“The Art and Making of The Flash” by Abbie Bernstein | Foreword by: Greg Berlanti | Publisher: Titan Books
When we don’t agree with a show’s narrative direction, it’s easy to lob complaints of “lazy writing” or “they don’t really care about the character” against the people behind the show. I’ve done it; even though I don’t truly believe that anyone involved is intentionally trying to do a bad job. I wish every show had an opportunity to provide the in-depth look at what it takes to create a weekly TV show that “The Art and Making of The Flash” gives fans of The CW’s The Flash.
From the moment co-creator and executive producer Greg Berlanti fell in love with the comic book to the day they knew they’d found their Barry Allen when Grant Gustin walked out of the audition, this book gives us access to the early days of the series, and breaks down every casting decision, wardrobe and set development through The Flash’s first two seasons.
Heroes & Allies
With several characters who’ve carried the torch of being The Flash, how did Berlanti and company decide on Barry Allen? In the early pages of “The Art and Making…” we learn it was a pretty easy decision to land on Barry, whose character kicked off the Silver Age of Comics and had the rich backstory that could carry a weekly TV series. We’ve been introduced to a few other hero speedsters in the course of the first three seasons, and that was always the creators’ plan, but Barry Allen remains the central figure connecting them all.
The easy chemistry between the main cast as a whole is no accident. Casting Director Dave Rapaport’s keen eye for talent, plus the shared experience Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg (co-creator/exec. producer) had with some of the actors ensured they’d found the best people for their roles. For instance, Caitlin Snow is brilliant and accomplished, and Danielle Panabaker graduated college before she was 20-years-old; sounds like a natural fit.
After a meeting in a tea shop with Jesse L. Martin, Berlanti and Kreisberg began to rewrite the unfinished pilot with Martin in mind for Joe West, Barry’s surrogate father. With that decision made, the hunt was on for an African-American actress who could play the iconic Iris West, ace reporter and Barry Allen’s one true love. Candice Patton landed the role, and brings a strong, capable, and beautiful presence to the character.
Over the first two seasons, Team Flash has encountered many allies, and the first 45 pages highlight their origins from conception art to casting. As most have comic book counterparts, it was interesting to see how certain details were included and sometimes changed to bring these characters from the page to the screen.
We wouldn’t need so many heroes if there weren’t so many villains. In just two seasons we’ve met an impressive array of criminal meta-humans (and animals!) from not just one, but two Earths. Stunning visual effects are employed to bring to life an 8-foot psychic gorilla as well as make you believe Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) really did just encase The Flash in a sheet of ice. Extreme care is taken to devise the many ways Barry and his team will science their way into a victory against the bad guys.
Two of the series most compelling and dangerous enemies to date have been Reverse Flash and Zoom, both speedsters and both evil as hell. There’s fascinating insight into how each was styled in a way that fit their character’s personalities, abilities, and even their flaws.
Building a world of superheroes and villains is no small feat. This book lays out the sketches and design decisions behind some of the sets we’ve come to be as familiar with as our own living rooms. S.T.A.R. Labs, with its many departments, pipeline, labs, and secret rooms, is the most impressive. However, it was heartwarming to see how much love and care went into creating the West family home.
There are several pages dedicated to the differences between Earth-1 and Earth-2, including how the War of the America’s affected E2’s architecture, industries, and overall aesthetics.
Weapons, Gadgets, & Vehicles
This cool section was so detailed, I think I can build my own cold gun. See the inspirations behind the Anti-Grodd headgear, Earth-2’s gadgets and guns, Heat Wave’s (Dominic Purcell) googles, and more
I want my own Flash ring.
With more than 150 glossy pages of behind-the-scenes tidbits,”The Art and Making of The Flash” is a must-have for all fans of the The CW’s series. You’ll come away with a new appreciation for the work that goes into the show. I know I did.
The Flash airs on Tuesday nights at 8pm ET. And the art book is available now by clicking the title above.
The Art and Making of The Flash