The Flash family just got a little bit bigger (literally). Keiynan Lonsdale has been cast as Welly West. In the comics, Wally is Iris West’s young nephew who is almost adopted by her and her husband Barry Allen, The Flash. Wally also became The Flash’s sidekick, Kid Flash when hit by a bolt of lightning and he developed super speed.
Since Barry and Iris are nowhere near getting married on The Flash show, Iris has no older siblings (that have been mentioned) and Keiynan is only two years younger than The Flash star, Grant Gustin, it’s safe to say Wally’s origins and position will be tweaked quite bit for TV. There are three likely options but while they’re all equal in probability they are not in terms of quality. Here are the most probable ways that Wally West could come to CW’s The Flash.
Wally Is Iris’ Half-Brother Not Her Nephew
It’s possible that Iris has an older brother or sister that has not been seen or mentioned. It’s unlikely though, the West Family is a huge part of The Flash character dynamics. There were multiple episodes that contained flashbacks of Barry growing up in their household and we even saw Christmas spent in the West household. The fact that Wally or his parents weren’t even mentioned, even in passing, is bizarre given the closeness of the family. This is assuming that they knew anything about Wally though.
The thing is, there is a member of the West family that has been heard but not seen. Over the course of the first season Iris’ mother and Joe’s wife was mentioned quite a bit. It was never discussed if she was dead or simply divorced from Joe, just that she was “gone” and her absence weighed heavy on Iris. Mrs. West was even mentioned by Iris in the audio of the highlight reel / second season teaser that The Flash presented at San Diego Comic Con, thereby underlining the unnamed character’s importance even more.
So what if Iris’ mother didn’t die but simply left her husband and daughter and started a new family. Since Iris clearly has memories of her mother, this would require Keiynan to play down his age and probably be the undefined vague teenager age that Thea Queen and Roy Harper were in the first couple seasons of Arrow. Wally’s age would be irrelevant to high dramatic levels it would cause as Iris would have to deal with the existence of a brother that she didn’t even knew existed.
It sounds very soapy but it’s also very comic book-y. Long missing comic book characters often reappear after decades of disappearance to deliver some shocking revelation that upends everyone’s life. Batman discovered that he had secret love child with the daughter of one of his greatest villains and that child eventually became Robin. Green Arrow found he had an illegitimate child with a fling of his when the son showed up years later fully grown, wanting to follow his father’s footsteps as an arrow flinging vigilante. The point being that there is a long history for hidden children of torid love affairs to become superhero sidekicks. Personally, this possibility intrigues and I’d be interested to see how it develops just not as much as my next theory.
Wally is From an Alternate Earth
In the time between the first and second season, The Flash producers have been surprisingly vocal about their plans. In a video of teasing the next season Greg Berlanti said they have a new way to introduce new characters. This hint combined with the talk last season of multiple realities suggests that Barry will be exploring the multiverse in the second season of The Flash. Barry might not be traveling at hyper speed but into different timelines. The final nail in the speculation coffin though is the confirmed casting of Jay Garrick.
For those not in the comic book know, Jay Garrick is the original Flash or more accurately The Flash in the 1940s comic books. Comic book popularity waned after World War II and “The Flash” was cancelled and disappeared from newsstands. Until 1956 when The Flash was rebooted with Barry Allen. Jay Garrick would eventually make a reappearance when Barry used his powers and accidentally transported himself to another dimension, the dimension where Jay lived and was still The Flash. Jay’s universe and Barry’s universe would eventually merge into one to make a slightly less confusing timeline and universe, slightly. Comic books are really weird, people.
If Jay Garrick is coming to The Flash TV show it could mean that the producers tend to adapt some of these classic stories. Jay could come from a reality where Barry might not even exist, let alone be The Flash. This is all just a guess though no matter how educated. All that is known of Jay’s presence on the show is that he is a “mysterious man” who comes to Central City needing Barry’s help for something he can’t handle on his own.
If Jay really is from an alternate earth it could be more than possible that Wally lives there too. In Jay Garrick’s world it the West family situation could be that Joe died or is “gone” and his wife had to raise their only child alone. Except inside of a daughter named Iris, they had a son named Wally. This would certainly explain why Wally’s actor is so close in age to Candice Patton who plays Iris. No only that but Wally could be assisting Jay the same way Iris assists Barry. Well, maybe not exactly the same. But it could be that Wally already has super speed when we meet him and he’s been Jay Garrick’s sidekick.
I’m really in love with this idea. It would not only give the decidedly heavy idea of alternate realities a human face. Wally, more than Jay, could be a conduit to the idea since he would feel actual family ties to Joe and Iris, since they share genetics. He would immediately feel incorporate to the fabric of The Flash in this way. It would also be a neat twist on the comic origins and deliver a Wally West who is already fully formed in his identity as a speedster. We wouldn’t have to suffer through another origin story of another superhero.
Wally Is From the Future
The Flash really struck gold when it came to Reverse Flash. The time traveling antagonist was a great villain for the first season and opened up the mythology in a big way. Time travel is not only possible on The Flash, it is completely plausible having been steadily set up and explained. By the end of season one, we knew there was a future timeline and it was possible to travel to the past from there. The Flash was a little skimpy on specifics and the only thing confirmed about this future was that Iris and Barry were married. This information could be crucial hint of Wally’s origins.
Wally could actually be Iris and Barry’s future child traveling back into the past. Now the newspaper that allowed Barry to figure out he married Iris is some version of the future was only nine years from his present day. It’s going to be very hard for Keiynan to play younger than nine years old no matter what weird way The CW qualifies age. Still there is nothing to say that Barry’s son had to travel back in time from 2024. Wally could be an even further point in that timeline when he was grown up to be the age that his father was in 2015.
The reasons for Wally traveling back in time are obviously unclear but he wouldn’t be the first family member of Barry Allen to time travel. In the comics, the second Kid Flash was in fact Barry’s grandson from the distant future who came back in time because of complicated comic book reasons too deep and confusing to get into here. If The Flash TV show would likely (and hopefully) simplify these reasons if they made Wally a future son of Barry and Iris. No matter how elegant and streamlined the explanation would be I think it would ultimately be a mistake to go this route.
I love the time travel aspect of The Flash but I don’t want to go to that well too often. If Jay Garrick truly is an alternate version of The Flash that’s a big enough idea for one season. The Flash runs the risk of becoming too complicated for its own good. It’s not that they can’t ever return to time travel, they undoubtedly will at some point but not after a season that was so time travel centric. The Flash should fully deal with and set up the complications of alternate realities and an infinite multiverse before they start introducing family members from the future.
But what do you think? Would you think to see Wally as Iris’ half-brother? Or her alternate reality “double”? Or the far flung son of a future Barry Allen and Iris? Or something entirely different?
(images and video courtesy of Twitter and the CW)