Simply put, no, this isn’t “another Arrow killed Black Canary”. Not only is this scenario different because it was fairly natural and remains a tease a the moment (as opposed to Laurel’s untimely and completely unnatural death), but The Flash has always been keen on honoring (not disrespecting *cough* Arrow *cough*) source material…oh and SPOILER (highlight to see): Candice Patton has been seen on set, in her regular capacity, shooting scenes since this scene was shot.
Tonight’s midseason finale of The Flash saw the [potential] future ‘death’ of Iris West, and while that might seem like a bad thing (it isn’t as long as ‘Snowbarry’ doesn’t become a focus of the show), the truth of the matter it isn’t a bad thing…if source material is adhered to.
In the comics, upon her death, Iris’s biological parents (who are revealed to have been from the future) used experimental time-travel technology to draw her life-force back to the 2900s. They gave her a new body to look like her original one and reunited her with Barry – who had just won the trial he had been put on for killing the Reverse Flash. The death and subsequent return of Iris West were ever so kindly condensed in the final pages of The Flash: Convergence below:
In bulleted format, the following occurred:
- After getting engaged to Barry, Iris is killed by Eobard Thawne
- Barry grieves
- Barry falls in love again
- Barry’s new finance – Fionna Webb – is almost killed by Thawne, but Barry breaks Thawne’s neck before he can kill Barry’s new love
- Barry is put on trial for the murder
- Barry gets plastic surgery so his identity can’t be revealed during the trial
- While Barry is on trial – during ‘The Trial of Barry Allen” – it is revealed that Iris is actually from the future and her parents (still living in the future) create a new body for her now bodiless conscious
- Iris’ new body and conscious become a new Iris West
- Barry travels to the future and the two are happy together
- Barry and Iris have two kids, Don and Dawn Allen; Don has a son named Bart (Bart becomes Kid Flash)
- Barry ventures back to the present and perishes during Crisis on Infinite Earths
While I’m certainly not suggesting the entirety of the longwinded story arch is adapted for The Flash the death and return of Iris West does spur the creation of characters very important to The Flash’s mythos, namely, Bart Allen. Furthermore if the show opted to reveal Iris was from the future it would signal for extremely interesting developments for her character, and would also prompt the first time travel sequence in which Barry traveled to the future via the Speed Force as opposed to the past.
Again, the above is mere speculation based off of source material, some evidence given by the show does signal that the CW may be gearing up to roughly adapt the aforementioned story arch. During this years annual Flash, Supergirl, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow crossover, it was revealed that Iris West-Allen is no longer the writer of the 2024 paper and taking a closer look at the paper’s text proves that the name was the only change made to the document (not even Starling City’s name was corrected to Star City). It’s entirely possible that Iris no longer writes the article because – as she mentioned a few episodes prior to the midseason finale – she feels useless and is looking for a career change, but it’s equally as possible that – given the fact that she’s in the future – it’s impossible for her to have written the article at that point in time anyway.
Speaking to what I would personally suggest – assuming The Flash choses to keep Iris dead for a few episodes – the following events would be integral parts of the show in this and subsequent seasons.
- Iris is killed by Savitar and it’s revealed that she’s either returned in or originally hails from the future – This choice prompts immense character development for Iris, who has had steady character development since Season 1, but such a revelation would prompt immediate interest in her character.
- Barry ends the season by killing Savitar – This prompts a story-arch that lasts only the first few episodes of Season 4 or the last of Season 3; Barry – rather than having plastic surgery – uses H.R.’s face-swapping technology to fool the public of his identity.
- Barry travels to the future over the Season 3 to Season 4 break (or at another point), he then comes back with Iris after the break; years have passed for them, while barely any time has lasted in the present – This grants a ton of off screen history and mystery to both Barry and Iris’ characters.
- Mid-season 4/early Season 5, Bar Allen is introduced.
In reality, it’s all so so simple. This choice opens up an incredible amount of source material related choices for The Flash to make.