The ninth and final season of The Flash premiered tonight, bringing the highest highs and lowest lows of The CW‘s Arrowverse franchise to a head. The last batch of episodes have already been confirmed to include a surprising crop of returning guest stars, and there has been a lot of speculation from fans about how they will re-enter the fold. The Season 9 premiere delivered on one of those in a pretty major way — while also introducing a long-awaited character in the process. Spoilers for Season 9, Episode 1 of The Flash, “Wednesday Ever After”, below! Only look if you want to know!
The final scene of the episode shows Owen Mercer / Captain Boomerang (Richard Harmon) meeting with his previously-unseen collaborator — a speedster who creates lightning in the shape of a Bat symbol. While only briefly shown onscreen, the scene makes it clear that it’s none other than Red Death, an alternate version of Ryan Wilder / Batwoman (Javicia Leslie).
A relatively new addition to DC canon, Red Death made his debut in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Dark Days: The Casting #1 in 2017. A member of the Dark Knights — a group of alternate multiversal versions of Batman led by The Batman Who Laughs — Red Death was revealed to be a dark mashup of Batman and The Flash. In the alternate universe of Earth -52, Bruce Wayne was traumatized by the death of his various Robins, and decided to escalate his crimefighting by harnessing the Speed Force. Bruce then absorbed his version of The Flash’s powers by combining his Batmobile and the Cosmic Treadmill, and decided to suit up as the Red Death.
Red Death was previously name-dropped in a future-set Season 5 episode of The Flash, which made some wonder if and how the character could factor into the Arrowverse. A line in 2021’s “Armageddon” crossover, in which Ryan Wilder referenced fighting “the lady in red,” further stoked those theories.
“There’s small Easter eggs, there’s big Easter eggs. When we were in season three, Savitar was talking about DeVoe being one of his biggest foes,” former The Flash showrunner Todd Helbing previously told ComicBook.com. “We like to leave it up to the fans to try to figure out which its going to be. Who’s maybe a big bad the next season, who’s just a name drop. Godspeed sort of fell into the best of both worlds. We can have an episode with him, introduce him and then bring him back at some point in the future because he’s a major comics villain so we would never want to do a guy like that in just one episode.”
What do you think of The Flash finally introducing Red Death in its final season premiere? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
The final season of The Flash airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.