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The Flash - Season 2 Finale - Post Mortem Interviews

"I never saw this coming," Shipp tells The Hollywood Reporter of the twist. "I left at the beginning of the season, I came back once, but for the most of the season, I was gone. So to be brought back as part of a triple whammy, first with Henry's death, which I expected, then the reveal of the man in the iron mask, which is me, which I didn't expect, and then I certainly didn't expect the man in the iron mask to be Jay Garrick. It's a triple whammy for sure."

But Shipp wasn't told about this shocking revelation in any concrete way.

"I went up on March 1 to film the last four episodes and I began hearing things," Shipp says with a laugh. "I was fitted in this costume that was all brown and shredded and like a prison costume. But it obviously wasn't a Henry Allen costume. And then I started hearing about fittings for an iron mask. I wrote [executive producer] Greg [Berlanti] and email saying, 'I'm starting to hear things about characters that I may or may not be playing going forward. What's going on here?'"

Shipp continues with a laugh, "I was dying for him to talk to me. Of course he got back to me within three minutes and he was like, 'Oh my God, I thought they had already talked to you!' So we had a great conversation and he laid out this story for me and the series of reveals in the last couple of episodes. I have to tell you, my mind was blown."

"When this role came to me initially, I wanted to play Henry Allen. I didn't want to suit up again right away," Shipp says. "'Is this all this guy can do? Run around in a costume?' But Henry Allen was a quiet, truthful, emotional character grounded in grit. He was a true character role in the midst of all this action and adventure. Having done that for two years, now I feel like, OK, I've proven myself again as an actor. Now maybe I can get in and have a little fun as a costumed superhero again."

He continues, "This isn't the Henry/Barry relationship in another form. Jay is a very different guy. People say that I, John Wesley Shipp, am the original Flash, but he's the original original Flash. This is the Golden Age Flash, the head of the Justice Society. This is the real Flash daddy. I have to remind myself of that, because there were some aspects of the Henry/Barry relationship that I treasured, the absolute emotional vulnerability, being a safe haven for him, that emotional connection. It's going to be very tempting for me to want to go back and play that dynamic again, but the Jay/Barry dynamic is going to be very different."

"There have been endless suggestions and possibilities [that I can cross over to Legends as Jay Garrick]," Shipp says. "Jay Garrick formed the Justice Society. Not that I know of anything concrete, but this character is so open-ended. Henry Allen had a shelf life. He had one purpose: to be there to support Barry. Jay Garrick, it's wide open. Who knows what we're going to see? That's very exciting."

What do you think the repercussions of the finale will be, going into next season?

The palette is wide open. The thing they love to do at the end of the season is they introduce so many different elements that could go in so many different directions. For me, personally, as an actor, Henry Allen was rather closed-ended, he was there for a purpose, he served his purpose, it was time for him to die. The fact that I’m now getting to morph into an entirely different character that is so important to the Justice Society of America, which also bleeds into “Legends of Tomorrow,” he’s such an important character to this whole world – it just opens up enormous possibilities for me as an actor going forward, and the challenge for me, having played Henry, is that I now get to create an entirely different character going forward. And how that affects Barry – because Barry’s going to want to lean on this guy who looks just like his father but is not his father – that can create a whole bunch of psychological conflict too. I’m as excited as you are to see how all of this will play out.

What can you say about Jay’s dynamic with Barry, given those emotional complications?

Jay does not know the emotional minefield that he’s walking into. Of course, Barry’s gonna look at this guy, and when the iron mask first comes off… it’s really heartbreaking, he shrinks himself. It’s really amazing. If I were to lose my father, someone with whom I was very close, and then there was someone there who looks just like my father, my impulse would be to want to go and get the same things from this guy that I got from my father. This guy’s not going to know any of that, he’s not going to understand it, so I hope there are those awkward moments where Barry tries to get from Jay what he got from Henry and it’s not gonna be forthcoming, and they’re going to have to make their own peace and form their own relationship based on the reality of what is. That opens itself up for all kinds of psychological possibilities.

After Barry’s father got out of jail, viewers expected him to be around, but he left town. What came with that decision? Was that because you weren’t planning to do so many episodes?

I really think it was purely a technical consideration, that they had so many stories they wanted to tell, they had so many characters they needed to spin out. I personally had no desire to hang around, drinking beer and eating pizza on the sofa in my underwear saying, “Well, Barry, you going to the crime lab today?” I don’t think that would’ve served me having played The Flash in the past. It wouldn’t have served Henry Allen. It would not have interested me. They needed to get Henry off to one side.

TVLINE | Have you been told anything about the show’s version of Earth-Three? On Earth-Two, for example, people tend to be opposites, there’s a “retro” veneer to the aesthetics…..

The only thing I know about Earth-Three is what I gathered from the comics, that that’s where Jay Garrick is, that that’s where these old villains go. That’s what happens at the end of our finale — Zoom turns into Black Flash and goes off to Earth-Three, so I’ll be very interested when we get to the point of exploring what Earth-Three s like and how close they’ll stay to the comics.

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