(Michelle Buchman also contributed to this story)
At the most recent PaleyFest in Los Angeles, the heroes of the four DC Universe shows that air on the CW held court on stage for “The Heroes and Aliens” panel, moderated by superfan (and frequent Flash and Supergirl director) Kevin Smith. On the panel were Legends of Tomorrow executive producer Phil Klemmer, Arrow executive producer Wendy Mericle, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim, executive producer on all four shows Andrew Kreisberg, The Flash executive producers Todd Helbing and Aaron Helbing, Supergirl cast members Melissa Benoist and David Harewood, Arrow cast members Stephen Amell and David Ramsey, The Flash cast members Grant Gustin and Candice Patton, and Legends of Tomorrow cast members Caity Lotz and Brandon Routh.
Among the juicy tidbits that were dropped from the producers was the fact that next season they are also going to do another four-way crossover, and that this time, the four-way crossover will be a true crossover, as opposed to it being like 30 seconds long on the tag at the end of Supergirl this year. Maybe most telling however, at least for Flash fans, was that Andrew Kreisberg confirmed that the next season of The Flash will not have another speedster as the season’s so-called “Big Bad.” After the Reverse Flash, then Zoom, and now Savitar, the producers decided Barry needs a different kind of challenge in season four.
So, knowing this crucial piece of information, just who among the Flash’s villains could be the “Big Bad” of season four, if you eliminate all the speedsters as an option? Over the course of three seasons, The Flash has used almost every major villain that any hero using the name The Flash has fought. And while it’s possible that characters that have already been introduced in previous episodes like Grodd or Mirror Master could be made to be the season’s main villain, it seems unlikely they’d use any characters that were defeated in just a handful of episodes before as the season’s main antagonist.
However, there are a handful of villains the Flash has fought over the years in the pages of DC Comics that still haven’t made it into live-action, and could potentially be season four’s main baddie. Here are my four main suspects, straight from the pages of the comics:
Here’s Flash villain that hasn’t been seen in quite some time in the comics, the reason being he wasn’t terribly popular. However, Greg Berlanti and company have been able to take villains that were meh in the comics and make them into serious threats before. Cobalt Blue made his debut in Mark Waid’s now legendary run on The Flash back in 1997, which primarily makes him a Wally West villain. But the series has used plenty of Wally’s signature bad guys and transferred them over to Barry successfully, so this one shouldn’t be any different. In fact, Cobalt Blue should be a bigger villain for Barry because he’s (dun Dun DUN!) Barry Allen’s evil twin!
Barry Allen’s twin brother Malcolm Thawne was stolen at birth and raised by the Thawnes, an abusive family of crooks. (On the TV series, the present day version of Thawnes weren’t crooks, they were decent people who raised Eddie Thawne into a hero cop. But this can be tweaked for TV). One night, two couples, both expecting children, came to the same doctor, ready to deliver babies. Barry’s mother Nora Allen was carrying twins, and Charlene Thawne one child. But the incompetent and drunken doctor accidentally killed the Thawnes’ child during delivery. Attempting to cover up for the mistake, he handed one of the Allen’s children to the Thawnes, convincing the Allens that one of their twins had been stillborn.
Eventually, Thawne would learn of Barry’s existence, and his much happier childhood (mind you, Barry’s mother was murdered in this show, but you can argue being raised by Joe West is a better life than whatever twisted, abusive childhood Thawne had). He wants revenge on Barry, so he empowers himself with a mystic “blue flame.” which gave him the powers of fire control, reality manipulation, and the ability to siphon the energy off other meta-humans. This can give him super-speed, but I wouldn’t say super-speed is Cobalt Blue’s primary power. In the comics, Cobalt Blue was robbed of his ability to exact his revenge on Barry Allen, because Barry was dead for decades in the comics at this time. Instead, he took his hatred out on Wally West and the other Flash proteges.
But on TV? Not only can Cobalt Blue go after Barry Allen directly, but we can have Grant Gustin play both parts, since Thawne is technically Barry’s twin. Of course, if the producers don’t want Gustin to play both roles, they could always cast someone else and say that he’s Barry’s fraternal twin. In any case, sooner or later, I think Cobalt Blue is going to be a “Big Bad” on The Flash. Season four might be the best time to introduce him
Look, I have no idea how that name is pronounced either, although I always called him “Killgore” in my head. This baddie was one of the first villains that Wally West faced off against as the Flash way back in 1987, when he first received his own title. Kilg%re was an electro -organic intelligence from another world that needed electricity to survive. It consumed its entire home planet, and then moved on into space looking for more energy to drain. It was eventually stopped by something known as Meta#sker, and then placed into a vibrational limbo.
Eventually, Kilg%re it found its way to the Earth. The alien intelligence is actually invisible to anyone on Earth that is vibrating at a normal speed, meaning it can only be seen by speedsters, or by an F-15 fighter pilot. The Wally West version of the Flash unknowingly released it from its limbo state, and it followed him to S.T.A.R. Labs and took over all of the electrical systems there. Kilg%re found all the many machines on Earth perfect for its continued survival, but those pesky humans, it only planned to eliminate. The character design in the comics is kind of goofy, but he he can be redesigned for TV and made into a serious threat to Flash and friends. Maybe even enough of one to carry over a whole season.
This is another early Wally West villain, and one who reformed and eventually became his friend. Chester P. Runk was a genius, but his obesity made him bullied and teased his whole life, given the nickname “Chunk.” When he was a young man studying at MIT, he invented a matter transmitting machine. He tested the machine on himself, at which point he sent himself across the city.
Unfortunately for old Chester, the machine imploded, actually fusing with him and going inside of his body, essentially making him into a human black hole. Chunk needed to continue feeding himself 47 times his own mass in dense materials to avoid imploding into a strange universe that exists on the other side. This brought him into conflict with Wally West, who had just begun his career as the Flash.
Chunk was kind of a giant man-child, who sent people that had annoyed him into the alternate universe – his therapist, a woman who turned him down for a date, and even a man who had cut him off at an intersection once. Eventually, Wally West was able to find a way for Chunk to control his power, and he opened a business where people sent their unwanted to junk to him to take away to his alternate dimension, now a giant junk yard. It might be difficult to make Chunk a season long “Big Bad”–you’d probably have to play up the mystery of the missing people more, and make him genuinely malevolent. But given these changes to the character, Chunk could work as a season-long villain.
The Anti-Monitor is one of the biggest bad guys in the DC Universe, and one who has a very special connection to the Flash…and Supergirl. Debuting at the main villain of DC’s seminal mini-series Crisis on Infinite Earths back in 1985, The Anti- Monitor was the opposite number to the Monitor, the billions of years old being who watched over the Multiverse. Where the Monitor lived in the Multiverse, the Anti-Monitor lived in the Anti-Matter universe, and it was his greatest desire to destroy the entire Multiverse and have his universe take its place, thereby growing in power. In the 12 part Crisis series, Supergirl died fighting him, as did Barry Allen. So he has deep ties to both the main DC heroes of the CW.
With the Multiverse in play across the CW shows, we know that sooner or later, the Crisis is coming. In fact, since season one of The Flash, we’ve seen the future newspaper headline saying the Flash vanishes in a “red skies” event in the year 2024. This is totally a direct reference to the events of Crisis. Of course, Barry Allen eventually “got better” from his death, as they say, but the Anti-Monitor did manage to kill him off for several decades. I’d say that qualifies him as Barry Allen’s ultimate nemesis.
The only reason I don’t think he’s going to be the villain of the Flash season four is that I think they are clearly holding him off for later–the confrontation between Barry and the Anti-Monitor is still years away, according to the series timeline. Even if the show did a “time jump” at some point to get us to 2024 sooner, I doubt they would try to do that just yet. But sooner or later, Barry and the rest of the CW DCU is indeed going to have a Crisis on their hands, and the Anti-Monitor will no doubt be behind it.
Which non-speedster Flash baddie do you want to see as season four’s main villain? Let us know down below in the comments!
Images: CW / DC Comics
PaleyFest image © Michael Bulbenko for the Paley Center. Used with permission.