Arrow Season 2 – Casting the Flash

Grant-GustinAs a fan of the TV show Arrow, I was intrigued when I heard the announcement that producers had decided to introduce Barry Allen / the Flash. I mean sure, there is some complaint to be made that Arrow is breaking their “no superheroes” rule, but c’mon, this is the Flash we’re talking about! So it was with great anticipation that I checked the news every day for any hints of casting speculation. At one point, it was down to three hopefuls; Matt Barr, James Mackay, and Grant Gustin. On a purely aesthetic level, all three checked off the usual CW boxes of “pretty” and “fangirl friendly”. But out of the three, I thought Gustin was the outsider. So when the official casting was finally announced, I had a head scratching “huh?” moment.

Now, if this was just a guest starring role, I don’t think there would be as much worry over the casting – but the intention is for the third of the Flash / Arrow episodes to be a backdoor pilot to a spinoff TV series. And my concern is – will Gustin be able to pull off a leading role? It isn’t that I don’t think Gustin is a good actor – I’ve seen him on Glee, and he handles himself well. My concern is whether or not he has the gravitas required to keep viewers engaged.

The first thing that jumps to mind is age – Gustin is 23. And yet producers have been clear that Allen is to be a police forensic scientist. Now, assuming a high school graduation age of 18, plus a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Science, Allen can’t have been out of school for more than a year (this is of course assuming that Gustin will be playing his own age range or close to). And as far as I’m aware, being a police forensic scientist requires what is essentially an apprenticeship period, so the most that someone Gustin’s age could be is a trainee – a forensic newb. I really hope the show doesn’t pull out the tired “young genius who started college at age 13” storyline.

The other issue is overall appeal. He’ll definitely hit the “squee” factor for the younger fangirls, but I don’t think he quite hits the mark for the older crowd. And how will he go over with the fanboys? Amell has proven successful in his Arrow role because he is not only appealing to the ladies, but he has that “bro” appeal where he seems like he’d be down for watching the game while having a pint. Somehow, I’m not getting the same vibe from Gustin – I’m really worried that he won’t have quite the same across – gender appeal. Which makes me wonder whether or not the Flash spinoff will have the same feel as Arrow (darkly realistic), or whether they’re going to go with more of a comedy route. Which I really hope isn’t the case, because the Flash deserves better than that. We don’t need another show with the “Smallville” vibe – at least not within the world created by Arrow.

Only time will tell as to whether or not Gustin will become a fan favourite – but much of it depends on what the producers have in mind for the Flash spinoff. Only they know what they’re looking for given the direction they’ve decided to take the show, and obviously Gustin fits the bill. I just hope that the vision that they have for the character will make the show a success.

Reporter: Aurra

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One comment

  1. SilverFox /

    I thought the same thing when they cast Heath Legder as The Joker, having only seen him in A Knight’s Tale. I don’t watch Glee, so he carries no baggage for me… maybe they’ll play it the Peter Parker route?

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