The Flash Podcast EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW (Part 2): The Flash Showrunner Eric Wallace On 815, Rest Of Season 8 & Season 9 Teases

WARNING: This interview feature MAJOR spoilers from The Flash season 8, episode 15 “Into the Still Force” so read at your own risk!

Another episode has just finished airing on The CW as we head into the remaining installments for The Flash season 8. With Iris West-Allen’s (Candice Patton) time sickness being heavily explored for the rest of the season, tonight’s episode “Into the Still Force” served not only as an Interlude chapter but a soft start to the seventh graphic novel. “Into the Still Force” was directed by none other than The Flash showrunner Eric Wallace, who has been working on the series since season 4 before becoming the head boss in season 6.

Now that “Into the Still Force” has aired, the second part of our exclusive interview with Eric goes fully into the spoilers because as you may have probably seen, 8.15 did not hold back on the weirdness and craziness. This is our last spoiler warning for those who haven’t watched the episode yet, as it also includes teases for the rest of season 8, some neat season 9 tidbits, and…perhaps a little follow-up on our Supergirl scoop from a few months ago!

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 want to get a little more into specifics with this episode because a lot happens. I know you said this was an Interlude episode, but it also seems to serve as a kind of a kickstart to the next graphic novel. I’m guessing Iris’ time-sickness will play a huge factor into this latest graphic novel, whenever this current Interlude ends. Is it fair to say that 8.15 served both as an Interlude, but also really a start to the next arc?

Eric Wallace: Yeah, so much so that even I didn’t realize that until about a week out from going into production. We were on set working through certain scenes, with the actors and whatnot, and seeing the performances come to life and seeing the words come to life. This is not an exaggeration – it’s strange, but it’s not an exaggeration -there are so many clues, hints, and I would dare say spoilers flat out in this episode that is part of the remainder for season 8 and even set up season 9. I didn’t almost realize it until I watched the final cut. I watched it last week with all the effects and everything.

I thought, ‘If you put one, two and three together, you can really figure out where we’re going,’ which is very exciting because there are some clues and hints. We try to be a little cryptic because I do like Lost, it’s a great show. [laughs] You’re absolutely right. Even though it’s an Interlude episode and it is kind of standalone, it’s very much about the search for Iris inside the Still Force. It’s right there in the title. When we get to graphic novel 7… [laughs], there is a moment from the season finale – and I’m trying not to say too many spoilers – that I just finished watching, which wraps everything up, that’s [setup] right out of 815, which was strange. I thought, ‘Wait a minute, did I spoil it too much in 8.15? Are we telling too much?’ But then folks haven’t read the scripts yet, so I’m not too worried. Hopefully, it’ll be like a wonderful kind of coincidence for folks. But there is a plan in place; that’s the long-winded answer.

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The Flash Podcast: I know Candice has said that we won’t see Iris for 4 episodes. I know that you can’t say too much about season 9, but I know that a lot of fans have been wondering about this about the status of Iris, with contract renewals still pending and whatnot. But can you share what led to Iris being absent at this part of the season? Was that a conversation with Candice, or was it something the story demanded?

Eric Wallace: I don’t want to speak for Candice, obviously, it’s a little bit of both. The story kind of demands, if someone’s lost in time, they probably need to disappear. [laughs] I guess we saw a little bit of it but she was only gone for five minutes in between episodes 11-12. But for a character for us as an audience to really understand her time sickness and how dangerous it’s and what it really means – and we are setting up our season finale – we’ve to really up the ante and really explore that story. The first part of that story is she’s really gone and we really can’t find her. What are we going to do to try and not just find her but bring her back and cure it once and for all. I think I’ve said this before to folks, but rest assured, I can tell everyone right now – and this is not a spoiler – yes, Iris’ time-sickness will be cured. She’ll be back. It will be resolved by the end of season 8. These last 6 episodes, we’re digging into all of that stuff.

The Flash Podcast: With that being said, we are not losing anyone after this season? Because I’m still heartbroken Jesse L. Martin leaving, but other than Joe, we aren’t losing anyone else then?

Eric Wallace: Tune in! [laughs]

The Flash Podcast: Alright. For people who will read and watch this: I tried! [laughs]

Eric Wallace: And you did a great job! tried. Never get that big of a spoiler out of me. [laughs]

The Flash Max Mercurry The Flash Podcast: That’s fair. Going back to the episode, I’m a huge nerd, like yourself, and looking at the Easter eggs in this episode, it was hilarious for me. I don’t know whether or not I want to see the Godspeed and Zoom team up now or if it’s a certain Max that you mentioned. I spoke to Mark Waid last year, and he had said he hoped one day to see a Max Mercury reference, so I think he’s going to be happy watching this episode. What can you speak about those Easter eggs? Because we know that most in the Arrowverse, you guys don’t just name-drop these things and then just move one, there’s always a purpose for teasing said characters. What can you say about potential futures for these characters that you’re teasing here?

Eric Wallace: [Laughs] Wow. Like I said, I think perhaps I’ve revealed too much about the season finale and about season 9 with all of these spoilers. But you’re right, Andy; nothing is there by chance. Nothing is a coincidence. As everybody also knows – I’ve said this many times – Zoom is my favorite villain. I’m determined to get him back on the show somehow. I would say that is the doorway you all will see in 8.15. That’s the doorway. I won’t tell you when it’s happening or where it’s going or any of those things. I will also say to you, because that was Still Force, which is the past, present, and future all mixed together. Your eyes can deceive you at times, so what you exactly see might not be exactly what is coming but a variation of it. Who knows? Who knows…As for the other obvious – it’s not even subtle, my goodness – name drop that we have in the episode. There’s a reason for that; keep watching!

The Flash Podcast: So in a year from now, I’m guessing Mark Waid is going to have some to really geek out about maybe?

Eric Wallace: I’ve known Mark for a long time. I’ll give him a call off the grid first! [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: When we talked last time, we talked about how 8.15 would tease Nora’s romantic life outside of what we see on the show and you guys definitely honored that by mentioning her wife. In your mind – without revealing who – do you know who that woman is?

Eric Wallace: No, and that’s the exciting part I’m excited as a writer and a storyteller to discover who that is. And give that character agency and her romantic and social life. I think that’s very exciting. In order to do that, you have to remind the audience that this character is gay. She is marrying a woman. Let’s make sure everybody knows that. It’s getting back to that territory and the character. Because we love Jessica [Parker Kennedy] so much. She brings so much to the show. It’s so wonderful to see her every time she kind of pops in, especially as a director, because I’ve known her for so many years. It was nice to have her on set as well as [seeing] her and Grant working so well together, especially during their father-daughter scenes. But they’re a little odd [laughs] I do have to tell you, they were extremely enjoyable on set and challenging to make sure that the emotion stayed pure and true. W were honoring the father-daughter dynamic in the midst of some very strange things. From a directorial point of view, though, and a storytelling point of view, it was a great fun challenge.

The Flash Podcast: There’s also the moment where Nora reveals what she does for a living now, being another Post-Crisis change. What was the decision to make her a reporter in this timeline as opposed to a CSI? Is it also fair to say that maybe Bart is studying to follow his father’s footsteps?

Eric Wallace: Oh, Andy, you should keep watching! [laughs] you mentioned something that’s very key to that, though: this is a different Nora. I will tell you the genesis of that came from this being a different Nora. It was very important to differentiate the two in my mind as the storyteller, that the one who passed away at the end of season 5, she passed away. This is a different character. That character did follow in dad’s footsteps as a CSI, as we saw in 518, which is a great episode directed by Danielle Panabaker. But this is a different character; she has a brother that’s different. Every time they show up, the goal is to learn a little bit more about the rest of their lives, not just the superhero part of it. That was a great opportunity in this episode to say that she’s following in her mom’s footsteps. What’s nice is in that other timeline with the other Nora, she and her mom didn’t get along. It was very heartbreaking, t felt honest, it felt real, which is what I really liked about it. But this was a chance to create a mother-daughter storyline, in the most subtle of all ways, because obviously, future Iris is only in the episode for 10 seconds or something like that. Or is that a spoiler? That’s a spoiler right, there you go, you caught me already! [laughs]

The Flash Podcast: To our readers and listeners, I didn’t even try! [laughs]

Eric Wallace: I will tell you this, when you’re looking for Iris in a world that’s the past, present and future, surely those things have to collide? That should not surprise anyone.

The Flash Podcast: Let’s talk a little bit about the Still Force and Deon. I really love Christian Magby in this role and love what you guys have done with him. But I’m worried for him, Eric, I’m worried about where we’re possible going. Is he going back to willingness routes or is it a result of him having timesickness? Are we maybe looking at our next big bad for the season?

Eric Wallace: It’s a little bit of both. It really does come from the time sickness storyline. We set it up very clearly in the episode where he vanishes; he doesn’t feel well, he’s acting weirdly. The sickness is attacking him. It’s no surprise really; I think to folks, hopefully, when they see him, you’re supposed to feel bad. I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness, this poor guy. He’s not himself today.’ You should be worried about Deon; you should be worried about him. But again, everyone knows I like happy endings. so let’s see what happens. Let’s see what happens…

The Flash The Flash Podcast: Speaking of bad things happening to people, we’re coming right off of Fros’s death. Steph and Caitlin? I spoke with Danielle a couple weeks ago, and she said things were gonna get rough. She was not kidding! We’re really going to a mad scientist arc almost. Where’s this going? Is what Mark and Caitlin are about to something that can be stopped or how far will this go? We know resurrecting someone from the dead can always go a little south. 

Eric Wallace: What’s great is there are two things there. The first is the chemistry between the actors, Danielle and Jon Cor, who plays Challblaine, a.k.a. Mark Blaine, and has come into The Flash family in a wonderful way. The more we put them together as a weird couple, whether it be Mark and Frost, obviously, he’s not a couple with Caitlin. But they are in scenes together, and as you see in 8.15, they’re about to embark on a mad scientist journey. I mean, he quotes a Hammer Horror film in the episode. He quotes Frankenstein’s created woman to point out the absurdity of what’s going on and the craziness of it. What is this going to do to Caitlin’s character? We hinted in 8.05 that there was a darker, more broken, and more complex side to Caitlin. We saw it come out in that conversation in Armageddon, Part Five, where she unleashed a little bit on Reverse-Flash, which is my favorite Caitlin scene so far, seen so far, between Tom Cavanagh and Danielle.

At that moment, that was really the beginning of this storyline; that was really telling the audience there are places Caitlin is willing to go as a character that you may not have seen yet. You’re going to see some of that later on in the year because obviously, when we were doing 8.05, we knew this is where we were driving to, 10 episodes later. She’s in pain; she’s still hurting from Frost’s death, like many of us are, as is the team. That will be referred to as the season goes on. Her death is real; her death matters and these are the people who love her. They’re not going to just get over her after episode 14 because we had a funeral episode. It is going to go on for a little while, and everybody deals with it in different ways. Caitlin’s dealing with it in a very unusual way that’s taking her down this mad scientist path. Where it leads, as Mark already warned her, ‘It didn’t work out so well with your husband; what makes you think it’s going to work out better now?’ We put that line in there on purpose. We’re trying to let the audience know that this might not work out the way you think it is. If you think Frost is coming back next week, I’m here to tell you that is not happening. I’m not saying what’s going to happen; I’m just saying Frost is still dead if that makes sense.

The Flash Podcast: When I was talking with Danielle, we both felt that this girl can’t catch a break! Even on the podcast, we feared that somehow Frost comes back as a zombie that Caitlin now has to put down. Because I know how much you love horror, I know that may be where you would go! I want to talk a little about Chellegra, the ship that is redefining slow burn. As we’re getting more invested into them as a couple, where are their feelings at this point before that kiss eventually comes? What’s coming up for Chester and Allegra in the next couple of episodes? 

Eric Wallace: In a sense, we already know where they’re going, because we’ve already seen one version of their future in “Armageddon Part Four.” We have already seen them kiss, so you got your kiss already. You just didn’t know you wanted it then. The question is: what is the path there? Be patient, we’ll get there. I love love as much as anybody does. I love love a lot.

It’s funny, there’s some deleted stuff that just didn’t make it into 8.15, because the showrunner cut it out of the director’s cut. That guy again! That’s where the two hats are very interesting, where your director’s cut comes in long and you can just skip right to showrunner and go, “Alright, I know I’ve got to lose this scene.” or “I have to lose this moment,” or whatever. And there were a couple of lines that alluded more to the blossoming romance between them, which we love – the writing staff and whatnot.

We’re excited to get to it, but they kind of had to hit the floor in this episode unfortunately because it was really packed. I didn’t want to lose any of the Caitlin and Mark stuff towards the end, didn’t want to lose any of the father-daughter stuff. But where are they going? Again, you know where they’re going. Their path is love; it’s just a matter of time. But the real question is: what’s the obstacle standing in their way?

I will give you a huge spoiler. The obstacle standing in their way is in the episode. It’s right there. It’s literally right there, it just doesn’t look like it. I cannot be any more cryptic yet clear.

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The Flash Podcast: Speaking of “Armageddon,” I went back to rewatch. I didn’t forget about Joe getting a time stone from Damien Darhk, and we haven’t seen a time stone in awhile. How does that stone play into this arc of trying to find Iris?

Eric Wallace: A very good question, Andy. I think you should keep watching. I think you’re very observant, Andy, and you have learned nothing is a coincidence. Nothing on this show is.

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The Flash Podcast: Would you say this will be Joe’s most Arrowverse-y, sci-fi fantasy arc yet?

Eric Wallace: No, actually. At least not in the way you’re thinking of it. Jesse as Joe West, who’s fantastic – and who I will miss, obviously – has such a terrific story coming up in episode 16 that I don’t want to spoil. But what you’ll be surprised to find out is, again, yearning for his daughter and the search for Iris leads to some very intense emotional epiphanies for him. And I would dare say an emotional breakthrough for him. I’m very excited about that, and that’s coming up very fast. And again, it all ties in together. As for the sci-fi part of it, Joe’s more of a grounded human character. So, even when some of the more sci-fi things are happening – as you’ll see in the season finale; that’s where that happens more – before we get there, you’re going to see more of the human drama of Joe. And the life changes that he’s going to be going through. He retired last year as a police captain. What does that mean for him? You’re gonna find out in 16, and that will tie into – in a small way – the sci-fi element that you’re referring to. Because we don’t want to lose the humanity of the character. He’s still the father or the parent of the show; or the grandfather, in some cases. He’s Grandpa Joe to Nora and Bart. And we love that so much. We definitely want to lean into that.

The Flash Podcast: Going back to Barry, we know that when Iris is not around or in jeopardy, Barry collapses like a house of cards. How does he deal with it as we get into the next batch of episodes?

Eric Wallace: In the Interludes, you see in 8.15, he is completely thrown off his game because his lightning rod is gone. He’s searching for that lightning rod again, trying to get that connection back. And it’s only when he kind of gets a little bit of a positive thing from Nora in 8.15, which we wanted to put in it, he says to her, “Go back to the future and make sure everything’s okay.” The question is: what happens when she gets back to the future? That is a question I think the audience should keep in their minds for a while, because nothing it’s coincidental. It seems like the end of an episode and kind of a throwaway. Keep an eye out for that.

But as far as what Barry will do for the rest of the episodes? He’s going to continue; he’s never going to give up searching. It’s going to lead him in a particular direction. It’s also going to lead to an unexpected obstacle, which I can’t go too much into, because that’s graphic novel #7. That’s the big stuff. I think Danielle said it best after she read the script. She called me up and said, “Eric, how are we going to film this? This is the biggest episode ever in the history of the show.” I said, “I know. I don’t know how we’re gonna film this, but I’m gonna figure it out by the time we get there.” And we did, thank goodness.

The way all of these things wrap up, some of them I think our the audience will be expecting – and I think anticipating in the good way. I think the audience should always be along for the ride when watching these kinds of big fantasy, emotional stories. You should want to say to yourself, “Oh, I hope __ happens.” And then when it happens, you go, “See? I told you!” The key for the storyteller for those types of emotional points is that maybe it happens not exactly in the way you think it does. Therein lies the twist.

And I think that’s what’s going to be one of the biggest surprises going into the last graphic novel. Iris’ time sickness will be cured. The way it gets cured? That’s a little insane. That’s the season finale, and that’s what people were responding to when they read the script. And they’re just like, “Okay, this is the craziest thing we’ve ever done.” And I said, “Yes, it is. But it’s gonna make for good television.” It was very exciting to film it, and now to see it all kind of coming together. And you said it at the top of this interview. You’re absolutely right. In many ways, 8.15 is both a standalone episode and really does kick off graphic novel #7. But it’s still a standalone.

The Flash Podcast: We talked a lot about the graphic novel structuring. When you plan it out throughout the season, what are some of the challenging you have to go through?

Eric Wallace: I do the same thing at the beginning of every season. I have a master document that I create. Staff goes away. I say, “Have a great summer. I’ll see you in three months.” During those three months, [laughs] I am frantically doing this on my computer. I’m wracking my brain and getting the big picture, the big story; knowing who the big bads will be, knowing what the themes are that the characters are going to experience over the course of the season. And most importantly, knowing where we’re driving to at the end of each season.

Notice I haven’t even mentioned graphic novels yet. I’m talking about the season as a whole. I have to know what we want to say as storytellers and as a writing staff first. And me as a showrunner, obviously, so that I can know how to apply, “This big bad would probably do best to tell this particular emotional theme or balance out the Frost storyline.” Notice I haven’t even mentioned graphic novels yet. I’m talking about the season as a whole. I have to know what we want to say as storytellers and as a writing staff first. And me as a showrunner, obviously, so that I can know how to apply, “This big bad would probably do best to tell this particular emotional theme or balance out the Frost storyline.” Perfect example of the Frost storyline and Deathstorm was, “I know a couple of practical things.

We have to get Frost and Caitlin, who are played by the same actress, during a COVID pandemic.” It’s incredibly problematic. But it’s so much fun, and Danielle does such a terrific job. But what’s the endgame of that? It became obvious that Frost was learning to be human. And the final lesson that we all learn in the end, unfortunately, is how we deal with passing on – whatever your beliefs are, that is a part of life. So, we have a human story we’re going to tell with Frost. And it began all the way back in season 6 with her getting a life coach.

She’s learning how to live life in all of its various capacities. Back in season 6, as far as the master plan went, I said, “She’s got to learn some funny stuff. She’s got to fall in love; she’s gonna have a heartbroken. She’s got to navigate what it means to be a hero. Leadership. She has an estranged relationship with her mom. She has so much to do, and at the end of that – because she’s a metaphor for all of our lives – this is the final chapter and what the end of her story will be. Or is it? [laughs] I can’t wait until you see the season finale. You’ll either be really happy or really frustrated, but I think you’ll be happy.

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: For my last question, you mentioned that you’re gonna have a conversation with a Supergirl alum who hasn’t been on The Flash. How did said meeting go? Is that something we could look forward to in season 9?

Eric Wallace: The meeting went wonderfully. Absolutely wonderfully. During the course of the meeting, I figured out how now to get them into the show. Because it’s our time, and I’m putting together my document for season 9. The question was: how will this particular Supergirl character fit in with a particular story for one of our Flash regulars? It’s very important that they mesh, and that the storyline speaks to both characters.

I’m happy to report that mystery and that problem has been solved! [laughs] I don’t know if we can work it out schedule-wise now. But for me creatively, the biggest hurdle has now been leaped over. And this particular person was like, “Oh, this sounds fantastic. Let’s do this!” I said, “Okay, I’ll get back to you. I’ll call you in four months.”

So, fingers crossed! I don’t like to promise things that aren’t definitive because a lot of things can happen. This performer could be on another TV show, or in a movie or on Broadway or wherever – I have no idea. Our episode order for season 9 is still not locked in. Even I, as I’m planning for season 9, have to have a little leeway in it. Because I might get more episodes than I think I’m getting, or I might get less. I have to kind of juggle all of these balls. But I am now very cautiously optimistic that the conversation I referred to can happen. We definitely had a big step forward on that, so stay tuned.

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The Flash Podcast: So yeah, for everyone reading, watching or listening to this; have fun in the comments section speculating who it might be! Thank you again Eric so much for your time and for coming back to The Flash Podcast. I’ll definitely be rewatching 8.15 now that I have talked to you and to see what you were talking about!

Eric Wallace: I would definitely watch 8.15 again right before I watch 20, because it will literally inform certain things. As for anything else, I just want to say to the fans who continue to support us how much we appreciate [you]. We really do appreciate you guys and gals, hes and shes, and theys and thems. We want to be as inclusive to everybody as we can; young, old – to all the folks, thank you for continuing to support the show. We really appreciate it!

We have a very intense, very shocking finale for you. Get ready. That’s all I can say to you: get ready. But the good news is all the things will be resolved, including some things that you might not realize are hanging. That’s why I’ve been rewatching seasons 6 and 7 lately, so those things that get resolved might even go further back in the show. There’s your spoiler!

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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