CW’s ‘The Flash’ To Do Stand-Alone Pilot Instead Of ‘Arrow’ Backdoor Pilot Episode

EXCLUSIVE: There has been a change in the CW‘s plans for The Flash. Originally, the character, played by Grant Gustin, was supposed to appear in three episodes of Arrow this season — No. 8, No. 9 and No. 20, the last one serving as a backdoor pilot directed by David Nutter. Episodes 8 and 9, in which the superhero is introduced only as his alter ego Barry Allen, have already been shot. But now the CW has opted to film a traditional stand-alone Flash pilot instead of doing a backdoor pilot as Arrow‘s Episode 20. With Episodes 8 and 9 serving as an origin story, the plan was for The Flash character to make his debut — red costume and all — in Arrow‘s Episode 20. He will now do it in the pilot. The creative team remains the same, with Arrow co-creators Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg and series scribe Geoff Johns writing the pilot and Nutter, who helmed the pilot for Arrow, directing. Berlanti, Kreisberg and Nutter executive produce, with Melissa Kellner Berman co-executive producing.

The decision was made after CW brass saw cuts of Episodes 8 and 9, which have been very well received. Filming a stand-alone Flash pilot would allow the creators to better flesh out the superhero’s story and his world on a bigger budget, as pilot budgets are significantly higher than episodic ones. While no longer a full-blown spinoff, The Flash still will be tethered to the Arrow universe since the the character (as Barry Allen) will first be introduced there. In light of the pilot order, it is unclear whether Episode 20 of Arrow will feature the Flash or any reference to him. The Arrow producers are expected to discuss their ideas for the episode with the CW this coming week. On Arrow, Barry Allen (Gustin) is a Central City assistant police forensics investigator who arrives in Starling to look into a series of unexplained robberies that may have a connection to a tragedy in his past. A comic book fanboy, Barry is obsessed with the Arrow unaware that working with Oliver and Felicity to solve the crime has brought him right into the dangerous world of the vigilante.

Comments (75)

  • Why does it seem that DC is so reluctant to universe-build (It appears that they are going to introduce Barry Allen, which is not necessarily the same as saying that they are going to introduced the Flash)

    They’re clearly following on the coattails of Marvel Studios, but they have to start sometime.

    Which reminds me: I don’t necessarily see how these characters are going to transfer to features (if that’s even Warner Bros./DC’s plan) because the CW’s ratings the shows like “Arrow” are relatively low – If “Arrow” were on any other network it would be in the ratings basement – and I am not sure that they can necessarily gauge public interest.

    Comment by Brian — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 9:16am PST  
    • this is the 4th show that WB/CW has tried of this type. (Smallville, Aquaman, Arrow and now this) they are simply following the formula of underpowered minimalist revisions of superhero origin stories started with Smallville. this has nothing to do with the movies.

      which, by the way, predates the Marvel Cinematic Universe. in short they are not following coattails that didn’t even exist at the time.

      Comment by merrrranga — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 9:25am PST  
      • Remember, certain studios were taking there time with releasing super-hero movies, even after the success of X-Men, Blade and Spider-Man. The entire line up of the Avengers were never going to get made into separate movies and if it happened they would be a decade apart which would have never lead to the Avengers.

        THEN MARVEL TOOK MATTERS INTO IT’S OWN HANDS and green lit Iron-Man, Thor, Hulk and Captain America back to back. The other studios are still tip toeing around green lighting super hero movies, CASE IN POINT: WB has only greenlit Batman VS Superman. UMM, THAT’S ONE SUPER HERO MOVIE. THERE’S NO OTHER SUPER-HERO MOVIES COMING OUT OF THE WB. They have no faith in super-hero movies even the one’s the bomb still make some bank. They should just give the rights to Disney since they are cranking out movies left and right. The only hope is for DC comics to form there own movie devision and get the rights back for the several super heroes that are currently being wasted and collecting dust. DC should try to do what Marvel did. But, the situation may be impossible since I’m not up to date on who owns DC…

        I just hope they get the quality high. The previous Flash series from the 90′s contended and was modeled after the high production value of the Batman movies:

        1. The costume had a cool ripped look that looks better than most super-hero costumes today. I saw on a website how other Flash costumes (on other tv shows and etc) that followed were a joke.
        2. The guy who scored the Batman and Spider-Man movies theme did the score.

        From Danny Elfman doing the score to Stan Winston (Aliens and Predator) making the costume. They probably should tap the movie department for help with the pilot.

        I also hope they cast an actress as sexy as the british actress on the 90′s series. Make her more hot dressing of course.

        People are going to be expecting something more action packed and more sexy than what was in the previous flash.

        Side note: I hope the previous Flash guest stars, maybe as a future Flash that comes back in time. Definitely not as a cameo as a mail man. The guy was as jacked as Hugh Jackman and he was a great actor. It broke my heart that he had only small pathetic parts on tv shows afterwards. That was an example of an agent needing to be fired.

        Comment by Just Saying bro — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 12:18pm PST  
        • Warner Bros owns DC. That makes your whole point moot. I get that you’re “not up to date on who owns DC”, but knowing that simple fact would have spared you from rambling an irrelevant point.

          Comment by Feedback — Tuesday November 19, 2013 @ 8:15am PST  
          • why would WB give the rights to their DC characters to the competition Disney? wow! and I think you mean Johh Wesley Shipp who was in Dawson Creek and a bunch of other shows and has even won a couple of daytime Emmys. I agree with you the Flash costume he wore was ahead of the times and is still cool to this day.

            Comment by Foxxstory — Thursday November 21, 2013 @ 12:14pm PST  
      • You forgot ‘Birds of Prey’.

        Comment by Mr_Explosion — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 2:09pm PST  
    • What about this article says “the Flash” is not going to be a part of the Arrow world? It’s a pilot for the Flash, after Barry Allen is introduced this season. Please read.

      Comment by John — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 9:26am PST  
    • One common complaint by top critics about Marvel’s combine universe is that the movies are starting to feel generic, with nonsensical plots, half-cooked villains and humor being used to try to coverup shoddy writing.

      The absence of other heroes also has become a recurring distraction in every solo adventure… The President of the United States was kidnapped and where was SHIELD, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow? SHIELD was all over the place just to investigate a hammer outside a 2-block small town in THOR 1 and were monitoring Jane (Thor’s gf) and took her research, but they NEVER showed up to investigate bigger anomalies happening in London which happened to have a confirmed Thor & Jane citing???

      Finally it is clear that a huge portion of the public that saw Avengers, didn’t care for Thor 2 or the first batch of movies prior to Avengers. The need for a tied universe is overblown, it only guarantees that we won’t see significant diversity out of these movies. WB should take note and work on improving their scripts and hopefully add some diversity if they are going that route.

      Comment by Beto — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 10:36am PST  
      • Solid observation.

        I also thought that Warner was focusing on dominating the traditional TV space while Marvel has features. Marvel really just got into it with Agents of Shield and now their recent JV with Netflix in developing 4 new series is the latest in their entry into TV.

        Comment by A Tribe Called Guest — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 11:58am PST  
        • @ATCG

          Oh I’ll be in line to watch those Netflix shows, particularly the Daredevil and Iron Fist shows. I’m not against the genre, just wish to see enough diversity out of these comic book movies/shows if we’re going to have so many coming off the assembly line. Same with Warner if they do get their act together.

          Comment by Beto — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 2:43pm PST  
          • Daredevil should give us some diversity. I hope so anyway.

            Comment by David — Thursday December 12, 2013 @ 5:34am PST  
      • In every phase of the Marvel movieverse most of the movies take place at the exact same time as eachother, minus the Avenger movie. Thor 1 took place at the same time as Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2. Iron Man 3, Thor 2, and Captain America 2 all take place at the same time, and our heroes can’t be in two places at once.

        Comment by Planetvideogame — Thursday November 21, 2013 @ 12:01pm PST  
    • It’s been stated clearly multiple times that the television universe and the Cinematic Universe are going to be separate. So, they might have Arrow and Flash in a Justice League film, but they won’t be connected to the series.

      Comment by Eric Clay — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 12:13pm PST  
      • actually arrow actor amell has been hinting at a shared tv-movie universe for some time now

        Comment by sameer — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 12:26pm PST  
    • It’s like you didn’t even read the article. Barry Allen will be The Flash.

      Comment by AlexD — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 10:19pm PST  
  • They should cancel Arrow and put Flash in its slot. They don’t have room for both shows and Flash would be the better show and get bigger ratings.

    Comment by The Flash — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 9:20am PST  
    • Yeah nice try flash.

      Comment by Green Arrow — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 10:56am PST  
      • Come on guys be nice. Can’t we all just get along? Why don’t we team up and fight crime together? We could form a group of super heroes. The League for Justice! Or the League of Super Heroes! All of us working together to defeat super villains. That would make a good TV show right?

        Comment by Clark Kent — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 1:22pm PST  
        • No one wants to watch these shows about aliens and metahumans. Why not just a show about an average american guy who builds a massive business empire with only his own intelligence while battling a life long war with male pattern baldness?

          Comment by Lex Luthor — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 2:00pm PST  
          • I’m not battling MPB… what are you talking about?

            Comment by Bruce Wayne — Friday November 22, 2013 @ 8:02pm PST  
        • Psst… Kal… you used the wrong name when you posted…

          Comment by Diana — Friday November 22, 2013 @ 8:03pm PST  
    • The Flash is a boring super hero, and I hope they don’t mess with the continuity of Arrow just to add this lackluster character

      Comment by Steelyvisionary — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 12:47pm PST  
    • I think more Heroes occupying TV screens is great , we should have a time slot for every known hero out there , and if they happen to be teaming up against a common evil then lets get that too. Why should there be rules and regulations to who can be seen with whom , we all know there are infinite realities , universes , and timelines from which we draw these stories so why not try to tell them all.

      Comment by Wade Wilson — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 3:43pm PST  
      • DC Comics Network > TheCW.

        Comment by Feedback — Tuesday November 19, 2013 @ 8:18am PST  
  • Arrow’s ratings may not be fantastic stateside, but they’re doing much better numbers overseas (primarily Europe). Looking at potential worldwide B.O., spinning from small screen to large may not be a bad idea (certainly better than Marvel’s spinning from large to small with Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. which hasn’t been performing as well as anticipated).

    Comment by Mike — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 9:32am PST  
    • Arrow’s ratings are doing quite good for the CW. 3 millions viewers weekly, not getting cancelled sorry.

      Comment by Jim — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 9:54am PST  
    • It’s a massive hit overseas , cause you know at overseas only shows with great word of mouth makes their way to top

      Comment by sameer — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 12:20pm PST  
  • Intresting development! but then,the idea to do another “FLASH”
    TV series is indeed,a pleasing thought,since i have deep memories of summer 1991,when CBS decided not to renew the 1990-91 series that
    Paul DeMeo and Danny Bilson did,for their Pet Fly Prods. and Warners,
    because that version was still pretty good,even though the costume
    design was almost accurate,except for not using the Yellow boots
    with the whole crimson costume. so now with The CW efforts,i can only
    hope that this Greg Berlanti will try to do a little more justice
    and make this version of The FLASH a little more accurate-like using
    his ring,to spit-out his costume. however they choose to play out this latest version,i sure hope they will be very creative in their
    efforts-but John Wesley Shipp and Amanda Pays still did a great job
    with their 90s version,so Berlanti better be very creative here,because many of us will expect only the best! the version of
    FLASH in Cartoon Network’s fantastic 2001-2005 JUSTICE LEAGUE cartoon series was
    also good,but too much of a smart ass-so i hope they won’t use any
    of that on their current version-and yes,i know he was voiced by
    the actor who played “Lex Luthor” in CW’s “SMALLVILLE” series!

    Comment by JOE S HILL — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 9:43am PST  
  • Joe, the old show’s problem was Warner Bros should have made it themselves for syndication instead of going with CBS. After the success of Batman, Flash for syndication could have kept fans busy at least until Batman Returns was released.

    Comment by Frank — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 10:05am PST  
    • I worked on The Flash in 1990 and what you write is uninformed. The networks were still the bomb then and they paid the most money. WBTV at that time was in the business of big license fee arrangements with broadcasters. Not syndication so they could own everything. Partnering was still important in those days and both the market share and the marketing of the show were all that mattered. Perhaps today the game has changed, but doing this for the CW is really what the CW was built for… it almost IS Warner Bros. syndication play.

      Comment by Anonymous — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 10:59am PST  
      • I won’t question your expertise about WBTV in the 90s, but the above poster was only suggesting what should have happened, not what the studio people were or were not most likely to be open to. Paramount produced 7 high-production value seasons of Star Trek The Next Generation for syndication in this period and that series was an enormous success, so the syndication model was not some crazy notion even back then.

        Comment by valmurph8037 — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 11:40am PST  
        • The main reason against a syndicated Flash would have been that the Salkind/Viacom production of Superboy was still being made at that point. Warner Bros would not have wanted to compete for a time slot with another one of their own characters that had been leased to the Salkinds over a decade earlier.

          Comment by Henry — Tuesday November 19, 2013 @ 11:59am PST  
  • I wonder if this has anything to do with how the first episode of ‘THE ORIGINALS’ was absolute crap and played out like a slightly-re-edited version of it’s GLORIOUS backdoor-pilot seen last season on ‘The Vampire Diaries’?

    I hope they still keep Grant’s Barry Allen for episode 20 (which arguably enhances the show’s spin-off street cred) and MOST IMPORTANT I hope the shows do follow-through with the whole ‘Shared Universe’ promise going forward (and for that matter, the same with the proposed ‘HOURMAN’ pilot too…)

    Comment by IRON WILL — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 10:27am PST  
  • Did I just read about you saying they should cancel Arrow and replace it with Flash???? Seriously think about it.. Arrow pulls in a relatively good audience already so why cancel it? Why not do both shows? Have them both draw in big viewers ratings… For me i think it’s going to be interesting on how they’re going pull of Flash, he is fast after all

    Comment by Steven Dodds — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 10:43am PST  
  • I can’t wait to see Grant’s verison of The Flash. I don’t understand why they’re making a pilot if they have no intention of creating a series, but I’m excited to see it nonetheless. Bring on the spandex!

    Comment by Jeremy — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 10:59am PST  
  • Jeez!! That is because that Flash was a completely different person!! The 2001-2005 Justice League Flash was Wally West…not Barry Allen. Wally was known for his smart ass, quick witted responses and overall fun guy & took over in the DC universe after Barry died (for 25 years!) Rest assurred that Geoff “fraking” Johns is going to bring you the dull, seriously boring boyscout you hope for…only now more EMO (emotional) because Johns changed the Flash’s history to having parents…to mother murdered & dad blamed and incarcerated! “Fraking” Johns!!!

    Comment by Hemingway — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 11:01am PST  
    • I guess you say that on every spiderman related topics on here

      Comment by sameer — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 12:25pm PST  
  • Greg Berlanti is responsible for a number of superhero productions, like Green Latern, Arrow and now Flash. His co-producer writes for the comics. I think they do an excellent job. Arrow is great and won’t be cancelled anytime soon. It would have higher ratings on any other station. The problem with the CW is that is markets itself just to the younger generation and misses a lot of potential viewers. Many still aren’t even really aware of its offerings. Flash’s biggest problem, like Arrow will be budget. Look for product placements like the Microsoft Arrow placements to increase the production for CGI effects like the costume ring.

    Comment by Storyfan — Monday November 18, 2013 @ 11:10am PST  
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