WARNING: This The Flash interview with Danielle Panabaker is a full-on MAJOR SPOILER article as it breaks down tonight’s episode of The Flash Season 8, Episode 13, “Death Falls.” Read at your own risk!
The Flash season 8 has been going through one of its darkest storylines this year as the show re-imagined the DC baddie Deathstorm while also jumping into the world of horror and supernatural. As the latest graphic novel got more intense over the last few weeks, it became evident that a tragic death was on its way and this week’s episode came as a game-changer for Team Flash as they lost one of their allies.
While it stopped Deathstorm once and for all, Killer Frost made the ultimate sacrifice in order to defeat the big bad. Even though this is in a comic book and superhero universe, The Flash’s massive death is sticking as “Death Falls” was not a fakeout nor will they retcon the heartbreaking ending.
The Flash Podcast’s Andy Behbakht recently sat down with Danielle Panabaker, who has portrayed Caitlin Snow and Frost for over eight years, to breakdown “Death Falls.” Throughout the interview, Panabaker discusses how this story came about, the experience of playing two characters at the same time, a reflection on Frost’s legacy, as well as tease how this affect’s Caitlin’s arc going forward in Season 8. This interview is available in text and audio version, both on podcast platforms and on DC TV Podcasts’ YouTube channel.
DISCLAIMER: Please do NOT reproduce the interview or break up pieces through screenshots. We request that you link to our original article when using it on other platforms.
The Flash Podcast: It’s good to see you finally, again, although virtually. But hopefully, maybe this summer, maybe we’ll be all reunited [at San Diego Comic-Con 2022.]
Danielle Panabaker: Nice to see you as well! And yes, we’ll see! It’s tough to keep up with COVID, I feel things are constantly changing.
The Flash Podcast: I have to give props to all you guys who have worked on the show for the last two years during these very trying times. You never know when something’s gonna shut down again. So major props for completing two seasons under a pandemic. Who would have known in 2014, when this show happened, that this would have gone down?
Danielle Panabaker: Yes, that’s correct, thank you! It’s certainly been a challenge for sure.
The Flash Podcast: This episode, I full-on cried, of course. This punched me in the gut, in the heart, so much. It was powerful; you guys did a great job with this whole story that has been very powerful in general. So let’s start from the beginning. When did you find out that this was happening? Was this something that you and [showrunner] Eric Wallace had discussed how to lay it out?
Danielle Panabaker: This was initially something Eric had pitched to me last summer between Season 7 and 8. It was his idea – I give all credit to him – and my biggest question was ‘Are we actually going to kill Frost? Or is this just going to be a fake?’ and I really wanted it to be an actual death. It just didn’t seem right to tease killing Frost and have it not be real; it would be too impactful on the team. This is a real death, it’s not a fake-out and I went into the season knowing that this is where we were headed. In particular, I think it shapes and informs the second graphic novel with Deathstorm and gives some of the storylines a little bit more weight when you realize that they’re getting ready for Frost’s goodbye.
The Flash Podcast: Going into this episode, I was trying to remember the last time we had a major depth because while I love Tom Cavanagh, no matter how many times you kill off Harrisons Wells, there would always be new a one next year! [laughs] Also, there’s always Eobard Thawne. This definitely felt like this is permanent. It’s real; the stakes are here. I think that makes for good storytelling. Did you, at any point, after Season 4 when Frost became a bigger player, imagine at the back of your mind that by the time the show ends – whenever that is – one of them may bite the dust?
Danielle Panabaker: No, not at all! I think you’re right; Season 4 is when she started to come into her own a little bit, and more in Season 5. There were sort of flipping back and forth. It was prior to Season 6 that Eric pitched this idea to me that they would each have their own separate body, which was a cool idea. But when he pitched it to me, it was only meant to be for a few episodes. It was not meant to be [permanent] I think it was meant to be for 5 or 6 episodes. Yet here we are almost two full seasons of playing two full characters. What I think became the bigger challenge was pulling off logistically and practically playing two characters in scenes with themselves. That was challenging to say the least. That was something I never saw coming and I think I always anticipated that at some point, they’d merge back into one body and I wouldn’t be playing both. But never did I think that they would kill off either of them.
The Flash Podcast: I never knew that there was actually a plan to bring them back together. Do you know what that was supposed to look like, or was that something that had only been discussed?
Danielle Panabaker: I don’t know that there was a plan to bring them back together. I think that’s where I thought in my mind we would go just because the practicality of having me play two characters who look so vastly different is extraordinarily time-consuming. I just didn’t think it was sustainable on our schedule, so I thought that they would merge them back together, I didn’t think that they would kill off [either of them.]
The Flash Podcast: Something we’ve talked about on The Flash Podcast a lot this season is that when there are scenes with Caitlin and Frost are both together, we’ve seen the evolution of an actor playing two characters at the same time, it seems like. Even though it has been, as you said, energy-consuming, has it technical-wise gotten easier to do that?
Danielle Panabaker: I don’t know if technically it has gotten easier. It’s funny, I’ve been doing scenes with just myself for a while, since the beginning of Season 7, really. When you do a wide shot or a master shot, oftentimes we use a dolly, we use a techno dolly, and it records the take. The camera moves in exact timing with what is happening in the scene. Once you get a take you’re happy with, that take you’re then married to. Initially, it was just me and scenes with myself, and then you have to match that cadence. You can’t take an extra breath; you can’t take an extra pause, you can’t speed up. It takes some of the magic out of a scene when you have to be so precise with the timing.
I had gotten used to it, and then slowly, as I started adding more characters into the scenes, someone would need to give a disclaimer we’ve been before every scene. ‘Just so you know, once we find a take we’re happy with, you’re all married to it and you can’t change.’ it’s a challenge, and if you flub a line or take an extra beat, and you get behind, the take is useless, and you have to start all over again. It’s a tedious process, and I don’t know that it’s gotten easier over the past two years. I think I just know what to expect. Maybe I’ve gotten better at it, hopefully I’ve gotten better at it!
The Flash Podcast: I feel in earlier seasons, you would see Frost and someone from the back and vice versa. But now we’re seeing more and more of them in front of each other. Maybe the technology has evolved since this arc started?
Danielle Panabaker: Using the dolly is more time-consuming, and sometimes they’ll just do a camera that they lock off, and that camera has to stay there, but then that camera can’t work while I’m changing. It’s about 90 minutes for me to change from one character to the other, it’s such a time-thing.
The Flash Podcast: You’ve been here with the show since the beginning, and you’ve gone through a lot of storylines and villains. But this year, you guys got to go into the horror which I’ve loved as I said before. For you, who have been here since the start, what was it for you to get to jump into that genre, something different and raises the bar a bit?
Danielle Panabaker: It’s fun, and I think that’s what Eric really had fun with over the last few years as he’s taken over [as showrunner]. When we had Bloodwork [Sendhil Ramamurthy,] he did this sort of zombie chapter. I love that Eric has broken it up into these different graphic novels. I think it helps keep the storytelling fresh and keep the bad guys still scary. In my opinion, The Flash is only as scary as the villain that they’re fighting. The villain needs to actually be scary; otherwise, you’re not really invested. We did the zombie one in Season 6 a little bit and then the Mirror Mistress [Efrat Dor], and then in Season 7, [we had] a couple of different graphic novels. I think Eric, in particular, was really looking forward to this horror element. It was fun; it’s nice to get to slow down and get creepy feet walking through hallways and things like that. As a director and watching all these other directors, it’s fun not to just stick to a formula.
The Flash Podcast: I agree with that of having these multi-arcs where we also get more content just to watch in general. I remember those years when we had one villain for 22 episodes.
Danielle Panabaker: 23 sometimes! [laughs]
The Flash Podcast: 23 even, I had forgotten that it used to be 23 even! [laughs]
Danielle Panabaker: I’m trying to forget. [laughs]
DISCLAIMER: Please do NOT reproduce the interview or break up pieces through screenshots. We request that you link to our original article when using it on other platforms.
The Flash Podcast: I can understand that! I don’t know how much you did this, after this last episode [12, “Death Rises,”] aired but did you check out and see what people were speculating online about what was going on?
Danielle Panabaker: No, I hadn’t checked to be honest. Were they surprised?
The Flash Podcast: I saw a lot of people’s speculations. There were definitely theories about who was going to die. Some people thought it was Caitlin while others speculated it was Frost, some guessed it was other characters. Because it seemed like episode 14 “Funeral for a Friend” was really going to push everyone. With all the ghosts coming back, I can understand why.
Danielle Panabaker: Yeah, and I think that’s what’s great about this villain is that he affects every member of Team Flash and the different people they’ve lost and are grieving.
The Flash Podcast: Speaking of grieving, we here on The Flash Podcast were a little heartbroken who are all SnowStorm fans. Because we were all going ‘Are they finally going to get to be together again?! Is Caitlin finally gonna be able to catch a freaking break?’ But our hearts were stomped on when we found out he’s Deathstorm. You get to work with Robbie [Amell, who plays Ronnie Raymond/Firestorm/Deathstorm] again; what was it like working with him in this capacity? Especially since you guys haven’t worked together since Season 3 or 4?
Danielle Panabaker: It’s been a while since Robbie was on the show! I adore Robbie; we have kids that are about the same age. It’s been fun to go through the different stages of life together. As parents, I’ve texted Italia [Ricci, Amell’s wife] for advice, such as ‘What did you do with X, Y, and Z?’ I just adore them as a family. It was so nice to have Robbie back on the show, and it was also nice to get to play those lighter scenes. Robbie was on the show for Season 1, and obviously, Caitlin and Ronnie, in my opinion, were meant to be together forever! [laughs] It is truly devastating that they were not, and even though you could see that their love was real and deep. Season 1 wasn’t a particularly happy time for them either. To get to see some of those flashbacks, particularly in episode 11 “Resurrection,” to see their love was really nice. It’s also something we don’t get to see enough of on The Flash, to see the levity and that sort of thing. It was great to have Robbie back, and I think he did such a great job as the villain too.
The Flash Podcast: Definitely. Because I remember just seeing anytime when Stephen Amell [Oliver Queen/Green Arrow] would play a little bit with darkness, I thought ‘Okay, so this is something they can all do in their family, they can both be very heroic, but also very scary.’ [laughs] I’m sure you can’t say too much: obviously, this is going to be hard on Caitlin, especially from that last scene in “Death Falls,” so how does it go for Caitlin as we get to the rest of the season? We’ve seen her deal with grief before – and I can’t stress this point enough – this girl can’t catch a break! Where do we go with her for the rest of the season?
Danielle Panabaker: I know! [laughs] I think it’s going to be tough. Grief is not something that has a specific plan or always follows the same route, and I think she’s going to have to deal with all of her various feelings. Denial, anger, bargaining resentment, and it’s going to be a tough journey for her, absolutely.
The Flash Podcast: Something I liked about “Death Falls” was seeing a little more of Mark [Jon Cor.] I guess Caitlin and Mark have kind of become friends over the time we’ve seen them together but do you see them kind of getting closer as friends as they grieve together?
Danielle Panabaker: The scene in episode 13 where you see Frost and Mark have a heart-to-heart is very important. Because when you look at Frost as a character and see the depth that she has, it really makes sense that she would pick someone with depth as well. At first glance, you don’t necessarily think that ChillBlaine has that. It’s very easy to write him off as someone with less substance, but I think that scene starts to show that there is more to him, and you understand why Frost has fallen in love with him and is so committed to their relationship.
I think this season has shown a lot of maturity from Frost, particularly with her sister saying, ‘Look, this is my boyfriend, this is my person, and I’ve chosen him, and you need to deal with it.’ I think that just shows a remarkable amount of maturity from Frost, and I think it’s nice that we’re finally getting to see a little bit more about Mark and why she would feel that way about him. I think Caitlin has become tolerant of Mark. It’s always that thing of when someone hurts someone you love, as Mark did hurt Frost, it’s a little bit harder for you to forgive them than maybe the person who’s in love with them. I think there’s still a little hesitation between the two of them. But you’re right; they do share the common bond of having lost this person we loved.
The Flash Podcast: I agree. I always imagined that if something like this had happened, the person she would obviously go to first and be there for her would be Cisco [Carlos Valdes], but sadly, we don’t have him anymore.
Danielle Panabaker: I’m very sad that we don’t have him anymore.
The Flash Podcast: I’m still hoping, whenever the show does end, for more or at least one more episode with you together. Because one of the core relationships of this show has always been Cisco and Caitlin, no matter what. They came together [into the Arrowverse] and they stay together. You talked about how energy-consuming it was playing two characters. But as you’re wrapping up Frost’s journey on the show, what were some of the highlights playing a character who’s this iconic in the comics that this show have taken into so many different directions, Because when you came in at the beginning of The Flash, you probably thought ‘I’m playing this doctor, and then also later this villain?’ but instead it became this whole other thing. So what are some of your fondest memories of playing Frost?
Danielle Panabaker: I’ve always enjoyed playing Frost, and I love that she’s had such an arc over the last few years in particular. She’s grown so much, and she’s experienced so much. She’s made a lot of mistakes, and hopefully learned from them. I’ve always loved her attitude. I feel she’s been able to get away with saying things, in part because she’s been around for so long. And partly because she’s connected to Caitlin, and in part, because she’s fearless. She can say things that other members of Team Flash can’t or won’t. She’s definitely given Barry some lip, I think in ways that other characters wouldn’t. I’ll miss that and I think it’ll be a dynamic on Team Flash that’s definitely missing as well.
The Flash Podcast: The thing that is so good about The Flash, but also the Arrowverse in general, is that dead doesn’t always mean goodbye. I know this death is sticking, and even though the show hasn’t really explored the new Multiverse yet, there are doors and opportunities for you to still play another Killer Frost from a different universe. If that opportuntiy presented itself, would you be game to do it again? And if so, is there something different you would want to play with a new version that you didn’t get to do with this one?
Danielle Panabaker: Maybe. There was a point when Killer Frost was first introduced in Season 3 where I really thought she was going to be a villain. I had pitched at one point that maybe she should be one of the bad guys in Season 4; let’s really lean into the Killer Frost of it all. They didn’t make that choice. I think that’s something that’s fun, but it’s also not sustainable in the way that having her be a member of Team Flash would be. That would be something, but I don’t know if that storyline would carry us as long as other storylines have. So I understand why they chose not to make her the big bad, but that could be something else worth exploring.
The Flash Podcast: Frost have had so many different looks on the show, do you have a personal favorite out of them? I feel that the last one you had was the ultimate perfect look, but what was your favorite?
Danielle Panabaker: Yes, yes, maybe just not film in Vancouver? [laughs] Yeah, this winter, in particular, was the coldest winter. In the 8 seasons, we’ve filmed, this was the coldest winter we’ve ever had. They shut down everything, like no one was going to work except those of us on The Flash. [laughs]
The Flash Podcast: We were talking before about how Caitlin doesn’t seem to be able to catch a break. If you could pitch the ideal happy story for Caitlin that you feel there has never been and never been allowed to get, whether it’s later this season or in Season 9, what would that chapter be? What would you want Eric to do, because I just want this girl, after everything she’s been through for eight years, to get a win!
Danielle Panabaker: I know! Look, if we’re pitching the happily ever after, it’s that Ronnie didn’t actually disappear in the singularity. ‘We’re just kidding; he’s taking a long nap! [laughs] He’s back, and Caitlin and Ronnie are going to live happily ever after as they were meant to! They’re both going to continue changing the world in their own ways. She’s the scientist, and he builds everything that she needs to heal the world.
DISCLAIMER: Please do NOT reproduce the interview or break up pieces through screenshots. We request that you link to our original article when using it on other platforms.
The Flash Podcast: I know Robbie talked about how much fun he had filming those flashbacks when he was around for episode 11. Do you want to talk a little more about it from your side of it? Because it was such unexplored territory with the life before, everything just literally blew up. How was it like filming that chapter of their lives?
Danielle Panabaker: That was something that we hadn’t seen before -and when talking about Caitlin getting a win – that’s not something we get to do very often. We don’t see her genuinely happy, and it was a real treat to get to do that and to get to do that with Robbie who’s such a pro and easy to work with. We had a lot of fun with those scenes.
The Flash Podcast: I know this episode says definitively that Ronnie is gone-gone. But do you think there’s a slight chance that he may actually still be out there? Maybe by the time The Flash ends, Eric is going to come and drop a twist of ‘Guess what? You’re going to be rewarded. You’re gonna get your happy ending!’ Has that been something you and Robbie, even jokingly so, talked about?
Danielle Panabaker: [laughs] Maybe I’m just trying to manifest it! It’s not something that Robbie and I have talked about. Robbie, who is so talented and busy with all the other things that he’s on, truly I stalked him for weeks, maybe months! Just be like, ‘Okay, so I think it’s these episodes, what’s happening? Are you available? Please, let’s make this work.’
The Flash Podcast: I could definitely not imagine this storyline without Robbie, no matter who he was playing.
Danielle Panabaker: Eric had this idea, and he’s such a planner, which I love about him because I’m the same way. He had this idea last summer and he knew it was going to be the second graphic novel. Initially, we were only supposed to do 18 episodes this season. Then we got stretched to 20 episodes this season. It was a little bit of a moving target in order to figure out if we were going to be able to get Robbie, so I’m glad we were able to. Because you’re right, there’s something poetic about Deathstorm being the one to finally take down Frost.
The Flash Podcast: I know that this arc was a little bit inspired by the Blackest Night story from the comics. How familiar were you with it because I know Eric is a huge comic book fan. Were you familiar with the larger mythology of Deathstorm and also the Blackest Night in general and concept?
Danielle Panabaker: To be honest, I’m not that familiar. I made a choice very early on, on the show to try and not keep up [with the comics.] Because there’s no way for me to keep up! I try to pay attention to our scripts, because, particularly in some of the more confusing times, all I can hold on to is the script. If I had other storylines in my head, I think I’d get confused. So I try and stick to what’s on our scripts, and focus on that. I will say, when I’m directing, visually, I go to the comic books for inspiration. But story-wise, I try to stick to whatever story it is that we’re trying to tell as a TV show.
The Flash Podcast: I remember you said something about that when you did that Godspeed episode in Season 5! Those few times when you have gotten to explore the comics a bit, what has your experience been like to see the DC Universe from this other lense, as opposed to the Arrowverse?
Danielle Panabaker: It’s great and particularly useful as a director, you know what I mean? As you’re thinking about framing shots and how you want to tell the story and use the camera and your composition to tell the story that you want to tell. It’s fun, and it gives great inspiration. Sometimes it’s not always achievable on our budget or schedule, but I love seeing them.
The Flash Podcast: Now I know next week’s episode – with such a gut-wrenching episode title like “Funeral for a Friend – I’m guessing for us viewers, this is not going to be easy. But just how devastating is this episode, if you could give a tease, especially for Caitlin?
Danielle Panabaker: I think it’s a tough one for sure. I think you see a little bit of the way Caitlin’s coping or not at the end of episode 13. She goes into doctor-mode and is trying to focus on saving Frost. She’s not going to accept any answer other than ‘I need to do X, Y, and Z, and this will keep her alive.’ There’s a little bit of denial there until it has to hit her when she has to tell the rest of Team Flash that Frost didn’t make it. And I think you’re going to see different levels of that in episode 14 as well. Again, that denial, anger, bargaining, and resentment. I think it’s going to be tough for the rest of the season for Caitlin.
The Flash Podcast: Without giving any spoilers, would you say that by the time we get to the season finale, we see Caitlin being a little closer to normalcy? Normalcy as one can get with having a sister with powers who was inside of you this whole time before getting separated and then sacrificing herself to save the city. If this storyline taught us anything, it’s that the grief isn’t completely gone and always with us in one way or another.
Danielle Panabaker: I don’t think so. I don’t think that the grief and the loss of Frost are going to be wrapped up that nicely by the end of this season. I don’t know that we’re going to get the resolution that you’re looking for. Unfortunately.
The Flash Podcast: Another punch in the gut, but there is Season 9, so hopefully in Season 9! Because again, if this girl has not gotten a single win by the time the show’s over, I’m going to have questions! Has it, at this point, become like a running joke between you and some of the cast members?
Danielle Panabaker: [laughs] I do make jokes about it. But it also is good storytelling, it’s fun, and I’ve been given the opportunity to tell such great stories over the last few years. The story of Caitlin and Frost living together, not getting along. Is it necessarily the funniest storyline? No, but it’s a good storyline and something worth exploring. It’s human, it’s relationships, and I like exploring those different sides.
The Flash Podcast: Something I wanted to add to that was about Carla [Susan Walters] being back a few weeks ago, which was a great surprise. We got to see them bond, and I wanted to ask, was that something you guys had planned to make sure that before Frost’s story ended, they were in a better place?
Danielle Panabaker: I think that would be more of an Eric question. The second graphic novel does take on a little more weight or a little different weight when you realize that this is the end for Frost. All these storylines, in terms of her maturity, in terms of her relationship with Mark, as well as Frost and her mom getting to a different place. I think that’s important, considering that this is the end of the road for Frost.
The Flash Podcast: I wanted to ask you this, back during Armageddon, because when I spoke to Eric, he had teased that there was this huge scene between Caitlin and Eobard [Tom Cavanagh,] eight years in the making. How satisfying was it for you as an actress to get to see the character give this man her peace of mind?
Danielle Panabaker: It was so important, in particular, because I feel like we’ve seen Barry get to have his moments with Eobard over the years. Even Cisco, in different capacities, has gotten the opportunity to sort of going toe-to-toe with him. That was something we’d never seen from Caitlin, and she was betrayed by Eobard just as much as the gentlemen were. I think it was really important, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to get to stand up to him and to get to say those things to him.
The Flash Podcast: Even though it took so many seasons, were you glad that when it actually happened, it was something on this scale? Especially with Caitlin’s role as a doctor, talking about saving people but how she felt that she doesn’t have to save him technically when he causes all this harm.
Danielle Panabaker: She doesn’t have to save him, and I think it’s a significant decision for her to be able to stand up to him, in particular. I think she gets to take some of her power back.
The Flash Podcast: I’ve enjoyed you directing on the show over the last few seasons. Now that you have helmed another one, can you talk a little bit about that journey? Because I can imagine that when you first booked the show, the idea of directing was maybe not even there initially? So can you talk a little about getting to go into that role?
Danielle Panabaker: Yeah, absolutely. It was certainly not something I was thinking about when I joined the show, not at all. I’ve been acting for a long time, and I’ve worked with some incredible directors, who have been very patient with me. I worked with a director named Fred Schepisi on a miniseries for HBO, called Empire Falls. It was one of the first things I’d ever done. I had taken acting classes, and there’s only so much you can learn about acting classes. Then there were things that you learn on set and actually being there and just little things that you don’t think about. For example, if you’re holding a prop, not to crinkle the prop over your line because then you’ll have to do ADR, things that they don’t teach you, or at least they didn’t teach me in acting class. They taught me theories and things like that. But they don’t necessarily teach you the practicality of hitting the mark without looking down and things like that. And Fred was incredibly generous with me and would let me watch him edit. It was a learning process, and I think it’s where I fell in love with film and television and filmmaking.
I remember having this conversation with Todd Helbing [Superman & Lois exeuctive producer/showrunner, who ran The Flash until Season 5,] and I won’t tell you what the context was, where I said to him, ‘Just tell me what story it is you’re trying to tell. And I will do my part; just tell me what the story is.’ I’ve always come from the perspective of what is the story we’re trying to tell because an actor’s role in that is only one piece of the pie. I’ve had a lot of mentors, and people who taught, showed, and shared with me, that have shaped my approach to my work in general. It wasn’t until I watched Tom direct and watched our extremely talented crew, that I started to think ‘Oh, this is something that I actually would be interested in doing.’ I think I made our line producer JP crazy [laughs] because I was away from home, it being Los Angeles. I was away from home for 9-10 months a year. I decided to use every spare moment I had in the production office just learning as much as I could learning about, you name it, budgets.
The thing in particular on this show that’s fascinating is the visual effects. They dictate so much of the show and the choices that are made in the storytelling that’s made and different things like that. So starting, probably, I think, in Season 3 , but definitely in Season 4, I started just showing up in every meeting, and learning as much as I could. Todd Helbing, in particular, was also incredibly supportive. Over hiatus, I would go and watch them edit and I learned so much. I think it initially came from a place of wanting to learn and wanting to understand. Then seeing Tom do it, and so flawlessly and successfully. I threw my hat in the ring, and I shadowed Tom a couple of times. I shadowed David McWhirter on our Season 4 finale before they gave me my big shot in Season 5.
The Flash Podcast: That must be so rewarding to not only be on a show that’s been on this long but that also allows you to use this additional experience for when you move to your next chapter. You will have not only played multiple characters for several years, but you’ve gotten producing experience and these other tools that you’re talking about that comes from just being in the office.
Danielle Panabaker: It’s true, and I’m so grateful to everyone who has said yes to me because it’s always easier to say no. I could go on for a long time with all the people who have said yes as I’ve asked for help and support, and guidance. I’m very grateful to all the people who have supported me in this because it takes a village [to make an episode] and in so many ways, this is a group project. There are so many people who touch every episode of The Flash. I’m very grateful for all I’ve learned on this show.
The Flash Podcast: I know you probably can’t say too much, but can you tease anything about your latest episode you directed, episode 17?
Danielle Panabaker: I’m really excited. This was a new challenge. One of the fun things about Eric taking over the show is that he really gives a lot of great advice before you start directing. But one of my favorite things is that he always says ‘Make your best episode.’ Whatever that is, he’s not necessarily looking for you to read his mind and follow a formula and shoot every close up exactly the same way. He really empowers directors to make their best episode, and whatever that looks like, each episode tends to have its own flavor. When I directed “License to Elongate” in Season 6, it was a Bond-themed episode.
This year, the movie he gave me for reference was John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13, which is not a vibe you would typically expect from a Flash episode. Every episode has its own challenges, and this one is our bottle episode. It’s filmed in 7 days instead of 8, so we’re constantly running against time with this one. But it’s a lot of fun, this is another Allegra [Kayla Compton] centric episode and I’m really proud of her. As a fan of the show, obviously, I will miss Frost. But I do think perhaps there is an opportunity for Allegra to sort of step forward and maybe be out in the field a little bit more with Barry now that Frost is gone. I love working with Kayla and collaborating with her. I think that’s something that I do a little differently than a lot of directors and perhaps because I know our show so well. But I like to invite the actors to collaborate as much as possible with decisions that are made in prep and things like that. I’m hopeful, I’m excited for this episode for Kayla, and for the character of Allegra and hopeful that it starts to open more doors for her.
The Flash Podcast: For one of my remaining questions, as you know, the Arrowverse is celebrating ten years as of this October, and you’ve been here essentially for the entire run, starting in Arrow season 2. What have been some of your biggest takeaways of being part of not just this rich universe that Greg Berlanti has created but also just getting to be involved with the DC Universe as both Caitlin Snow and Killer Frost?
Danielle Panabaker: Oh, my gosh, I’m so grateful! It’s crazy that it’s been that long, and we’ve been here for so much of it. I think gratitude is the thing that comes to mind, really, as an actor, you just want to be able to tell good stories, and 171 episodes later, we’ve told a lot of great stories. I never had any clue how big this universe was, and I think there’s something profound about how many people it reaches across the world. The fact just to be some small part of that is humbling for sure.
The Flash Podcast: Before things are said and done, and I know crossovers haven’t been easy to make due to COVID. We had Armageddon which was such a great miracle. But are there still people from the other shows that you hope to get to work with before things are said and done?
Danielle Panabaker: Absolutely! I can’t believe [what happened] last week, [which] was a bummer of a week. [EDITOR’s NOTE: Panabaker is referencing the cancelation of Batwoman and Legends of Tomorrow on Friday, April 29, whereas this interview was conducted on Monday, May 2.] The universe is getting a little smaller, things are changing, times they are changing. I’m grateful that we’re still here, there’s still stories for us to tell. Anyone who wants to come play with us, I would love to have all the Legends and anyone from Batwoman. It’s nice that door can stay open.
The Flash Podcast: I guess that’s easier to make happen than having five or more show productions, with all the crews and so on.
Danielle Panabaker: It just depends on people’s availability. I think everybody thought the crossovers would be easy because everyone’s in Vancouver, but it’s like asking people to do five jobs at once instead of just their regular day job.
The Flash Podcast: From everything you guys or actors from the other shows have, I can tell that these productions always sound like it’s four weeks that kind of just hit one hard. It sounds like they would just be so intense, especially when you guys had Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Danielle Panabaker: Crisis was huge. But as we talk about ten years of the Arrowverse, I also feel like you needed something that big to send off the Green Arrow. Crisis on Earth-X was also massive! I will say that, believe it or not, those are the love letters to the fans. The amount of work that goes into them and every department. It’s done for the fans.
The Flash Podcast: 100% agreed; that is so noticeable. As someone who has been podcasting about the show for eight years now, I always say that it’s unbelievable that we have all of this on television every week. You guys definitely like have done a lot of hard work for long hours, with the cold nights, sometimes very cold nights. For all those extra hours you guys put into it, you’ve my deepest gratitude; it goes to all of you, and I’m sure fans who will listen or read this will likely share the same sentiment. For my final question, as a nice little bow to end this on, for anyone who will read or listen to this interview, is there anything you want to share with them as they deal with this Wednesday episode and go into the rest of the season?
Danielle Panabaker: The thing that just keeps coming up for me is gratitude. Because without the fans and without the fans who care so much and so deeply, we wouldn’t still have the opportunity to make this show. So thank you for watching, thank you for caring, and I’m sorry Frost is no longer with us. But trust me, I miss her just as much as you guys do.
The Flash Podcast: Let’s hope for some of that happiness in Season 9 and whatever comes after that. But thank you so much for chatting with us. Thanks as always for the support; it’s so flattering and something we on The Flash Podcast appreciate!
Danielle Panabaker: Of course, nice to see you again! Thank you for watching the show, for caring so deeply. Again, if you guys didn’t care, we wouldn’t get to do this. So thank you!
“Death Falls” — (8:00-9:00 p.m. ET) (TV-PG, LV) (HDTV)
GRIEF – Team Flash is under attack, and each must fight to save not only themselves but each
other. The series stars Grant Gustin, Jesse L. Martin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker,
Danielle Nicolet, Kayla Compton and Brandon McKnight. Chris Peppe directed the episode with
the story by Sam Chalsen and teleplay by Joshua V. Gilbert (#813). Original airdate 5/4/2022.
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The Flash season 8 airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW – stream the latest episodes the following day only on The CW and The CW app!
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