All season thus far on The Flash, The CW series has been teasing the arrival of Red Death. The season premiere introduced the ominous red Bat symbol-shaped lightning, and last week’s episode gave viewers a glimpse of the Big Bad’s suit. This week, however, the identity of who is inside that suit was revealed — and it’s a face that is familiar to Arrowverse fans for sure but will be even more familiar to Team Flash, once they’re in on the secret as well.
Warning: spoilers for this week’s episode of The Flash, “Rogues of War” beyond this point.
After a Rogues/Team Flash team up and a heist gone wrong, Red Death and their rogues ended up with a piece of significant tech for creating a Cosmic Treadmill. Simultaneously, Team Flash also discovers that the tech that the Bad Rogues are using are all from Wayne Industries and, worse, Batwoman/Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie) has been missing for weeks, disappearing while out on patrol. It’s then, over at Red Death’s lair, that we find out who is indeed under the mask. After being challenged by Chillblaine (Jon Cor), Red Death unmasks only to reveal someone who looks a lot like Ryan Wilder but if that wasn’t frightening enough, she utters three terrifying words: “I am vengeance.”
As fans know, Leslie was announced as being cast as part of The Flash’s ninth season though her specific role was kept largely secret. Thanks to various set photos fans had mostly determined for themselves that Leslie was probably playing Red Death. Now, that’s been confirmed, and showrunner Eric Wallace has also teased how it all connects — particularly with Iris.
“It is fair to say that Javicia has something to do with that red lightning bolt,” Wallace said. “I don’t think that’s going to come as a surprise to anyone. The question is how does it happen and why is she here? And also, who exactly is she playing? That’s a mystery that doesn’t get talked about in her initial appearances on the show. Also, how will it affect her relationship with Iris?”
He continued, “One of the happy accidents that happened in Armageddon when we had Javicia over was the discovery of the incredible chemistry between Candice Patton and Javicia Leslie. After seeing that, I literally made a note, ‘We’ve got to do more of this. This is gold.’ When Javicia comes onto the show, one of the most powerful emotional moments is when her character finally interacts with Iris and it’s going to be in a way that folks are not expecting. And it may show you a side of Javicia Leslie that you haven’t seen before because she just knocks it out of the park with performance. It’s something that I think fans are going to just love.”
Wallace himself also teased the way Red Death has been hinted at in the series, even in Season 6.
“Here’s the fun part. We have been teasing the Red Death since season six. You can go back, because I’ve always had a plan to bring the Red Death on the show. You can go back to episode 607, right? ‘The Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Part One’, and in the middle of Bloodwork’s tempting of Barry in a dream, there’s a moment where they go into this dream sequence all red, no coincidence, and Reverse Flash, Tom Cavanagh, shows up and says, ‘She’s on the loose. She’s destroyed everything.’ That’s where this all started. We’re just paying it off,” Wallace said.
He continued, “So, when you see the Red Death, it’s the culmination of a geeky dream that, quite frankly, I’ve had for three years. I’m so glad we got an opportunity to do it. Also, you don’t have to wait until the end of the season to see the suit and to see the Red Death come to life. It’s going to happen very early in Season 9, very quickly. We’re not going to make people wait. We’re getting right to it. And boy, does all heck break loose when we find out why the Red Death is here and why she hates Barry Allen. Because remember, the villain never thinks they’re a villain. So conversely, they think the hero is not a hero.”
The Flash airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.