They started with Barry Allen, but now the producers of The CW’s Arrow and The Flash are filling out their super-heroic universe nearly as quickly as the big-screen DC Cinematic Universe Zack Snyder is trying to build off the back of Man of Steel. In addition to DC’s Emerald Archer and Scarlet Speedster, earlier this week we learned that former Superman actor Brandon Routh would be guest-starring on Arrow this season as Dr. Ray Palmer, who in the comics fights crime as the shrinking superhero The Atom. Now Arrow’s sister series The Flash is adding another classic Silver Age DC character to the mix: the flame-headed nuclear hero Firestorm…or at least half of him.
Entertainment Weekly broke the news today that actor Robbie Amell has landed a recurring role on The Flash as Ronnie Raymond. In the comics, Raymond would combine with physicist Martin Stein to become Firestorm. Basically Raymond would control Firestorm’s physical aspect, while Stein would share a consciousness with him. So Stein was basically the superhero equivalent of backseat driver you just can’t get rid of. Thankfully Raymond got some perks to balance out having one of his professors jammed into his brain: Firestorm could fly around and alter the molecular structure of things in various nifty ways. Also his head is on fire, like, all the time.
If Robbie Amell’s name sounds familiar, that could be for two reasons. For one, he’s the cousin of Arrow star Stephen Amell. He’s also the former star of the CW’s canceled update of the British cult classic The Tomorrow People. I wonder just how many Amell cousins the CW is keeping in storage. Maybe we can fill out the rest of the Justice League roster in seasons to come. Let’s just try to steer clear of the Wonder Twins.
Arrow/Flash executive producer Greg Berlanti told EW:
[Producers] Geoff Johns, Andrew Kreisberg and myself designed the pilot and series to include Ronnie (aka Firestorm) — and to actually have someone with Robbie’s talent playing the role is beyond exciting. We can’t wait for viewers and fans of the character to check it out.
Of course, the big question is whether we’ll see Raymond actually become Firestorm on The Flash. Berlanti referring to him as “aka Firestorm” might seem to suggest yes, but that could just be shorthand for identifying the character for fans who don’t have every DC Universe character’s secret identity memorized. On the other hand, The Flash looks to be veering away from the more grounded Arrow and introducing widespread superpowers courtesy of the S.T.A.R. Labs supercollider accident that gave Barry his speed. It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine them tying Raymond’s origins as Firestorm into that accident as well. On the other hand, they could take the same tact with Raymond that they did with Barry on Arrow — introduce him as a “civilian” first, then eventually work up to the creation of his superhero alter ego.
All I know is, I’m about 500% more interested in the DC Universe Berlanti and co. are building on the CW than I am in the one Snyder is crafting on the big screen. Forget Henry Cavill’s Superman and Ben Affleck’s Batman — the Justice League I want to see would include Green Arrow, The Flash, The Atom, and Firestorm on its roster. Dare I hope they’ll eventually give us a satisfying version of Green Lantern?