News of original Flash TV star John Wesley Shipp’s involvement in the CW’s new Flash show has been circulating since February, with speculation as to what Shipp’s recurring role could be running the gamut from the original comic book Flash Jay Garrick (or, as he was once known, the Flash of Earth 1) to Flash’s archenemy, the Reverse Flash (whom I prefer to call by his original comic book name, Professor Zoom, because it’s pretty much the most awesome name ever conceived). Now the official word is out (via Entertainment Weekly) from executive producer Greg Berlanti, and while the truth is a little less exciting than options A and B, it’s no less cool. Shipp will play the father of scientist/speedster Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) — Doctor Henry Allen.
Shipp’s casting harkens back to a longstanding CW tradition of acknowledging the screen lineage of its superhero stars. Smallville featured past Superman actors Christopher Reeve and Dean Cain, as well as former Lana Lang Annette O’Toole and Lois Lane Margot Kidder. But Shipp’s casting is especially apt, seeing as how the actor was not only the first and only previous screen Flash (discounting the two godawful Legends of the Superheroes TV special spoofs back in 1979, in which the Crimson Comet was played by Rod Haase). Shipp is also no stranger to playing a Warner Brothers TV dad — he was Mitch Leery, the father of Dawson in Dawson’s Creek (on which the actor also worked with Berlanti). The new Flash should afford Shipp an especially meaty role, since his character is accused of murdering his wife, a murder for which Barry believes he is falsely accused, sparking the younger Allen’s obsession with finding the real killer. Will Barry prove his dad’s innocence? We’ll find out when The Flash airs Tuesday nights at 8 PM EST this autumn.
In the mean time, let us know what you think of Shipp’s casting. Does it honor longtime Flash fans?