Bartholomew Henry "Barry" Allen, also known by his alter ego The Flash, is a fictional character in The CW's Arrowverse franchise, first introduced in the 2013 episode "The Scientist" of the television series Arrow, and later starring in The Flash. The character is based on the DC Comics character of the same name, created by Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino and was adapted for television in 2013 by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg and Geoff Johns. Barry Allen has been continually portrayed by Grant Gustin, with Logan Williams and Liam Hughes portraying younger versions.
|Voiced by||Grant Gustin (Vixen)|
|Full name||Bartholomew Henry Allen|
In the series, Barry is 32 and portrayed as a smart, goofy and tardy character, who works at the Central City Police Department as a crime scene investigator. When he was younger he witnessed the murder of his mother by The Reverse Flash, which resulted in the false imprisonment of his father for the crime. Later in life, while working at the Central City Police Department he is struck by lightning created by the explosion of the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator sending him to a nine-month coma. After waking up he finds himself in S.T.A.R. Labs and develops metahuman powers; the power of speed and he becomes friends with Cisco Ramon and Caitlin Snow. Throughout the series, he is constantly training to lead to him becoming the Fastest speedster across the multiverse. Barry uses his powers, along with his team's help, to fight criminals and other metahumans who have misused their powers. He is a friend and frequent ally of Star City-based vigilante archer Green Arrow and Kryptonian superheroine Supergirl. The three together are known as “The Trinity”.
Gustin has appeared as Barry Allen and his superhero persona in crossovers on the television series Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, and the animated web series Vixen, all set within the Arrowverse. The character has also appeared in a digital comic book series. Gustin has received critical acclaim for his performance and has won an IGN award.
Barry Allen travels to Star City to investigate a superhuman-related crime in hopes that it is related to his mother's murder and to meet his vigilante idol Oliver Queen. He helps Oliver and his team to begin uncover the Mirakuru plot orchestrated by Slade Wilson. After returning to Central City, he gets struck by lightning which puts him in a nine-month coma and becomes The Flash.
In season three, Barry, as The Flash, and his own team helps Team Arrow against a rogue former ASIS agent Digger Harkness (nicknamed by Cisco as "Captain Boomerang"), who wields lethal boomerangs. He later assists Team Arrow of their escape from their captivity at Nanda Parbat.
In season seven, Allen is interviewed for the Emerald Archer documentary seen in the episode of the same name due to his friendship with Oliver Queen and his family is publicly known, but denies knowing that Queen is the Green Arrow.
Barry Allen's first appearance on The Flash is in its pilot. Barry is introduced as quite a goofy and kind character, who is quite brilliant at his job as a crime scene investigator for the Central City Police department. His obsession for the particle accelerator and interest in Harrison Wells began before his superhuman abilities. After the explosion that consequently led to Barry being struck by lightning, he wakes up and discovers that he has developed meta-human abilities, in particular the power of speed. Season one portrays Barry's development in his superpowers, he has his setbacks in the beginning, where he begins fainting, which he only finds out later that it is because his body is burning more energy than he could intake. Barry's character develops and he is able to better control his powers through training at the S.T.A.R Labs, with his team the STAR team: Caitlin Snow, Cisco Ramon and Harrison Wells. Barry's once platonic relationship with Iris West is turned complicated when Barry confesses his love. However, Barry begins a relationship with Linda Park who suspects that Barry is still in love with Iris. Over the season's second half, Barry begins to suspect and learns that Wells is actually the Reverse-Flash that killed his mother, otherwise known by his true name Eobard Thawne who had been manipulating events since that night to turn Barry into The Flash in an effort to harness his speed and return to the future. This provides an effort to allow Barry to travel to the past and save his mother. Thawne's plan ultimately fails and is erased from existence by Eddie Thawne when Eddie kills himself. However, doing so results in a singularity opening above Central City which Barry then has to stop.
Season two introduces the new villain Hunter Zolomon who is from Earth-2 and is the enemy of Earth-2's Harry Wells. Zolomon becomes an important mentor for Barry, but in fact, is Zoom an evil killer who had misused a drug that made him terminal, which meant the only chance of survival and to regain speed was to befriend Barry and steal his speed. Both sides of Zolomon had a great impact on Barry's character, initially as an older and experienced mentor while Zoom is the villain who made him choose between his speed and Wally West’s life. This was a true test of character for Barry and depicted that his powers have not changed the kind-hearted person he was. This season featured both different and familiar chemistries, Barry begins first dating Patty Spivot but Barry eventually returned to old flames. Iris reciprocates the feelings Barry has. Barry also briefly accidentally travels to Earth-38 and meets its hero Kara Zor-El/Supergirl with whom he assists against her own villains and befriends. After his father's death by Zoom's hand and following Zoom's subsequent defeat by Barry when attempting to destroy every earth in the multiverse excluding Earth-1 with a magna-tar, Barry decides to alter history out of grief and consequently changing the storyline of Iris's love for him as well as all his friends' lives.
Season three begins with a new reality identified as Flashpoint, in this reality, Barry's mother was not murdered as Barry had run back in time to save her. Barry's character is faced with a vital moral dilemma, he has to choose either to save his friends who are not doing so well in this reality or to keep living in this timeline where his parents are alive. He chooses to ask Thawne to go back and murder his mother again in the hopes of restoring his original timeline. A new reality is created again due to Barry's changes in history and the timeline, this resulted in the death of Cisco's brother, seemingly Caitlin gaining frost powers (though it is later revealed a year later this wasn't a result of Flashpoint), and Team Arrow's John Diggle/Spartan having a son instead of a daughter. During this tough time, Barry is helped with occasional wisdom from Jay Garrick, a doppelganger of Barry's father from Earth-3. The team at first distrust Barry for these changes but forgives him after they have to team up to fight Savitar who is revealed to be a broken and evil time remnant of Barry from the future that was released from a speed force prison Barry created with Flashpoint by Flashpoint and became destined to kill Iris in front of Barry which in turn would lead Barry to create time remnants to fight Savitar and inadvertently create him. During a final battle after having his plan foiled, Savitar attempts to splice himself throughout history to ensure his survival though that plan is foiled as well and after being beaten in combat with Jay, Team Flash and Gypsy and having his armor destroyed by Barry, he is shot and killed by Iris. The season ends with Barry sacrificing himself and places himself in the speed force prison to stop a speed force storm from destroying Central City as it becomes unstable without a prisoner.
Team Flash rescues Barry out of the speed force prison and Barry is given a new suit. Barry and Iris attend couples therapy in attempts to mend their relationship. Barry along with Oliver, Kara, the Legends, and each of their respective teams repel a Nazi Invasion from Earth-X led by Thawne (who had returned from the dead due to being a living time paradox), and both Oliver and Kara's evil doppelgänger's after they attack during Barry and Iris wedding though the Invasion results in the death of Legends team member and Barry's old friend Martin Stein/Firestorm. Following the invasion, both couples Barry and Iris along with Oliver and Felicity are married together side by side by Diggle. Barry and Caitlin, now going by the codename "Killer Frost", are kidnapped by two different people and the team has to choose whom to save, Barry ultimately escapes and the team are seen celebrating at the West House. Barry, however, is then framed and arrested for the murder of Clifford DeVoe/The Thinker, he is then deemed guilty by the jury and sentenced to life in prison. Barry and Iris are back together but Barry is still in Jail. Barry is released from prison after Ralph Dibny/Elongated Man, his former rival at the CCPD turned disgraced private investigator (who originally died during the Particle Accelerator explosion but didn't as a result of Flashpoint) and now new teammate and friend as well as meta-human shapeshifts into DeVoe and appeals Barry's case. Over the season's course, Barry and Team Flash consistently falter trying to prevent DeVoe from killing off 12 "Bus Metas" whom were created when Barry was released from the speed force and nearly lose Ralph as well but eventually finally defeat DeVoe by entering his mind and bringing Ralph's (whose body DeVoe's consciousness was currently inhabiting) consciousness out but not before DeVoe activates a kill-switch which causes the massive S.T.A.R. labs satellite that was used to try and reset everyone in the world's brains to plummet to the earth to cause an extinction-level event though it is destroyed by both Barry and a mystery speedster together. The season ends when Barry and Iris discover that the mystery speedster who appeared throughout the series is, in fact, their daughter from the future.
Team Flash is introduced to Barry and Iris's daughter, Nora West-Allen. Barry learns from Nora that in the future he did not return after his sacrifice to stop destruction of the Multiverse in Universal Crisis in 2024 and she had only known Iris. Barry is introduced to a new villain, Cicada, who is a meta human serial killer. However, in an attempt to defeat Cicada in "What's Past Is Prologue", Barry and Nora travel back to time and Nora learns that Eobard Thawne killed her grandmother. It is also revealed at the end of the episode that Nora works with Thawne and he sent her back to time to meet her father. Barry and Oliver wake up one day to find they've swapped lives with Oliver as The Flash and Barry as the Green Arrow. They recruit Kara to assist in figuring out the reality change and after defeating a super android known as A.M.A.Z.O. with the help of Kara's cousin Clark Kent/Superman, they realize with the help of Cisco's vibe powers that reality is being manipulated by an insane doctor at Arkham Asylum in Gotham City named Dr. John Deegan and a strange godlike individual known as Mar-Novu/The Monitor. After confronting Deegan at Arkham and stopping a prison break with the help of new ally Kate Kane/Batwoman and acquiring additional information from Barry Allen/The Flash of the recently decimated Earth-90, Deegan changes reality again making himself an evil Superman but a combined effort from Barry, Oliver, and Kara defeats him and resets reality back to normal, though Barry and Oliver are warned of a coming crisis by Novu and his decimation of Earths in the multiverse like Earth-90 was to prepare everyone and see who is worthy to fight the crisis. Later on, Barry and Iris eventually learn their future daughter's alignment with the Reverse-Flash through Sherloque Wells' discovery; they feel betrayed by Nora and Barry bitterly imprisoned his daughter in the pipeline before sending her home now knowing that he cannot trust her. He is also glad to see that Thawne is serving capital punishment for his crimes in the future. After giving Dwyer a meta-human cure Cisco and Caitlin formulated on his own free will, a future version of his niece, Grace Gibbons, who is now using the Cicada mantle and is much more powerful than Dwyer and more psychotic arrives and begins giving Team Flash new problems (including murdering Dwyer when he tries to convince her off her path as well as the doctor overlooking her present-day self in her coma). This distracts them from Reverse-Flash and his secret escape plan, however, who is being held in Iron Heights prison and is on death row for his crimes. Cicada's dagger in the future is the item that is keeping him in prison, and if that is removed in the past he can escape freely. Cicada's dagger has a power-dampening ability. He convinces Nora during all those times she came to see him to try to get rid of the dagger so he can escape. Eventually, Nora wakes up past Grace and gives her the cure on her own free will though it doesn't fix anything and in a desperate effort to save Nora from Cicada II knowing the inevitable outcome of his actions, Barry destroys the dagger and erases future Grace from existence and in turn releases Eobard from his imprisonment and execution in the future to which Barry and Nora quickly head there to confront him. After an extended fight between Eobard and Team Flash to which he's defeated by the combined effort of each member, he escapes after Nora begins to fade from existence due to the massive timeline change Barry caused by destroying the dagger. Barry tries to save Nora but she refuses due to being connected with the negative speed force under Thawne's proper manipulation and not wanting to become like him after seeing the effects it has on her rage, forcing Barry and Iris to allow Nora to erase from existence in their arms and leave them devastated. The two later view a message left behind for them from Nora in the event of her death stating she wouldn't change a thing about her journey and for them not to grieve for her. Unaware to everyone, the timeline shift causes the 2024 Crisis that Mar Novu (Monitor) previously mentioned and had been seen in a newspaper article from the future in the time vault since the pilot to change drastically, resulting in the date of it to be moved up to December 2019.
Moments after Nora's erasure from the timeline, her father's message from the future is also erased. The Monitor informs Barry and Iris that the Flash must die in the coming crisis. As Barry prepares for the team with a world without him, he attempts to travel into the future to see the Crisis after his apparent death, but an anti-matter barrier prevents him from doing so. This prompts him to seek help from Jay and his wife Joan Williams, a doppelganger of Barry's mother. To bypass the barrier, Jay uses a machine he built to use on Barry, who sees billions of possible future, one where he sees himself vanish. After, Barry is left weakened. Meanwhile, scientist and metahuman Ramsey Rosso discover his abilities allow him to bring back the dead to alive although instead of coming back as a human, they come back as zombies. When Ralph follows up on a lead to a person of interest – Sue Dearbon in Midway City, Barry asks to tag along with him as one of the preparations for a post-Crisis world without him. There, the two go undercover at a criminal gala where Barry learns that the host, Remington Meister, has allied himself with metahuman assassin Esperanza Garcia, aka Ultraviolet. After defeating Meister, Esperanza escapes and Barry and Ralph return to Central City where that night, Russo attacks and infects Ralph with his blood. After a brief battle, Cisco and Caitlin rescue Ralph and bring him back to S.T.A.R. Labs where Barry gives him a blood transfusion to save him. However, a trace of Russo's blood enters Barry's. The Speed Force, in form of Barry's mother, inform Barry that he is infected by Russo's blood which allows Russo to gain access to Barry's mind. Eventually, Cisco and Caitlin revive Barry, although Russo's blood manages to successfully take over Barry's consciousness as well as taking over the city using his blood. Team Flash lure Barry back to the lab where they use a combination of the particle accelerator and Allegra Garcia's metahuman abilities to bring back Barry. The team then subvert Russo's plan. With his plan foiled, Barry uses a hologram of Russo's mother to make him surrender and is imprisoned at A.R.G.U.S. Minutes before the Crisis begins, the team spends their last moment as red skies loom over Central City.
Crisis on Infinite EarthsEdit
During the Crisis, Barry is recruited by Lyla Michaels, now a "Harbinger of things to come", to Earth-38 among other heroes, to evacuate the world. After Earth-38 is erased by a wave of anti-matter, he is detected as a Paragon, one of the foretold heroes that will save the multiverse from the Anti-Monitor. Barry's fate during the Crisis is altered by the intervention of the Flash from Earth-90 (another doppelganger of Barry's father), who sacrifices himself in Barry's place. The Anti-Monitor ultimately erases the rest of the multiverse and proceeds with his scheme to replace it with his antimatter universe. Just before the heroes on the Waverider are erased, Pariah sends the seven Paragons to the Vanishing Point. There, the Paragons fail to find a way out until Oliver, now known as the Spectre, unlocks Barry's full potential to help the Paragons escape. Later, the Paragons travel to the dawn of time where they have their battle against the Anti-Monitor who is defeated when Oliver sacrifices himself. Following Oliver's sacrifice, a new world dubbed "Earth-Prime" is created and Barry leads a new group of heroes in memory of Oliver.
Barry's suit is altered and upgraded every season. The suit is designed by Cisco Ramon and its original design was intended as a uniform for firefighters. The suit was a modernised version of the traditional flash suit with a matching dark maroon colored helmet, which features the same maroon emblem and gold lightning symbol as the suit does. The second season suit made minor changes to the suit, the alteration being the background color of the emblem is now white with a gold lightning symbol which is more true to the comics. Besides the alteration of the emblem in season 2, there appears to only minor changes made throughout the three seasons. The suit in season 4 appears to be a brighter red, with added leather paddings and golden accents. The fifth season made one of the most significant changes, that is the removal of the chin strap and switching the fabric softer more body fitting look, created by Ryan Choi, in the future. The sixth season suit is fairly similar to the season 5 suit though now with gold piping along the torso and an entirely new cowl which features the return of the chinstrap as well as modified ear pieces designed to look more like the classic Hermes wings from the comics.
Barry and Iris's relationship has often been compared to Superman and Lois Lane, she is introduced as his one true love. Barry and Iris were close friends since they were 10 years old, this friendship escalates after Barry's mother is murdered and Barry was adopted by Iris's father Joe West, becoming her adoptive brother. It is revealed in the first season that Barry is in love with Iris while Iris still sees him as a brother. It is later shown that a newspaper article is written by Iris West-Allen in 2024, thus indicating their future romance and marriage. Iris and Barry's relationship changes due to alterations of the timeline when Barry time travels, however, their love seems to always prevail and they are eventually married, Barry says in his wedding vows "That's you. You’ve always been there, as a friend, as a partner, as the love of my life. You’re my home, Iris, and that's one thing that will never change.". The end of season four reveals that, in one timeline, Iris and Barry have 2 children named Nora and Bart in the future.
Barry dates Linda Park briefly in the first season, who is both friends and colleagues at the Central City Picture News with Iris West. Their relationship slowly dies out as she suspects him to still be in love with Iris, they eventually break up and decide that they are better off as friends.
Barry and Patty Spivot begin dating in the second season, she was much like Barry with her quirky personality and sad past, which has caused them to dedicate their lives and careers to avenging and seeking the truth about their parents. Patty made the decision to end the relationship because Barry was pushing her away emotionally, and she needed to attend Midway City University and study to become a CSI agent, which meant she had to leave Central City and consequently him. Before leaving she had one final case with Barry, in which she tells Barry "I know you’re upset but I was hoping it wouldn't be like this between us".
Versions from other EarthsEdit
- Barry Allen of Earth-2 (also played by Gustin) is a non-metahuman who is a CSI at the Central City Police Department and a PhD graduate, married to Iris West but despised by Joe.
- Blitzkrieg of Earth-X, seen in Freedom Fighters: The Ray was originally confirmed by Marc Guggenheim in an interview to be that Earth's Barry Allen. However, many of the concepts for Earth-X have changed since the interview and the animated series' production started and as such, it is unclear whether this information is still accurate. He is voiced by Scott Whyte and is an amalgamation of Baron Blitzkrieg, Baroness Blitzkrieg, Blitzen and Nazi Flash.
- Barry Allen of Earth-90 is played by John Wesley Shipp.
- Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen from an undesignated Earth met Earth-1 Barry in the Speed Force during "Crisis on Infinite Earths".
Gustin also portrays Savitar (voiced by Tobin Bell in his exosuit which is performed by stuntman Andre Tricoteux), an evil and scarred future version of his character who is season three's main antagonist. Savitar is essentially Barry with no loved ones and embracing his dark side. Savitar's origins are a predestination paradox; he is a temporal duplicate of the Flash's future self using time travel in order to defeat Savitar. Although Savitar is ultimately defeated, the time remnant is spared but shunned by the rest of his friends and family for being an aberration. As a result, he goes back in time to set in motion the events that led to his own creation, including the death of Iris. Savitar's presence is "chronologically" the multiverse's first metahuman with speed. Naming himself after the Hindu god of motion, he is worshipped by his own cult. Long-held myths referenced Savitar throughout the multiverse with even Jay believing these stories, and with Savitar regarded as a worse nemesis than the Reverse-Flash, Zoom and the Thinker. From his prison, Savitar manipulates Julian Albert into acquiring the Philosopher's Stone, through which Doctor Alchemy can re-empower metahumans from the Flashpoint timeline. After manipulating Kid Flash into freeing him from his prison, Savitar next convinces Killer Frost to be his personal enforcer. When Savitar reveals his true identity to Barry, it forces his younger self to confront his own dark impulses and temptations that plagued him. Savitar's plan of Iris' murder before Barry (which would lead to his own creation), however, is ruined with the sacrifice of Earth-19's H.R. Wells by impersonating Iris. To save himself, Savitar manipulates Vibe to fragment himself throughout all of time and then goad his original self to give in to dark impulses as Savitar himself. However, both efforts are foiled by Team Flash and Savitar is erased from existence after being shot by Iris. In season five, Savitar has a cameo appearance when Barry and Nora time travel to season three and observe his final battle.
In other mediaEdit
Regarding Gustin's debut as Barry Allen in Arrow and the potential for a series, IGN's Jesse Schedeen stated his concern: "Gustin doesn't come across as leading man material. His awkward bumbling intertwining with Felicity's was cute, but rarely did I get the impression that this character could or should be given his own spinoff series." Schedeen eventually warmed up to the character, however, once the "dorkiness and social awkwardness" were downplayed a bit and the emphasis was placed on "his keen scientific mind".
Grant Gustin as Barry Allen has received positive reviews by both fans and critics, with The Flash being the most watched show in The CW history. Since the premiere of The Flash, Gustin has been nominated for 20 awards for his role as Barry Allen and had won a total of 5 of them. In 2015, Gustin won the Teen Choice Award for "Breakout Star", in that same year he won the Saturn Award for "Breakthrough Performance" and was nominated for "Best Actor on Television". In the following year Gustin won the Teen Choice Awards for "Choice TV Actor: Sci-fi/Fantasy" and in 2017 and 2018 he took home the Teen Choice Awards for "Choice TV Actor: Action".
Gustin's Barry Allen has been said to be the better Flash, compared to Ezra Miller who starred in the Warner Bros. Justice League. According to Nick Mangione from Geek.com, "By the time Ezra Miller made his brief cameo appearance in Batman v. Superman, we had already seen the perfect Barry Allen". He goes on to say "More than heart, more than a perfect embodiment of the character from the comics, Grant Gustin is the one true Barry Allen because his show allows him to be. At least at this point, the same can't be said for Miller and the DCEU."
While the first season received a large number of positive reviews, the latter seasons received more mixed reviews. Erik Kain a senior contributor on Forbes indicated that "The first season of 'The Flash' on the CW remains one of my very favourite seasons of a superhero show. I maintain that it's among the best ever made, with great characters and one of the most intriguing villains on TV.". Kain, however, also states that the show has gone downhill and that "Miller's Barry Allen is better in almost every way than Gustin's, though that's largely because he's not weighed down by CW melodrama.".
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