Barry Allen (Arrowverse)
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.
Grant Gustin in his first season costume. Photographed by Dean Buscher.
|Voiced by||Grant Gustin|
In the series, Barry is 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 a supernatural yellow blur, 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. Throughout the series, he is constantly training himself to control and enhance his powers, and 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 from the parallel universe of Earth-38.
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 won an IGN award for his performance.
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, the The Arrow (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-months 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 the episode "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. This season portrays Barry's development in his superpowers, he has his setbacks in the beginning, in "Fastest Man Alive" he begins fainting, which he only finds out later that it is because his body is burning more energy than he could intake. Throughout the episode, 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 (at least to Iris West) relationship with Iris is turned complicated after all the episode "The Man in the Yellow Suit" when Barry confesses his love to her. In the episode "Crazy for You" however, Barry begins a relationship with Linda Park, who in the next episode suspects that Barry is still in love with Iris West. Over the course of the second half of the season, Barry begins to suspect and learns that Wells is actually the man in the yellow suit that killed his mother, otherwise known by his true name Eobard Thawne/Reverse-Flash, whom 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. He ultimately fails when Barry thwarts his plan and is erased from existence by Barry’s friend and Iris’ detective fiancé as well as Eobard’s distant ancestor Eddie Thawne killing himself though an effort to allow Barry to travel to the past and save his mother results in a singularity opening above Central City to which Barry attempts to stop.
Season two introduces a new villain, Hunter Zolomon who is from Earth-2 and is the enemy of the Earth-2 Flash, Jay Garrick. Jay becomes an important mentor for Barry, but in fact, he is Hunter Zolomon / Zoom an evil killer who had misused a drug that made him terminal, which meant his only chance of survival and to regain his speed was to befriend Barry and steal his speed. Both sides of Hunter Zolomon had a great impact on Barry's character, Garrick, an older and experienced mentor and Zoom, 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 then after her departure, Barry returned to old flames. Iris reciprocates the feelings Barry has for her. 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 Henry'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 well as all his friends lives.
The third season 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. In this season 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 Eobard 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), Team Arrow’s John Diggle/Spartan having a son instead of a daughter, and Barry’s former rival at the SCPD turned disgraced private investigator Ralph Dibny not dying during the Particle Accelerator explosion. The team at first distrust Barry for these changes but forgives him after they have to team up to fight Savitar, whom 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 by the sacrifice of Earth-19’s H.R. Wells, Savitar attempts to splice himself throughout history to ensure his survival though that plan is foiled as well and after being beaten in combat 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 who 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 his new teammate and friend as well as meta-human Ralph Dibny/Elongated Man shapeshifts into DeVoe and appeals Barry's case. Over the course of the season, Barry and Team Flash consistently falter trying to prevent DeVoe from killing off 13 “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 (of whom’s body DeVoe’s consciousness was currently inhabiting) consciousness out. Before DeVoe’s death he activates a kill-switch which causes the massive S.T.A.R. labs satellite he was using 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 a 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 one of Harrison Wells' parallel universe doppelgängers Harrison "Sherloque" Wells' discovery; they feel betrayed by Nora with 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 though 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 Novu 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 fall of 2019.
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.
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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 is adopted by Joe West (Iris's father). It is revealed in the first season that Barry is in love with Iris while Iris still sees him as more of 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 a daughter named Nora 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 of as friends.
Barry and Patty Spivot begin dating in the second season, she was much like Barry with her quirky personality and sad past, that 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 as she needed to attend Midway City University and study to become a CSI agent, which meant she had to leave Central City and consequently Barry. 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".
- The character's Earth-2 version (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 but despised by Joe.
- Originally, Marc Guggenheim confirmed in an interview that the Blitzkrieg seen in Freedom Fighters: The Ray is the Earth-X doppelgänger of 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 a amalgamation of Baron Blitzkrieg, Baroness Blitzkrieg, Blitzen and Nazi Flash.
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 worst 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 H.R. Wells (Earth-19) by impersonating Iris. To save himself, Savitar manipulates Vibe to fragment himself throughout all of time and then goad his original self to give into 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.
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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