Savitar has been unmasked! This week on The Flash, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) discovered just who was the new monster speedster wreaking havoc in Central City — and it’s none other than (spoilers!) Barry Allen himself, from a future timeline. The Flash has raced against enemy speedsters before, but he’s never gone up against himself. And in a new interview, executive producer Andrew Kreisberg says a “Barry vs. Barry” story was something different from previous villains like Zoom and the Reverse-Flash.
“The idea that the darkest villain we could come up with was actually a very damaged version of our hero was interesting and fresh to us,” Kreisberg told Entertainment Weekly. “We’re not only competing with all the stuff that we’ve done on Flash, but we’re always competing with everything we’ve done on all the other shows. So to have our lead actor be both the hero and the villain isn’t something we’ve done before, so that was exciting for us as storytellers.”
Kreisberg (confusingly) quotes the 16th-century proverb, “There but for the grace of God go I,” referencing how Barry’s destiny to become Savitar is nothing but the work of fate. “It creates an interesting paradigm because Savitar has probably done as much, if not more, to hurt them as any villain they’ve ever come up against, and yet Barry has a measure of sympathy for him. It’s a really interesting new dynamic that’s certainly very different from his relationship with Wells-Thawne in Season 1 and Zoom in Season 2.”
Kreisberg sort of has a point. Previously, both Eddie Thawne and Hunter Zolomon were mirror reflections of Barry, in the sense that something awful happened to them and instead of pursuing a noble path — as Barry did — they went to the “dark side,” so to speak. Kreisberg argues that because Savitar is Barry, it’s a different story even though the villain is literally also the hero.
Kreisberg also mentions that this Future Barry is a Barry Allen who has lost everyone that grounded his humanity. “Barry sees in Savitar that he could’ve gone down that path, too, but he had Iris, Joe, Cisco, Caitlin, his father, he had the memory of his mother — he had all of these things that helped mold him into the hero that he is. Savitar lost all that.”
The Flash airs on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on The CW.