streets of New York. It was all scripted. I wasn’t just walking up to strangers or anything. But one of the skits that didn’t make it to air was when this guy on the street says, “Oh, you’re Batman.” We get to talking and he keeps asking if I can do this or that or that. I keep saying, “No.” Then he mugs me and he takes off. So… Laughs.] It didn’t make it to air, but I thought the premise was good. But this is the first time that I get to do it for real.
N: Are you looking forward to seeing fans cosplaying as Jay Garrick?
TS: Very much. I hope to go to whatever conventions or events will have me. I’m looking forward to meeting the fans of the show, and the fans of the Flash and Jay Garrick. I can learn a lot from them. I’m just excited about some personal interaction. I think it’s gonna be a lot of fun.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.