EXCLUSIVE Interview (Part 2) – The Flash Showrunner Eric Wallace On West-Allen In Season 8B, Season 9 Status, Directing, & More

By Andy Behbakht and Tatiana Hullender.

After a long, extensive hiatus, The Flash season 8 finally came back tonight. The midseason premiere followed XS and Impulse as they went back to take care of some good ol’ time traveling business. With more than 10 episodes left of the season, there is still so much to look forward to, and we have barely begun to scratch the surface of the next graphic novel.

As upcoming episodes get further into the next storyline, the second part of The Flash Podcast’s exclusive interview with showrunner Eric Wallace goes further into what is coming up in Season 8B. We also touch on what’s going on with the Season 9 renewal and more.

For anyone who missed Part 1, click here to see Eric talk more about how Armageddon affects Season 8B, which also includes an exciting Supergirl scoop! Heads up, this portion of the interview do include a few spoilers related to tonight’s episode, so read at your own risk

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: You’re directing The Flash for the first time this season, and I believe this is your first time since Teen Wolf. Can you share what it was like getting behind the camera?

Eric Wallace: Yeah. I had done a lot in reality television years earlier, then I’d done Teen Wolf. Running a show keeps you busy.

It’s funny because the cast, especially Dani Nicolet, kept saying, “When are you going to direct one of our shows? When are you going to do this? Why isn’t it happening now? It’s season 7. You’ve got the show running thing down. What are you wasting time for?” And I’m like, “It’s a little intense with a global pandemic. I’ve got stuff on my mind.” But I’m happy to report that Dani Nicolet can stop yelling at me. We finally did it. We all had a blast. We just had a really great time.

I got the weird episode. I don’t know if that’s a coincidence or not, but maybe it’s serendipitous because I have very weird tastes in a lot of the stuff that I like to do and the media that I like to consume. I have seen way too many David Lynch movies, obviously. When you watch something like “Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Part 1,” you’re basically looking in my brain at that point. So, I got the weird one.

I was supposed to direct the super emo one – the one that I was crying about when I was watching the cut yesterday – but I think it worked out perfectly. We were able to explore Iris’ time sickness. It’s a big Iris time sickness episode, so I was very happy about that. Grant’s performance – maybe he was doing me a solid, I don’t know, but he’s just fantastic in the episode.

I’m not a megalomaniac; I’m not a dictator. I’m pretty much the same as I am here, but I’m pretty excited and definitely passionate when it comes to directing. It’s not a subtle thing: if the take isn’t working, I’ll be like, “[sigh] It’s not working.” It’s not an inner monologue; it’s an outer monologue. It might be a little inappropriate, but then I will dive in. I want to work as a collaborator with my actors, with my camera people, with costumes and with all the department heads to create something special.

I don’t know if it’s special, but it’s definitely weird. And I hope people enjoy it, because it’s the trippy episode. That’s what it’s being called around here: the trippy episode. It’s 8.15.

Jessica mentioned finding out about Nora’s daily life script by script, so I was wondering how much you’ve gone into Nora and Bart’s lives and the time period they come from? Is that something you have mapped out in your mind, or is it a case of inspiration striking in the moment?

Eric Wallace: I have a two or three-year plan for those characters that’s ridiculously detailed.

[In 7.17] Bart talks about being a freshman in college. We have ideas specifically like, “This is the college he goes to, and this is what he studies.” When we were building 8.06 as an episode, at first, we were thinking, “Maybe we go to the future, and it’s a college adventure that they get involved in.” That ended up being a little cost prohibitive, obviously, but I think those things happen for a reason.

I think it ended up being the right thing at the right time, because by going back to our show’s past, it allowed us to explore, “What happens when the Flash is the Flash, but he’s not the Flash yet because he’s in a coma for nine months? Aren’t all those villains still out and about doing things?” It made us go, “Who was stopping all the bad people at that point? Who was fighting crime?” The kids were! You kind of stumble into these things.

But one of the things I’m most excited about is seeing more [of it]. You get a little hint of that in 8.13, the one I just finished last week. There are many more hints to Nora’s future, and really what she’s doing now as a character in 2049, that are very different from what we’ve seen so far. I’m very excited to share that with the audience, and I know Jessica was very excited.

By the way, Jessica is a dream to work with – all of our cast is. Jordan Fisher too, I’ve said this many times. Bart and Nora are just the best, and we love having them on the show whenever they can make it.

The Flash has paved the way for Black characters and characters of color in the superhero genre, but one area we haven’t seen explored is LGBTQ representation. As a bisexual man myself, and with Nora being a lesbian, I’m wondering if you’ll be touching on a romance for her anytime soon?

Eric Wallace: You’re gonna like 8.15! It’s a small part of it, but I too wanted to re-acknowledge that this is a lesbian character. That was very important to me. I’m gonna say she’s defined by it; I don’t mean it that way. But it’s like, “Didn’t we mention that back in season 5? And haven’t we kind of ignored it for three years?” We’re not going to ignore that anymore.

So, look for a little a little Easter egg on the exact thing you’re talking about in 8.15. It made us all howl with laughter, by the way, on set. We loved it. We’re like, “That’s going in the movie!”

One thing that we’ve talked about a lot about for this season is leveling up. Barry is constantly in the process of becoming the dude that gets a whole museum based on his legacy. What are some important steps he’s taking towards that legacy this season, and how are you paving the path for him to reach it?

Eric Wallace: Obviously, the season theme this year is everybody leveling up in different ways. And that could be leveling up power-wise or emotionally. For Barry, it’s a little bit of both. We saw in Armageddon the physical part of leveling up. In 8.02, he [releases] this huge wild discharge to knock somebody out. We’ve never seen anything like that before. So, we know where he is leveling up power-wise, and how that will kind of work. And obviously there’s more of that throughout the season.

But how does he level up emotionally? You have to do that as a team leader by leading the team through situations they’ve never been through before. You’ve got to level up emotionally That’s what the whole middle graphic novel of this season is all about. It’s about how he levels up as a leader in guiding the team through some really tough emotional times.

Cue me going: “Yes, they’ll find a way! They love each other!” It’s pretty amusing to watch me watching the cuts.

I know that the back half of the season will put Barry and Iris through the wringer because of the time sickness, but are there any chances of seeing them having a few moments here and there where they get to do happy normal married things?

Eric Wallace: There’s a hint of that in the very first episode of the middle graphic novel. I don’t want to give away numbers, because the way we get into it is a little surprising this year. One of the things I like about the middle graphic novel is that it doesn’t feel so definitive. I wanted to introduce the big bad for the middle of the season in a slower burn way, I guess you’d call it.

I don’t want to spoil that, but that episode starts with Barry and Iris at home. It starts with them at home, and it’s a normal day. And then, of course, it’s a comic book show and something happens that interrupts the fun. You do get a little bit of that, but our stories tend to burn so hot because they’re more serialized than ever. When we were more episodic, we were able to show more of the day-to-day things.

But, again, I already gave you one spoiler, I’m just saying, there might be a little D&D playing this season. That’s the kind of thing that can only happen when there’s no drama going on; when they’re just having fun. In fact, I would dare say that might be being filmed as we speak. But you never heard that from me.

The Flash, understandably for pandemic reasons, has been light on the love language of touch recently. But as our friends over on Batwoman have overcome that hurdle, will West-Allen still be in their Pushing Daisies phase this season? Or may there be a little bit less than six feet between them?

Eric Wallace: [Laughs] That was brilliantly hilarious, by the way. Thank you for that. That was funny.

I’d say closer, but not all the way. Because it just is what it is. Although in the episode where I was weeping, there’s this moment where they’re sitting there and they’re doing these things, and they’re holding hands. They have this togetherness, and I got weepy at that part too. Because they’re hugging each other and doing these things. It was really delightful

And again, in the scene that may or may not be filming as we speak, there’s a lot of happiness going on there too in a moment like that. I think you will see a little bit more of that, but I don’t want to mislead you, because we are still in COVID and Iris still does have time sickness.

We ask the same questions, by the way. We’re like, “When can they just full on…?” There’s just too many practicalities that we’re still going over. Now, it’s getting better. It’s getting better, but the the world’s in charge in a lot of this area. I’m not in charge in this area. I gotta keep everybody safe, that’s one of my jobs.

We know there is the Earth-Prime Arrowverse comic crossover coming, but we haven’t heard anything about The Flash issue from that series. Could you offer some updates on that, like who is writing it?

Eric Wallace: To be honest with you, I don’t know too much about it. I know who’s writing our story and what the basics are, but I actually have been so busy doing the TV show that I assigned it to two of the writers who were on staff. And once they pitched me the uber-story, I said to run with it at that point.

I’m actually looking forward to that being a pleasant surprise, quite frankly. I really don’t know a lot about that.

As we go into season 8B, do you have any comic book runs or authors that you would say are recommended reading if someone wanted to prepare themselves?

Eric Wallace: That’s tricky after Armageddon, which was the most comic book because we took an actual premise from the Armageddon storyline. Even though we twisted it completely. the bare bones of the Armageddon story are the same. Only, in that case, it was which hero of Earth is going to destroy the planet and bring about Armageddon and all that stuff. We knew we couldn’t have the entire Justice League, we just had the flash, so we just said, “It’s somebody coming back from the future saying, ‘It’s going to be you, Flash.” It is inspired by that, but that’s really the biggest comic book-influenced storyline this season.

If anything, I would say the remaining graphic novels of this season find their inspiration in Season 1 of The Flash. We’re going to look back to the past, because I think if someone has time sickness, it just kind of lends itself that way. It’s kind of obvious. Or they’re spun off of where the show has been going over the last few years, especially Seasons 6 and 7.

I would say you don’t need to really dig in too deeply to anything. But the comics are great, so please support The Flash comic books too. I think they’re important also. The way that we look at Godspeed would never have happened if it wasn’t for Joshua’s run on the comic book of The Flash. We took his great writing as our inspiration and then kind of ran with it. I do think the comic books are an important part and continue to be an important part of the history of The Flash, and how it relates to our ship.

The Flash Podcast: You’ve given us a lot of great insight into what’s coming up, but is there anything we haven’t asked that you would love to bring up for people watching this at home after the midseason premiere?

Eric Wallace: Yeah. I would say that every single thing you saw in Armageddon was there for a reason, and the seeds of a lot of those stories are now going to blossom. Those are the stories that become the graphic novels that you’re going to see later on in the season.

Everything has a purpose. It’s not a coincidence that Caitlin says she’s going on a date in 8.01. You’re seeing a glimpse into her journey that’s going to happen for the rest of the season. It is definitely not a coincidence that Allegra gets new responsibilities and is taking over CCC media. That’s all part of the plan of the season. It is not at all a coincidence that Iris’ time sickness seems to have disappeared for a little bit, and then a comb disappears. That’s a prelude. We’re literally giving you the signals that this is all coming to a head at the end of Season 8.

And I’ll tell you something else; I was talking to the staff about this. These three seasons – 6, 7 and 8 – were all part of one big master plan. Everything you’ve seen along the way has been leading towards the finale of Season 8. Everything has been deliberate. COVID through us a couple of curveballs here but, in general, we’re pretty much sticking to what I originally planned for the three seasons that I hoped we would have. If that is allowed to come to fruition and we are allowed to go on to a Season 9, a new plan will then start.

That’s what I’m doing right now. I’m looking at how every single character is going to kind of come to a specific place at the end of Season 8 that we’ve hinted at already. What would be next for them? But also, how can we wrap it up in a satisfying way at the end of Season 8? Because I don’t know if I’m writing a series finale or season finale. I don’t know. I’m just like y’all: I don’t know when I will know. So, I have to think in terms of two things.

I think that’s why we’re doing so many crazy things this year in that last graphic novel – just in case these are the final Flash stories we ever get to tell. There’s certain things we just have to do. Not to be negative or depressing. Again, I hope there is more, and I’m cautiously optimistic. I think we all are. We all read that Grant has agreed, if there is a ninth season, that he will be a part of it. And that’s a huge thing. Let’s see what happens from here.

But right now, I want to just focus on telling a satisfying conclusion to this three-year tale, which will become even more obvious. It’s another reason why in Season 8, something you should look for is more nods to the past. We’re dealing with a time sickness story, so you will see some people from the past – as we saw in 8.06 – coming back. That allows us to reflect upon the journey that we’ve all been on together for eight seasons. And, hopefully, for you guys it will be as satisfying.

“Impulsive Excessive Disorder”— (8:00-9:00 p.m. ET) (TV-PG, LV) (HDTV) THE FLASH ZOOMS TO WEDNESDAY NIGHTS – Picking up where season 7 left off, after returning home from a visit for their parent’s vow renewal, Bart (guest star Jordan Fisher) and Nora (guest star Jessica Parker Kennedy) quickly realize that things are not exactly as they left them. The duo race to repair any fissures in the timeline and restore everything back to the way it is supposed to be. The series stars Grant Gustin, Jesse L. Martin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Danielle Nicolet, Kayla Compton and Brandon McKnight. David McWhirter directed the episode written by Thomas Pound (#806). Original airdate 3/9/2022. Every episode of THE FLASH will be available to stream on The CW App and CWTV.com the day after broadcast for free and without a subscription, log-in or authentication required.

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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