The Flash‘s Barry Allen may have reached the ‘Finish Line’, but is this the end of his journey? Not a bit of it. Our TV screens will be getting another injection of the ‘Speed Force’ very soon indeed when the Scarlet Speedster returns for another season of adventures.
Here’s everything we know so far about The Flash season 4, starting with the most important question: when can we see it?
The Flash season 4 release date: When will it air?
The CW has confirmed that The Flash will return to its schedules on Tuesday, October 10 at 8/7c. (As is standard, Sky1 will follow suit a couple of weeks later in the UK.)
The Flash production office confirmed it was reconvening as of June 20, to start work on the new episodes.
The Flash season 4 trailer: Is there any footage?
Not yet, but we should get our first official glimpse at season 4 on July 22, following The Flash panel at San Diego Comic-Con.
The Flash season 4 cast: Who will star?
© THE CW
The following cast have been confirmed as returning next season:
Grant Gustin as Barry Allen / The Flash
Candice Patton as Iris West
Danielle Panabaker as Dr. Caitlin Snow
Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon / Vibe
Keiynan Lonsdale as Wally West / Kid Flash
Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West
Tom Felton as Julian Albert
Tom Cavanagh as ?
You’ll notice that, while Tom Cavanagh’s involvement is confirmed, it’s yet to be revealed who he’ll be playing.
The first season of The Flash saw him play both Harrison Wells and Eobard Thawne / Reverse Flash disguised as Wells.
In season two, Cavanagh portrayed Wells’s Earth-2 doppelganger, an irritable but good-hearted scientist nicknamed ‘Harry’ to distinguish him from his predecessor.
Season three introduced yet another variant – ‘H.R.’ Wells from Earth-19 – but the chirpy novelist was killed off in this year’s finale, ‘Finish Line’.
In all likelihood, then, season four will either reintroduce Cavanagh as Harry full-time (the character currently resides back on Earth-2) or will introduce a fourth major version of the Wells character.
‘Finish Line’ also saw Dr. Caitlin Snow depart Team Flash – the bio-engineer had been struggling to cope with gaining meta-human powers, losing control of her emotions and briefly turning to the dark side as the villainous Killer Frost.
By the end of the third season, Caitlin turned her back on her wicked ways, but didn’t feel ready to return to S.T.A.R. Labs, opting to spend some time on her own away from her friends. What will her state of mind be, heading into season four?
The Flash season 4 episodes: What happens next?
Below is the official synopsis for season 4. It was released – notably – in mid-May, prior to ‘Finish Line’ airing. As such, it’s pretty scant on detail (and actually contains some details which now appear to be out of date).
Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) lived a normal life as a perpetually tardy C.S.I. in the Central City Police Department. Barry’s life changed forever when the S.T.A.R. Labs Particle Accelerator exploded, creating a dark-matter lightning storm that struck Barry, bestowing him with super-speed and making him the fastest man alive The Flash.
But when Barry used his extraordinary abilities to travel back in time and save his mother’s life, he inadvertently created an alternate timeline known as Flashpoint; a phenomenon that gave birth to the villainous speed god known as Savitar, and changed the lives of Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) forever.
With the help of his adoptive father, Joe West (Jesse L. Martin), his lifelong best friend and love interest Iris West (Candice Patton), and his friends at S.T.A.R. Labs — Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), C.S.I Julian Albert (Tom Felton), and an Earth-19 novelist named H.R. Wells (Tom Cavanagh) — Barry continues to protect the people of Central City from the meta-humans that threaten it.
Despite the synopsis naming H.R., it appears unlikely that the character will feature in season 4, having given his life to save Iris in ‘Finish Line’.
The finale also left Barry in a precarious position. With the Speed Force having grown unstable, our hero decided to enter the energy field himself – as penance for having created Flashpoint – leaving his loved ones behind, apparently for good.
Will Wally step up to replace Barry as The Flash? Not according to Keiynan Lonsdale, who said: “Wally has so much growing to do. I’d like to see that journey continue. That’s what I think is important. We need to see how these character realistically get to where they are headed for.”
The next 23 episodes will have to start by bringing Barry back and with season four’s premiere title revealed as ‘Reborn’, fans are speculating that season 4 could tackle the Rebirth storyline from the comic books, just as season 3 adapted Flashpoint.
Here’s a brief summary of what happens in Rebirth, and how it might relate to the TV series.
Warning: potential spoilers ahead!
Having returned from the Speed Force under mysterious circumstances, Barry is left with a lingering concern that he was not supposed to come back, and that the Force is trying to draw him back in.
Sure enough, it turns out that his return comes at a cost: he is becoming the new Black Flash, a Grim Reaper for Speedsters. Barry re-enters the Speed Force in an attempt to spare his friends and family, where he learns the true cause of his transformation – a resurrected Eobard Thawne / Reverse-Flash, who has infected him with a “negative Speed Force”.
© DC COMICS
We’ll stop there… but it’s certainly possible that The Flash is heading in this general direction on television.
The show’s currently down a Black Flash, with Killer Frost having taken out the previous holder of that mantle (Hunter Zolomon) in season 3’s finale, while Reverse-Flash is currently deceased, having previously been taken out by Black Flash in Legends of Tomorrow‘s season 2 closer.
One thing we know for sure about season 4, though: at least one episode will be devoted to a four-way crossover with the show’s sister series Arrow, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow.
“There will be a big fourth-quarter crossover with all four of the shows that are on in the fall,” confirmed The CW’s president Mark Pedowitz in May 2017.
The Flash season 4 villain: Who’s the new Big Bad?
Before season 3 had even ended, it was announced that the following year would not feature a Speedster as the chief villain. Fair to say, after season 1’s Reverse Flash, season 2’s Zoom and season 3’s Savitar, it’s probably time for a change.
The Big Bad will be quick-witted rather than fleet-footed, with The Thinker – aka Clifford DeVoe – confirmed as season 4’s main antagonist.
© DC COMICS
The news won’t come as a huge surprise to The Flash fans, with DeVoe having been mentioned – as a threat Barry was yet to face – by two time-travelling villains, Savitar and Abra Kadabra.
Though there are four different versions of the character, the Clifford DeVoe version of the Thinker is one of The Flash’s most enduring enemies, having first appeared in All-Flash #12, published way back in 1943.
A failed lawyer who believed he was a superior intellect to the criminal element, DeVoe started a new career as a ‘brain’ for small-time crooks, using a ‘Thinking Cap’ that could project mental force.
We know Barry’s fast enough to take on all-comers… but is he smart enough to defeat this latest threat?