The ongoing pandemic hit the entertainment industry hard to say the least, and the The CW’s Arrowverse was no exception. Season 6 of The Flash, unfortunately, had to finish somewhat abruptly. Enforced COVID lockdowns resulted in the season ending at 19 episodes instead of the 22 The CW had originally ordered. Considering how the pandemic has greatly altered other television shows, The Flash is quite fortunate to actually get that far into Season 6. Still, those final 3 episodes were full of so much greatness, according to what showrunner Eric Wallace tells us.
Continuing from part 1 of our exclusive interview where we discussed the potential of more film crossovers, we now ask Eric Wallace everything about Season 7. The showrunner lays down what to expect and clarifies any major concerns fans may have after Season 6’s forced ending. In particular, he teases the fate of Efrat Dor’s Mirror Misstress (who got her arc cut by the lockdown) and the many more villains that are to come in Season 7. We would be remiss if we didn’t ask about everyone’s favorite foe, Reverse Flash.
What has this COVID break been like for you and the cast? Have you been keeping in touch and sharing updates on Season 7?
EW: Yeah, we have. It’s important during all of this to keep the doors of communication open, check in with folks and see how they’re doing because the way things kind of abruptly got interrupted at the end of Season 6 – we were cranking along. We were right in the home stretch as it were. And, you know, it was a disappointment I think for everybody involved in the production to not see it through the end, the story that we had started telling at the beginning of Season 6.
So what I wanted to do during this COVID kind of period is to make sure, first of all, everyone was safe and healthy. That’s the most important thing, but to also assure everyone, “Hey, we are going to pick up where we left off, we’re going to finish strong” and then let them know about some of the changes because changes were going to be made obviously. But I think I’ve only changed the ending of the Eva McCulloch story, which I already felt very good about. We’ve made it even stronger. So to let them know about those changes and how we would be going into Season 7 a little differently for the first time, as opposed to in between seasons. One season ends, then you go away for a break. Then you come back and start fresh. Not this time, the next ‘graphic novel’, which is number three in Season 7, it’s like the next week – it’s not like a summer break. We just keep right on going.
That actually leads in to our next question, do you plan on following the same episode structure that would have closed off Season 6 or is it going to play out differently?
EW: You know, it’s funny. It’s basically the same but having this enforced break has allowed me to look at the ending and make some tweaks and adjustments to change maybe 20-25% of those scripts, to make them stronger and to finally bring in some of the issues and concerns, whether it be social justice and all the things that are happening in our world today to make sure those were addressed and that they weren’t ignored at the end of not only Eva’s story, but in the beginning of the next graphic novel stories that we’ll be telling. Those are important things to me as a human being, let alone as a showrunner, and to communicate that to the cast too.
Outside of the fact that Season 6 was cut short due to this current situation, did you have any other ideas or plans for the season that never came to fruition?
EW: No, no. We’re going to fit it all in and the ones that we did fit into Season 6, you’ll see at the top of Season 7, as far as finishing telling Eva’s story. I had quite a detailed plan for Season 6, with this new ‘graphic novel’ structure. It’s the same approach I’m using in Season 7 too. Just me as a storyteller, the more plans I have, the easier it makes when a turn, change, or a unique opportunity arises that you have the ability to pivot because there was a plan in place and then you could make things even better.
So in terms of having Crisis on Infinite Earths, would you say that it was an advantage or disadvantage for your storytelling in Season 6?
EW: I feel it was a huge advantage because it dictated a starting point for Barry’s emotional journey at the beginning of Season 6. I had no choice. I had to deal with the lead up to Crisis, which then led me to, “Well, if the first half of the season is about the lead up to Crisis, then the second half is about the fallout.” That actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise knowing almost a year in advance back at the end of Elseworlds, as we were putting that together and writing the episodes that would have been Season 5 of The Flash. So a year in advance knowing that we were driving towards Crisis, I actually started to think about Barry’s journey way back then, and I didn’t know I was going to be running the show at that point. I’m just that guy. I just love the show so much. I can’t not think about it.
We were wondering, what can you tease about the future of Reverse Flash? How that character will play in the next season?
EW: No spoilers on that first of all. We all love the Reverse Flash. Who doesn’t? He is one of the all time great characters and you never know where he’ll appear next. I would say, look at what happened to him at the end of ‘The Exorcism of Nash Wells’. It’s kind of a setup for a story. When that next story happens, I don’t want to reveal because it’s pretty spoiler-y. Speedsters do have a huge role in Season 7 of The Flash. And as we all know, there are many kinds of speedsters, including good ones and bad ones. So that’s me being vague, but giving you some answers, but I hope that helps!
We’ve already talked a lot about The Flash Season 7, but is there anything in particular you haven’t mentioned that you want to vocalize to the fans?
EW: Well, I want to let everybody know once again that we will wrap up the Eva McCulloch story in our first episodes for Season 7, that is our priority. Because it has the craziest twists in her story and the biggest events – I mean, she did put on a costume in Episode 19. We have to see her in action. We have to see Eva McCulloch in action! That is still to come. And that will take up the beginning of Season 7. But once that is resolved, we will begin two more ‘graphic novels’ just like last season. Obviously, the second graphic novel will probably be a little shorter, perhaps not a full eight episodes as one would usually expect simply because of COVID production.
We’re starting later. I’m still not exactly sure how many episodes of The Flash will get actually on the air in 2021. It’s a little tricky, it’s a day by day thing, but we’ll still adopt the graphic novel format. So that means once again, there will be two separate sets of big bads for each of those individual stories. It’s going to be just as fun, but a little crazier because one thing that we haven’t done on The Flash really since even Seasons 1,2, and 3 is really look into speedster mythology, speedster villains, things of that nature. I wouldn’t be surprised, not too many spoilers here, but let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised to see perhaps a certain speedster mystery get solved next year that was teased in Season 6… people have been asking for answers. I think those people that are looking for the answers are going to get exactly what they’ve been asking for next season.
We’re excited and looking forward to that!
EW: It’s going to be super fun. It’s crazy.
Do you have a rough date for when you hope to get back into filming and start Season 7? Obviously everything is very up in the air at the moment.
EW: Right? It’s funny, I’m literally on the phone every day, perhaps two or three times a day, either calling on a conference call, zoom call, or emails about going back into production. How we can do it safely? Because safety must be our first concern and it is my first concern. The hope is to start in October or November, to start in the fall. That is definitely the hope. Hopefully we’ll know more in the next couple of weeks. I’m actually very cautious, cautiously optimistic. And of course when we start, we’ll determine how many episodes we can crank out. So let’s all keep our fingers crossed for the fall. Obviously, we won’t premiere until sometime in 2021. We don’t know when we’re going to premiere yet.