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The Flash: John Wesley Shipp on Becoming a Speedster Again

Time:2016-12-07 10:36Shoes websites Click:

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''It's a completely different dynamic.''

By Jesse Schedeen

Actor John Wesley Shipp has worn many hats in the Flash franchise, beginning with his time as Barry Allen/The Flash on the original 1990 TV series. Since then, Shipp has voiced Reverse-Flash on the animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold and played Barry's father, Henry, on the first two season of the current Flash series on the CW. And even though Henry was killed at the end of Season 2, Shipp remains an active player on the show, taking on the role of Jay Garrick (the real one, following last season's imposter), a speedster hero who defends the inhabitants of Earth-3.

Shipp's Jay Garrick will be returning in tonight's new episode, "The Present," which also serves as the midseason finale. We'll see Barry cross over to Earth-3 to seek advice on how to deal with Savitar, only to be drawn into Jay's ongoing feud with his world's version of the Trickster (Mark Hamill). Along the way, fans will learn a great deal more about what the second half of Season 3 holds in store for these speedster heroes.

We were able to chat with Shipp over the phone recently. He explained why Jay Garrick is such a different character from Henry Allen, how the relationship between the two Flashes will evolve, and why this new version of Trickster is such a drastic departure from the old one. Scroll down to find out what he had to say.

John Wesley Shipp as Jay Garrick.

John Wesley Shipp as Jay Garrick in The Flash.

IGN: When you were first cast to play Henry Allen, did you have any idea you’d eventually get to be an actual speedster again?

Shipp: No. In fact, if they had come to me with the role of Jay Garrick in the beginning, I'm not sure I would have done it. Because, clearly, I was a superhero 25 years ago. I would have felt like I was competing with myself. It would have been a very weird dynamic for me to come back to The Flash as a speedster. To come back as Henry Allen - a very realistic character who's quiet, simple, truthful and has very emotionally rich scenes - I thought that I was grounding myself in reality in a comic universe. so that after two years of that and audience appreciation for that relationship, then put on a suit and come back and Flash around. I feel like I can have some fun. There's nothing to prove at this point. Whatever I had to prove in the Flash world about myself as an actor, I proved as Henry Allen. And now I feel like I can have some fun.

IGN: Now that you’ve had a chance to play Jay Garrick a few times, how would you say the role compares to Henry or even Barry on the old Flash series?

Shipp: Well, it's much closer to Barry. My Jay is very close to my Barry. In fact, when I found out I was going to be suiting up again, I went back and watched a couple episodes of the old show to kind of remind myself of what I did and to bring elements of that forward, because - what a great resource. We have our back-story all written. I was Barry! I was the speedster in the show while Jay was the speedster in the universe. And now he's suddenly confronted with this new guy who, if anything, he's faster and more powerful than Jay. So how does Jay come to terms with that? It's a very rich environment.

IGN: And it did seem like there was a very real passing of the torch when the two characters finally met at the end of Season 2.

Shipp: Yeah, yeah. And it's great because we wanted to make Jay very different from Henry. It's a real conundrum for Barry when the iron mask comes off and it's his dad who's just been killed, but he's not warm, he's not fuzzy, he's not particularly nurturing. It's sort of like Henry got him to the point where he's a full-fledged superhero. He's totally assumed the mantle, and it's totally his thing. And now Jay is like, "Okay, you're a superhero. It's big boy rules now. What are you going to do about it?" It's a completely different dynamic. I admit I miss, I have to say, the closeness. There's just no ego in between between me and Grant as Henry and Barry. There was just warmth and kindness and good parenting that was going on in those scenes. That's gone. What I get now is I get to bump up against Grant's speedster as a speedster. Where do sparks fly? How do we work together. What does that do to Jay now that he's not the only one? We've got a lot of dimension and a lot of angles to play.

John Wesley Shipp as Jay Garrick and Grant Gustin as The Flash on The Flash: "The Present" Episode

John Wesley Shipp as Jay Garrick and Grant Gustin as The Flash on The Flash: "The Present" Episode

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