EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: John Wesley Shipp Talks Bringing The Flash’s Jay Garrick To DC’s Stargirl Season 2

While DC’s Stargirl may not be set on Earth-Prime, the teen drama is definitely connected to the Arrowverse. Through their brief cameo in Crisis on Infinite Earths, revealing to take place on a new Earth-2, Stargirl season 2 is starting to build those bridges with the larger franchise. John Wesley Shipp is no stranger to the DC Universe, from having played Barry Allen on CBS’ The Flash TV show, Henry Allen and Jay Garrick on The CW’s The Flash. This year, not only did fans get to see his big return in The Flash season 7, but Shipp is helping build a larger bridge between Stargirl and the other shows.

Tonight, the Golden Age Flash stars in tonight’s episode of the sophomore season, playing a pivotal role in a Justice Society flashback storyline that connects to what’s happening currently in Blue Valley. The Flash Podcast/DC TV Podcasts was fortunate to sit down with Shipp for an exclusive interview to discuss his role on Stargirl. Throughout this part of the interview, Shipp speaks highly of getting to crossover into Earth-2, clarifying which Jay is playing, and his journey within The Flash universe.

DISCLAIMER: Part 2 will be released tonight after the airing of Stargirl season 2, episode 9. Please do not reproduce the interview or break up pieces through screenshots. We request that you link to our original articles when using it on other platforms.

DC TV Podcasts: You have been through a lot with this Flash character for the last six-seven years! You’ve been everywhere, you’ve been Jay Garrick, you’ve been your own Barry Allen, you’ve been Henry and now you’ve been on The Flash AND Stargirl. So before you came over to Stargirl, how much did you know about Jay’s history with the JSA from the comics, was that something you already did know about while being on The Flash? Or was this guest spot your introduction to this other side of Jay’s history?

John Wesley Shipp: No I knew about it, I knew about Jay’s origins and that he came out of the gate fighting Nazis and that he took his father’s Doughboy helmet and put wings on it. That’s where that comes from, that legacy right out of the gate right there was so important to Jay when I was on The Flash I changed the line when we were protecting Bart [Allen] from the Godspeed. The line was written I say ‘We give them hell, Flash,’ and I asked to change it to ‘I say we give them HECK, Flash,’ you know honoring his golden age sensibilities and I’m so glad I did because the Jay that I walked into on Stargirl was exactly that.

DC TV Podcasts: Okay, so just for clarification, because I know myself included and a lot of people have been wondering; the Jay you play on Stargirl, this is the same Jay we’ve been falling for almost eight years now on The Flash, like it’s just on Earth-2?

John Wesley Shipp: The episode establishes the Golden Age Flash as a member of Earth-2’s JSA and with this action I get to be The Flash ambassador who officially brings DC’s Stargirl into the Post-Crisis CWverse.

DC TV Podcasts: That’s what I was assuming happened that some time Post-Crisis in this new history, you lived on Earth-2 and then maybe somehow came to Earth-Prime because when you came back [on The Flash season 7] and a lot of people were like ‘Wait he’s been on this Earth this entire time?’ So this is definitely the same person that we were just seeing him in a different time of his life?

John Wesley Shipp: Yeah! Yes. As I understand it, more will be revealed but as I understand it to this date, yes.

DC TV Podcasts: That’s great! I mean, because when they do these crossovers, reboot stuff, and so on obviously things can change. So what’s different now about Jay, besides him living on this other Earth, what is new? Does he have kids in this timeline? How different is Jay while still having all The Flash history that he has had for the last seven years?

John Wesley Shipp: What the most thing that I concentrated on was that Geoff Johns [showrunner/executive producer] brought Jay into his classic self. You know what I mean? In other words, when I walk into that garage, I’m walking into my seat of authority. I’m carrying my authority because in the society that exists, there is no Justice League, it’s the Justice Society. And I’m a founding member and a leading voice in a leading authority of that. I’m moving in the Stargirl flashback in my own seat of authority. That made me feel in some ways that I was playing a history to The Flash that I play on The Flash that I was finding out more about his commitment to ethics and principles. Even if it meant short-term pain, you know that he is totally committed to the idea of the Justice Society. You know, we’re talking a lot today about democracy in America, and that democracy is an ideal and an idea. Well, the Justice Society is an ideal, and an idea that Jay is very much committed to.

DC TV Podcasts: I think when people watch this episode Tuesday night, I think there are people who will ask for more. They’re going to want to see more of your history with all these members. So, and I’m not going to ask for spoilers necessarily, but what are the chances that we might see you in season 3 of Stargirl?

John Wesley Shipp: Well, I would say that if that were to happen, that would be very open to it. Other than that, it’s not my place to say. That is a question for Geoff. [laughs] I would like to forward all of those questions to Geoff Johns.

DC TV Podcasts: I’m hoping to see you in season 3 and also, of course, The Flash season 8! Because whenever people hear you’re coming back, whether it’s as Jay or if Earth-90 Flash, on social media, they always, they always get excited. And you’ve been part of this legacy now for over 30 years. You get to not only give something to the people who followed you through the 90s on your show, but you’re getting this whole new generation introduced. They’re watching The Flash or watching Stargirl or even people like me, revisiting the original TV show. So what is it you love so much about this mythology that keeps making you want to come back and explore these characters, whether it is Jay, Henry, Barry?

John Wesley Shipp: The thing I loved about Barry at the beginning was that he’s, he’s a regular guy caught in extraordinary circumstances. He’s from a cop family where real cops work the streets, but he was CSI before CSI was cool in 1990. And just a deeply good guy who doesn’t want to be a hero, particularly but who assumes the powers because his brother’s killed. Barry’s heart is always in the right place. His head is sometimes trying to catch up, but his heart, he just wants to [help], he’s not a vigilante. He’s not a tough guy. But he wants to try to have a positive impact. You know, in his world, it was a trip then to get to play my own worst enemy on Batman: Brave and the Bold as Professor Zoom. That was a trip! By the time the 2014 show came around The CW’s Flash, there have been some major changes in the origin story.

And when I heard how Geoff Johns had blown up the Allen family how suddenly Henry was wrongfully convicted of killing his wife in front of a 10-year-old Barry. I thought if they were to come to me, that’s the role I would want because that’s the role I would want to play. That is a set of given circumstances I would want to play whether I had ever been associated with the franchise or not. Having been associated with the franchise. It made it a perfect fit for me to go in and play Barry’s father during that origin story. Because Grant [Gustin] knew john had played the role that he’s now stepping into. So we already had a connection. You know, and some have pointed out there are various feelings amongst fans of Stargirl about whether it should be connected to the CW verse, or whether it should be its own thing. Some people were for it, and some people were against it. Someone who was against it told me that it was such a perfect choice to choose me.

Because I’ve already connected worlds, I connected the 1990 world and brought it into The CW canon. For me to be the one then to crossover and bring Stargirl and maybe make it easier for the people who are opposed to that happening to accept if I was the one to go over and pull Stargirl into the CWverse. So it’s a great honor. You know, I mean, who else has had an opportunity to look at a franchise from so many different angles? You know, it’s something I had to come to an acceptance about, right? Because, you know, I’ve done my Broadway shows, I have my Emmys, I played my drug-addicted cops, I’ve shown all of me on the NYPD Blue. I have played good dads, I have played psycho dad, you know, I’ve had a 41-year career, about seven of those years, have been involved in being connected with The Flash-verse. And so whereas sometimes I might, in the past have gotten a reaction to someone saying ‘Well, you’ve been The Flash for 30 years!’ Well, it’s been over a 30 year period, but not the whole time, and not the same character. Well, I’ve let go of having some of that come up. And I have come to a degree of acceptance and appreciation and gratitude that I that one season, one back-breaking, expensive bank-busting season of a superhero show 30 years ago, had so much resonance, that 24 and now 31 years later, it still makes such an impact. When they asked me to perform some function in the new version, I’m deeply grateful. And I’ve come to a deep place of acceptance of being in that position.

DC TV Podcasts: Well, I think I speak for a lot of fans that it’s always a pleasure seeing you in any of these roles on any of these shows. Like you said, I don’t think many actors can say that they be able to do the things you’ve done. I can for example, not imagine anyone else as Jay Garrick, going forward. So I’m definitely excited to see more whatever that might be if it’s on Stargirl season 3, The Flash season 8 and/or I mean, heck, maybe a Justice Society spin-off, you know, as a prequel, who knows, and just putting it out there in the universe.

John Wesley Shipp: Wouldn’t that be something? [laughs]

DC TV Podcasts: That would be quite something amazing! But before I let you go, I wanted to ask because fans are constantly tweeting you,, saying what they want to see for Jay. But as someone who’s now been playing Jay for almost five-six years now, is there something you want to see for Jay, as you go forward in the next few years, wherever that might be.

John Wesley Shipp: I would love it, speaking of Stargirl, if there was some way further for me to have an impact on Brec Bassinger’s Stargirl. Because one of the wonderful things about Stargirl is that the most interesting part of any story is the origin story. And with a teenage lead, you have a rolling origin story. Everything she’s learning is new to her, including the fact that there’s a legacy going back decades, in which some of us have dealt with the very same thing she’s bumping up against with that we’ve dealt with similar or the same thing. And that decisions that we have made rightly or wrongly can inform her young life.

I love that you know, John as he gets older, and now that I’m playing Jay Garrick, an older Golden Age version of Flash, going over to The Flash, we set up a beautiful relationship that confuses Jay, quite frankly, in the last two episodes of season seven. He doesn’t understand why Bart [Allen] feels this connection to him, because he hasn’t lived it yet. Bart comes back in time to save Jay. So there’s this kid who has this incredible connection to him. Jay doesn’t really yet know why. But in some ways, Bart is more connected to Jay than he is to his own dad. And wouldn’t that be an interesting color to play? Especially given that when I was Henry, Barry had a connection to Joe, because Joe raised him from the age of 10 onward. And I’m the doppelganger of Barry’s father. So there are just so many avenues to explore. But I hope that depending on Jordan Fisher’s schedule, I hope that – and [The Flash showrunner/executive producer] Eric Wallace and I have discussed it – that we get to see more of the mentor relationship, particularly as they’ve said in, we’re both impulsive, I called him impulsive, and that’s like ultimately ‘Oh, I love that name! Okay, impulse. I’m gonna be known as Impulse.’ Because Uncle Jay says so. And that Jay sees a part of himself and bar. I would love to live out that relationship.

DC TV Podcasts: Well, fingers crossed that we get to see it but John, thank you so much. It’s been an honor and pleasure, hoping to speak to you again in the near future. And yeah, I look forward to fans seeing this episode Tuesday night.

John Wesley Shipp: Thank you so much, Andy!


“JOHN WESLEY SHIPP GUEST STARS AS JAY GARRICK — As Eclipso (Nick Tarabay) takes aim at the Whitmore/Dugan’s, Pat (Luke Wilson) is reminded of painful memories from his past involving the original JSA and their fight to take down Eclipso. Meanwhile, Mike (Trae Romano) is forced to confront the guilt he feels for his role in Icicle’s death, and Barbara (Amy Smart) comes face to face with someone from her past. Finally, Courtney (Brec Bassinger) struggles to hold onto hope after Eclipso targets those around her. Hunter Sansone also stars. Andi Armaganian directed the episode written by Alfredo Septién & Turi Meyer (#209). Original airdate 10/5/2021.”

DC’s Stargirl season 2 air new episodes on Tuesday nights at 8/7c on The CW – stream them the next day only on The CW and The CW app!

DISCLAIMER: Part 2 will be released tonight after the airing of Stargirl season 2, episode 9. Please do not reproduce the interview or break up pieces through screenshots. We request that you link to our original articles when using it on other platforms.

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