‘The Flash’: Executive Producer Todd Helbing On Barry’s New Reality, Tom Felton Joining The Show & More

With help from his arch nemesis, Reverse Flash, Barry Allen’s timeline was reset, making the Season 3 opener – “Flashpoint” – a distant memory.

But, as Barry learned at the end of last week’s episode, not everything went back to the way it once was.

And in the show’s “Paradox” episode, airing Tuesday night on The CW, Barry (Grant Gustin) will be getting used to a new reality – one where Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and Iris West (Candice Patton) aren’t speaking and where Barry has a new boss named Julian (played by “Harry Potter’s” Tom Felton). There are also changes on the way for Caitlyn Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), as Executive Producer Todd Helbing (who co-wrote Tuesday’s episode, with his brother, and fellow EP Aaron Helbing) told Access Hollywood.

Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen in ‘The Flash’ Season 3, Episode 2 — ‘Paradox’
(The CW)

PHOTOS: ‘The Flash’ Season 3: Scenes From Episode 2 — ‘Paradox’

'The Flash' Season 3: Scenes From Episode 2 -- 'Paradox'

‘The Flash’ Season 3: Scenes From Episode 2 — ‘Paradox’

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AccessHollywood.com: Here’s what I need to know – is this our new reality on ‘The Flash’? Is there any chance we’re going to go back to Season 2 finale, pre-Barry running back in time, or is this what we’re going with?
Todd Helbing: Yeah, this is, you know — he comes out of ‘Flashpoint’ and now he has to deal with all the consequences of time travel. The way we sort of set it up, in the first season, he goes back and he relives that day when the Weather Wizard went after Joe, and Harrison Wells was warning him there are consequences of time travel. He can’t keep doing this. But it never really affected Barry as much. In Season 2, in flashback, he goes back to learn how to go faster and when he comes out Hartley Rathaway is a good guy as opposed to a bad guy, so that was an effect, but a good effect. And now, in Season 3 [he] comes out [of it] and there are a lot of things that are not great, and it really is the first time that he has to deal with all these changes that were because of him. And the question is — how are you going to move forward from this? Is this something that you just go back and try to change and get a do-over, or is it something you accept as a hero and move forward.

Access: Felicity, who is a character from another show, is in this episode. Can we expect her to at least be the same, since we’ve already had one ‘Arrow’ episode [air this season]? She certainly seems to be the Felicity Smoak in ‘Arrow’?
Todd: She’s basically the same. You’ll see in Episode 2, how the characters on ‘Arrow’ have been affected.

Access: Tell me about Cisco. He looks like he’s in some sort of meeting in the trailer. He’s in a hospital gown in the photos. What have you done to that poor guy?
Todd: All I will say is what Cisco is dealing with is something that – it hits him very hard, so you’ll see how that affects Barry and Cisco’s relationship moving forward.

Access: Is Barry going to feel a lot of guilt seeing somebody like Cisco – it almost looks like you’re putting him in some sort of therapy session something like that.
Todd: Barry is certainly – he’s feeling the heavy weight of the decision that he made and there’s a great scene between Jay Garrick and Barry Allen where they discuss this scenario, like, ‘What are you going to do – because of these consequences, how are you going to react to them?’

Access: If Iris isn’t talking to her dad, I’m just curious how Iris and Barry are because last week’s episode was great if you’re a big fan of the chemistry that exists between Iris and Barry. What are we going to see going forward?
Todd: You’re going to see a lot of Barry and Iris. I think in the promo [Barry says], ‘I’ve kissed Iris West twice and I’ve erased them both times,’ and you’re going to see where we dropped off that relationship and moving forward – we’re not going back to – in ‘Flashpoint,’ he had to start over. We’re not doing that.

Access: Tom Felton [makes his ‘Flash’ debut in this episode]. … When you were crafting that character, you didn’t know who you were going to cast, right? I am curious if he had any influence on the tweaks you made to that character once you knew you got Tom in?
Todd: You write the character a certain way, and I mean, he was always going to be this prickly antagonist who is Barry’s — in a lot of ways, his boss and sort of is on to his disappearances and he’s a smart guy, so he starts to figure out something is wrong with Barry, and he doesn’t like him because of that. But … as the season goes on and you start to see more and more scenes, [you] start to pick out what’s really working and the chemistry between these two guys and then you can just write to make the scenes that much better, just more informed. So it certainly changes and evolves over the course of the season. A perfect example is last year, I think in our first table read with Harry, Tom [Cavanagh] was crossing out dialogue, and we’re like, ‘Oh crap he hates this.’ But it wasn’t that. He just felt like his character said less. And you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s so right. Why don’t we do that?’ And it’s just more informed moving forward.

Access: And bringing in Todd Lasance, who you’ve worked with before [on ‘Spartacus: War of the Damned’], knowing what he can do … do you write more for him physically because you know it’s Todd Lasance?
Todd: When he played Caesar he was so intense and there’s this level of that that we knew fit perfectly for The Rival and for [Edward] Clariss. And it really helped inform his character because once Todd came in we’re like, ‘Oh, he’s him!’ We could see in our head very quickly what would work and how that would benefit everything.

Access: Are you already dreaming of bringing Liam McIntyre back so you can have a scene with the two of them?
Todd: (laughs) Yeah, we’re pretty meta on the show, which I love, so that would be great. It’s always fun. It’s like having Cold and Heatwave together and then to have Weather Wizard and The Rival – it would be awesome.

Access: Yes! Sparty and Caesar back together again. I would love it. Finally, let me just ask you what’s going on with Caitlyn Snow. It looks like she’s got dry ice coming out of her hands [in the trailer].
Todd: All I’ll say is obviously there are some changes that happen post ‘Flashpoint’ and you’ll see how every character has been affected.

Access: You guys must be having so much fun – you and your brother together when you were putting this episode together. Did you feel like kids again?
Todd: Yeah, I feel like a kid every day I come to work. … We really love the emotion in this show, and all these action pieces — the set pieces — as long as they’re rooted in emotion, they always pay off. And so, that’s the stuff that we really love to write. So yeah, we sort of hit the jackpot [with] ‘Spartacus’ and now ‘Flash.’ So we’re extremely grateful.

“The Flash” Season 3 continues Tuesday at 8/7c on The CW.

Jolie Lash

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