A new superhero is coming to town.
Or should we say a new eventual superhero? Arrow is set to introduce viewers to their version of the Flash this season in the form of Barry Allen, a forensic scientist who eventually becomes the iconic DC Comics hero, played by Glee's Grant Gustin. And while episode 20 of the CW hit's sophomore season was originally intended to act as a backdoor pilot for a potential Flash spinoff series, the network is so confident in the project they are now going to shoot a standalone pilot. In "The Scientist," Allen makes his first appearance in Starling City help investigate a seemingly impossible robbery at Oliver's (Stephen Amell) company, one that's similar to a case he worked on back in Central City.
Though Gustin doesn't make his flashy debut until next week's episode, we couldn't resist getting a preview of his introduction from star Stephen Amell and executive producer Andrew Kreisberg...
When we admitted that we originally thought they would cast someone a bit older, Kreisberg confesses, "It wasn't entirely the plan" to go younger. However, they did have one goal in mind while casting.
"I think what we really wanted and what we really were firm about was we weren't looking for another Stephen. There isn't another Stephen...Stephen doesn't need a bolt of lightning to be a superhero, he just is. We didn't want to copy that because we feel like we already have that," he explains. "It was very important for us to find somebody who did need a bolt of lightning to become a superhero. But at the same time, could actually stand up to Stephen."
And casting an actor on the younger side actually worked to the show and the character's advantage, as Kreisberg explains, "He's 25 and out of college and working, but people don't necessarily take him seriously. That's something that he has a chip on his shoulder about."
Kreisberg reveals "Grant was the first person we heard read for Barry," and says the Arrow team "was "just so taken with him."
Amell's also a fan of Gustin, gushing, "He comes in and he kills it. He's wonderful. He really takes ownership of the role. Just in terms of adding dynamic elements to the show, Grant is a really, really welcome and needed addition because he's so good." As for Oliver and Barry's dynamic, Amell previews, "It's great, because he's a fan of the vigilante. He gets to ask a lot of questions that I know for a fact, because I see it on Facebook and Twitter, that the audience would like to ask. He has theories about how the vigilante was trained, and as a fanboy, he's speaking for a lot of the fans of the show."
Kreisberg was in Vancouver, where the series films, for Gustin's first scene, which he called "a great day" to be on the set. "Sitting there watching Barry Allen shake hands with Oliver Queen was more than my little nerd heart could bear," he confesses. "I kept turning to Geoff Johns and saying, ‘The Flash just met Green Arrow!'"
Arrow airs tonight at 8 p.m. on the CW.
Check back with us next week for more scoop on Gustin's debut, including Barry's potential romance with Felicity. (Hint: Oliver is not amused.)