Written By: Sean Thomas
With the big news surrounding the identity of The Flash’s black-clad villain Zoom finally revealed to viewers, I can’t help but think about what’s in-store for Central City’s scarlet speedster in season three.
So far, executive producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg have built two highly entertaining seasons of television around a couple of The Flash’s most well-known villains, Reverse Flash and Zoom. Of course, The Scarlet Speedster has battled the likes of Weather Wizard, Girder, King Shark, Pied Piper, and Captain Cold in-between, but none of those rogues have really impacted Barry in the same dastardly way that Eobard Thawne and Hunter Zolomon have.
With the end of season two creeping up on viewers, the television wing of DC Comics have to be looking for options for their next season to keep the momentum flowing.
The door was kept open for a possible Gorilla Grodd return in season three. In fact, Kreisberg himself teased a potential Grodd storyline during the Winter TCA panel by comparing The Flash’s Gorilla Grodd, to Arrow’s Ra’s Al Ghul. The latter of which became a major player during the third season of Arrow.
“I would liken the Gorilla City thing to Ra’s al Ghul,” said Kreisgberg. “You know, you hear about “the man from Nanda Par Bat” in [Arrow] Season 1, and “the man who showed Malcolm the way,” and then you met Nyssa, then in Season 3 you met Ra’s. So, it’s a long-term thing.”
Outside The Reverse Flash and Zoom, there aren’t really any other villains in The Flash’s rogues gallery who can really put up a tremendous challenge for a guy who can move faster than any average human can react. This might make Grodd the best choice in the eyes of some, as it allows some kind of payoff to the groundwork they’ve already laid down with the character, and his telepathic abilities can create a unique challenge. However, if Grodd isn’t the big bad of season three, The Flash’s lack of world-threatening foes might actually work out best for the fans.
If Grodd isn’t selected for season three, the writing team might have to play with the origins and motivations of some of the Flash’s lesser known villains. If that is the case, may I suggest a guy who isn’t anywhere near the upper echelon of Flash rogues, but has the potential to be a big and interesting foil for Barry Allen– Savitar.
If you’ve never heard of Savitar, I can’t really blame you. A throw away villain if there ever was one, Savitar has appeared in only 14 issues since his debut in a 1995 issue of Flash vol. 2 (#108). The villain suffered the same fate as the other mid 90’s villains DC writers threw at various heroes, by fading away into obscurity. He eventually reappeared in an issue of Flash: Rebirth in 2005, only to be unceremoniously killed off via plot point.
Created by Mark Waid and illustrated by Oscar Jimenez, Savitar’s story begins in an unnamed country of the former Soviet Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. While test piloting an experimental supersonic jet, a thunderbolt struck the plane, resulting in an explosion that cast Savitar into the speed force.
The explosion infused Savitar with the speed force, driving the former pilot mad. Believing himself to be a divine entity, Savitar took the name of the Hindu god of motion and began learning all he could about the speed force. Eventually forming a following of sorts, a Speed cult if you will, he began seeking out other speedsters across the world. He eventually met up with Johnny Quick. The encounter turned into an ugly battle, resulting in Savitar being flung into the future with the help of another iconic member of the Flash family, Max Mercury.
He eventually escapes the speed force decades in the future and is astonished to find that his cult has grown in popularity. He eventually creates a plan to drain the speed force from every living speedster and infuse it within himself and his army, but is eventually defeated by a team of almost every active speedster hero in the DC Universe, including Wally West, who at the time was The Flash.
Savitar’s story might seem one note, but if handled correctly by the The Flash writing staff, Savitar can not only become a serviceable long-term villain for The Flash season 3, but the character can be revived and spark interest for the comic book sphere as well. Savitar’s comic book story can be reapplied for the television show, solve one major narrative query comic fans have to be burning to have answered-How is Wally West going to access the speed force?
That’s where Savitar can come in. One of Savitar’s abilities during his short time in publication, was to grant speed, or kinetic energy to an object or person. He essentially lends the speed force to other people, in a way that allows the target to actively utilize it, unlike the passive protection that Barry can lend to people he’s carrying or running past.
How Wally West comes in contact with Savitar can be left up to the writing team, as its seems that so far in season two, Wally is being kept separate from Barry’s super speed exploits. Savitar can be used as a device to bridge the gap between the Wally we’ve seen so far on television-the engine obsessed half-brother of Barry Allen, and the Wally that so many fans of the show have grown up reading and watching- the comedic, speed demon who eventually replaces Barry as The Flash.
Savitars connection to the speed force also allows for the creative team to introduce Max Mercury to the show. “The Zen Master of Speed,” would be a great part of the Flash’s comic book mythos to introduce in season three. He’s a veteran of the speed force, who sees the interdimensional power as less of a scientific wonder, and more of a philosophical treasure trove. He can help Barry build on his skills, and speed, while acting as an information bank for the team when it comes to Savitar and his past during the cold war.
Kind of like Jay Garrick’s impersonator, Mercury can help the team prepare for Savitar and counter his cult’s plan to use the speed force to gain ultimate power. If it’s revealed that the man in the mask on Earth-2 is the actual Jay Garrick, I don’t expect the man to rush to Barry’s side as his new mentor on Earth-1, considering the damage Zoom has been causing in his absence. So Mercury would work as an excellent replacement, that is of course, if Harrison Wells decides not to stick around after season two.
A season could be built around the revelation that Barry was never the only speedster in The Flash television universe, and definitely not the first. An entire history can be built around the speed force, and the other people before Barry who have come in contact with the interdimensional force. The entire world Berlantti and Kreisberg are building can expand and allow for the introduction of even more comic characters down the line. Which, for a show about momentum, can only build to more great things from the show.
Now let’s just hope they can find a way to update Savitar’s ridiculous costume.