“The Flash” will return in 2021 without Hartley Sawyer after he was fired from the show but how will the series deal with the loss of a major character like Ralph Dibny?
“The Flash” will soon get back into production on season 7 after season 6 was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.
When the series picks up filming, showrunner Eric Wallace intends to finish the storyline that was yet to be concluded from season 6 after Eva McCulloch/Mirror Mistress took over her husband’s company, trapped Iris in her backwards mirror-verse and framed Sue Dearbon for murder. Unfortunately, a few extra changes had to be made after Hartley Sawyer — who played Ralph Dibny/Elongated Man — was fired from the show after a series of racist and misogynist tweets resurfaced from before he was on “The Flash.”
According to Wallace, the series won’t just write out Ralph Dibny without giving him a proper exit when the series returns next year but thanks to Elongated Man’s special ability to morph and mold into anybody, the face we’ll see won’t be Hartley Sawyer’s.
“In order to wrap that up, which we’re going to do at the top of season 7, Ralph has to be part of that,” Wallace explained when speaking to EW. “Now thank goodness, Ralph is a guy who can change faces and his appearance in many ways.
“Without giving any spoilers away, there are a couple of ways that we can have Elongated Man still appear in at least one episode this season to wrap that storyline up, that gets us what we need and still allows fans to say goodbye to the character, at least for the indefinite future.”
Wallace added that just because Ralph Dibny will be leaving the series for now, there’s always a chance he could return seemingly with a different actor playing the part. That’s not in the works currently but Wallace says it’s always a possibility.
“The beauty of comic book stories and superhero stories are the conventions that heroes come and go, but they never fade away and they never disappear entirely,” Wallace said. “So we’re going to treat it like we would if we were writing a comic book graphic novel. We’re giving the Elongated Man a bit of a rest for while. But we will leave the door open. Who knows what the future could bring. It is unknown.
“But I’m not saying by any means that it’s the end of the character, in fact, quite the opposite. We just don’t know when he will return, or in what form he will return. And that’s the beauty of comic book stories. It keeps it fresh.”
Unfortunately, Sawyer’s exit also created another problem for “The Flash” because actress Natalie Dreyfuss joined the series playing Sue Dearbon, who is Ralph Dibny’s future wife from the comic books. The series had already set up a potential romance between Ralph and Sue on the show but now Wallace is being forced to alter course now that Sawyer is no longer part of the show.
As far as Dreyfuss goes, Wallace says that she will still make an appearance during “The Flash” season 7 but obviously her storyline has drastically changed due to Ralph Dibny no longer being a major part of the storyline going forward.
“You’re going to see Sue more than once this year even without the Elongated Man — on her own, making appearances, and helping Team Flash in an unexpected way. And it’s just going to be hilarious because she was so much fun,” Wallace added.
“I called up Natalie and said, ‘Don’t worry, you’re still going to be part of this season. We’ll find a way.’ Now, when I told her that, to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure [how]. But I am happy to report we found a way.”
As for the long term plans to move forward without Ralph Dibny as part of Team Flash, Wallace revealed that there was one particular storyline that he fleshed out that was going to be a major part of the big bad for season 7 but now after making a few necessary changes, he believes the plot is actually that much better
“There was a whole storyline that involved Ralph with another character in particular going off on a two hander journey — a season-long [arc] that would have involved a whole bunch of twists and turns that would have played into the season’s big bad, which I don’t want to spoil. And yeah, we can’t do that anymore,” Wallce said. “However, as is always the case and this is why I like planning ahead, it turns out to be a situation of some lemons and we made lemonade out of it. We pulled the Elongated Man out of this particular storyline and the storyline became so much stronger because now it’s focused on the other character, which I don’t want to reveal, because it’s a surprise.
“For that other character, it became a much more of an emotional journey. And this other character I’m referring to is one of our series regulars, so it’s going to be very exciting. That particular character now gets to go somewhere that we never imagined they would until many seasons down the line, but we just pulled that up. So I think it’s going to be really fun. And it was a good way to, like I said, make an awkward situation into a great opportunity that ends up making Team Flash as a whole, stronger.”
Look for more information on “The Flash” season 7 as the series gets back into production in the next few weeks with the show expected to return to the CW in early 2021.