The first Reverse-Flash was introduced as a dark mirror to Jay Garrick all the way back in 1949. He was called ‘The Rival’, thus setting the stage for each Flash to have his own major arch nemesis. The second Reverse-Flash was Eobard Thawne, who first fought Barry Allen in 1963, followed by the third Reverse-Flash, Hunter Zolomon, introduced to fight Wally West forty years later. Thawne was major part of The Flash’s first season, and rather than waiting a couple of decades, we’re getting both Wally and Zolomon this October, with one minor catch. The actor playing Zolomon is just going to be his voice for the time being, but that gives way to a number of interesting possibilities.
Tony Todd is no stranger to the DC Universe. After a brief appearance on Smallville, he went on to voice Astaroth in Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Icon in Young Justice, before graduating to role of Darkseid in a pair of LEGO Justice League movies, but his role on The Flash seems to be a much more serious endeavor. Zolomon was a police officer obsessed with the criminal mind because his father turned out to be a serial killer. After good old Gorilla Grodd left him paralyzed from the waist down, he begged his friend Wally West to help him undo the accident. Wally refused, as the risk of changing the past was too great, and Zolomon was really grumpy-tights about the whole thing, so he took matter into his own hands, using the Cosmic Treadmill to access the Speed Force, and…. you know what, he became a bad guy. That’s all that matters, and his biggest beef with his designated Flash was that he hadn’t experienced tragedy the way Barry had, so he believed Wally couldn’t understand what it meant to be a real superhero.
He’s a disgruntled fanboy who went crazy, a once good man who spent all his life fighting his murderous lineage until he eventually succumbed to it. He’s also a speedster, but unlike The Flash, his ability isn’t so much running really fast as it is constantly slipping through time because he’s no longer tethered to it, which also causes his speech to be somewhat erratic. At one point, he even kills Wally’s wife and his unborn child by sending a ripple through time, simply by snapping his fingers. They likely won’t go with that exact version of the character, but it’s some creepy stuff to draw from, and Todd is really good at creepy.
Producer Andrew Kriesberg says they wanted to do something different when it came to Zolomon, perhaps because of the similarities he bears to last season’s big bad. It seems like he’s all set to show up in the second episode, titled Flash of Two Worlds, and rather than simply using voice modulation, the plan seems to involve making the character sound much scarier.
“Part of the mystery of the season is who or what is underneath the Zoom outfit, and so we wanted to do something like James Earl Jones as Darth Vader — this iconic voice coming out of this mask. Last year, we thought of the Reverse-Flash as a speed warrior; this year, Zoom is like a speed demon, and no one does demon-voice better than Tony Todd.”
He also likens Zolomon’s Reverse-Flash outfit to the Spider-Man villain Venom, stating it’ll look “much more organic” than what we saw Thawne wear, and that it’ll be like a living part of the character. Concealing Zoom’s identity is interesting, albeit quite similar to how they approached the Reverse-Flash last season. Perhaps it means we’ll be introduced to the man beneath the mask before he’s revealed? Or maybe we’ve already met him?
I’ll be disappointed if we don’t get to see Rick Cosnett’s Eddie Thawne show up again, but I’ll also be disappointed if he turns evil, even if he is in a perfect position to be the cop who loses his faith in The Flash. Tom Cavanagh is all set to return as well, though it’s hard to tell whether he’ll be the original Dr. Wells or the manipulative father figure Eobard Thawne, but he’s an unlikely candidate since that would mean having him do the same thing twice. This is also The Flash we’re talking about, a show that isn’t afraid to push the limits of comicbook weirdness, so Zoom could be anyone from Barry Allen in another dimension, to his long lost twin brother (yes, he has one of those in the comics), to Thaddeus Thawne, the evil clone of Barry’s descendant from the 30th century who eventually became a Reverse-Flash himself, as did Iris West’s long lost brother Daniel. For all we know, I could be a Reverse-Flash from the future, telling to you tune in to season 2 because it’s awesome.
The Flash returns October 6th on The CW.