Well, now we know what Arrow’s producers have decided to do with the spot in the current season which was originally designated for The Flash backdoor pilot. We’re not heading to Central City nor are we seeing Grant Gustin’s adorable Barry Allen again. However, episode 19 will now give us the premiere of two DC characters ticketed for regular duty on The Flash should it get picked up to series: S.T.A.R. Labs’ bioengineering expert Caitlin Snow, played by Danielle Panabaker, and mechanical engineering genius Cisco, played by Carlos Valdes. This will come in the 19th episode of the current season, and was written under the title “The Man Under the Hood” by the three guys who will leave Arrow to run The Flash – Geoff Johns, Greg Berlanti, and Andrew Kreisberg.
The idea originated from a writer’s room pitch, and Executive Producer Marc Guggenheim dished out the details to THR:
“This was something that really came about because obviously Barry is in a coma at the end of episode nine [of Arrow]. That pretty much made it impossible for Barry to appear in episode 19, 20 — pick an episode of Arrow — because he’s got to stay in a coma until October of next year […] Even though the circumstances of that pitch changed, the idea of bringing in [the S.T.A.R. Labs] characters really, really appealed to us because it allowed us to honor our original intention that we had at the beginning of the year, which was to do something Flash-related around episode 19 or 20 without of course having comatose Barry and basically paying Grant Gustin a lot of money to sit around with his eyes closed unconscious the whole episode.”
In fact, they apparently did write a draft featuring a comatose Barry Allen being, well, comatose, but it was painfully boring. Surprise, surprise.
If you are the type of uber-fan (like I’m one to judge) who actually follows the production schedule of the show and have a rough idea when each episode is filmed (the producers freely share this info. via Twitter) then you might realize that episode 19 would have been filmed around the same they were doing the Flash pilot. Gold star. You’re right. So, did they just use Panabaker and Valdes because they knew they were already around that week? No. Acording to Guggenheim, “In fact, that was an added producing/logistical complication. It’s just so much fun to see these characters before you — it’s like previewing Boba Fett in the holiday special.”
If you haven’t been following the casting news for The Flash pilot, Danielle Panabaker’s Caitlin Snow has been described as “a highly intelligent bioengineering expert who lost her fiancé during an explosion at S.T.A.R. Labs,” the same explosion which cascaded throughout Central City and put Barry Allen in a coma. In the comics, Snow is the fourth woman to take the title of Killer Frost, each one of them acting as supervillains against the superhero Firestorm. That does not necessarily mean anything since in the comics Arrow‘s super popular Felicity Smoak is actually married to the father of one of the many people to serve as the superhero Firestorm. Plus, Laurel Lance was never a freakin’ lawyer. However, for now we’re assuming Caitlin Snow is being set up to become a villain.
Carlos Valdes’s Cisco Ramon will be a potential best friend type for Barry Allen. In the comics, Ramon is a latino gang member who became a superhero named Vibe once he gained the ability to cause sonic shockwaves and detect interdimensional shifts. At the time of his introduction in the mid-1980s, he was criticized for being an ethnic stereotype. DC give Vibe a big push in the New 52 with his own monthly series penned by Andrew Kreisberg. It didn’t catch on, recently ending its run after just 10 issues. It’s 100% not a coincidence that Ramon is popping up as a regular character on The Flash since it is being co-created by Andrew Kreisberg.
For a run-down of the primary cast of The Flash pilot head elsewhere on the site, here specifically. Plus, here’s Gustin in full Flash costume from the set of the pilot. I’m still trying to love it and failing:
It’s not entirely clear what Snow and Ramon will be doing in their Arrow episode nor how significant their screen time will be. Guggenheim would only say it is an “important appearance.” We won’t have to wait too horribly long to find out what that means since episode 19 is schedule to air sometime in early April, by which point most everything teased in this trailer will have likely already gone down:
The Flash is being co-created and produced by Arrow writer/DC Chief Creative Office Geoff Johns and Arrow co-creators/executive producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg. Should the CW pick it up to series it will likely premiere in October, although if the CW passes the producers have indicated an intention to keep Grant Gustin around and somehow fold him into Arrow.