Now that the dust has officially settled and we’re all (well most of us) past the initial shock of a future version of Barry being the big bad for Season 3, it’s time to get down to the question that we all have on our minds; Why?? What could have changed so drastically that would cause Barry to become evil and kill the love of his life? Well, time travel can be a very tricky thing as evidenced by any and every TV Show/Book/Comic/Movie/Video Game ever made concerning the subject. Change even the slightest thing and the consequences could be catastrophic. The temptation to change your past to change your future is (usually) more than our protagonists/antagonists can bare, so there are guidelines in place meant to ward anyone off from doing so. More often than not, these rules get disregarded by our Heroes/Heroines and their Villains/Villainesses. For instance, when time travelling, one should NEVER come into contact with a future or past version of themself for fear of causing time to rip itself apart, blow up, or any other nasty result (Finale of Season 2 of Legends Of Tomorrow anyone??).
Let’s quickly take a look at how everything was changed in the wake of Flashpoint (which has some glaring differences from the ‘Flashpoint Paradox’ of the comics). Barry wasn’t The Flash this time around, being replaced by Wally, who was working with Iris to protect Central City as Kid Flash. Cisco, Caitlyn, and Joe are living very different lives, and of course Barry has kept Eobard trapped since the night he changed everything. Eobard warns Flash that he is unaware of the repercussions of his meddling with the past, even going so far as to calling him the villain. After fixing the events of Flashpoint and dropping Barry in front of the West Household, Eobard tells Barry something very cryptic: “Things are back to how they should be, for me anyway. For you, well I guess you’ll just have to wait and find out”. Right after, Barry begins to discover the long line of immediate changes to his world Post-Flashpoint. Honestly, at first the changes weren’t drastic enough for me. I had hoped that there would be more widespread differences that would affect not only Team Flash, but the rest of the Flash/Arrow/Legends shared universe. At that time, there was just one major change among the few that were made: John Diggle’s child being changed from Sarah, to John Jr. But what if Flashpoint had a much deeper, more profound impact that we haven’t seen yet?
I know that you aren’t reading this for a crash course in timey wimey do’s and don’ts, nor for a recap of our current season of Flash so I’ll get to the point. What if Barry becoming Savitar is just another ripple effect from Flashpoint? Sounds crazy right? Absolutely, but it is highly plausible due to the information that we’ve been given over the season. In the Time Vault located in Star Labs, the newspaper headline changes to reflect Iris’ death but the “Red Sky” event still takes place. Now this is where my theory comes into play. During the events of the season 1 finale there are two Flashes present, our Barry/Flash and for the sake of distinction we’ll call him “OG” Barry/Flash (originally seen with the white emblem). After his mother is murdered, OG Barry puts his hand out to stop our Barry from getting involved. As we know, that night is when Thawne gets trapped in the past and then begins to plot his way back to his own timeline. But what happens to OG Barry? He must have been effected in some way himself, right? There’s no guarantee that he got back to his timeline. What if on his way back (already travelling through the speed force) he gets trapped? Being trapped in the speed force would have allowed him to see everything. His Past, Present, and Future changing around him, even going so far as to change him in the process, one difference being that facial scarring which could be from when he burnt into nothing as he got trapped while losing his powers.
Before I bring my thought full circle, let’s first take a look at the glimpse of the furthest future that we’ve seen. In season 1 of Legends of Tomorrow, the team crash lands in Star City in the year 2046. Rip tells the crew that this is a possible future, but not one that is set in stone. In this episode we are introduced to Connor Hawke (later revealed to be John Diggle Jr.) and a future, one-armed Oliver Queen. The future Star City that they have arrived in is in shambles because as Connor had put it, there was no one around to protect it. Although this future would be pre-flashpoint, this still gives us a connection to one of the changes post-flashpoint and it’s still in a similar state as the Central City that we see when Barry goes to meet what people have affectionately named “Emo Barry” in the year 2024.
The headline that we see in the Pilot episode of Season 1 is dated to the year 2024 and reads: “Flash Missing, Vanishes In Crisis” written by Iris Allen-West. In the original timeline (Before Reverse Flash kills Barry’s mother) OG Barry doesn’t become The Flash until 2020, meaning that’s he’s only been The Flash for 4 years before he vanishes. I believe that he is gone because this is when he chases The Reverse Flash back to the night of his mother’s death but never returns. When Barry travels 7 years into the future in ‘The Once and Future Flash’ (Year 2024), we get a glimpse at how bleak Central City had become when Team Flash disbanded, but this is also a vastly different future compared to the one that was foretold in the headline in it’s pre-flashpoint state. Here, the “Red Sky”event never takes place, and The Flash is only “gone” in the sense that he is MIA.
But what about OG Barry? Assuming he was still trapped in the speed force, when he finally breaks free what does he return to? Possibly something so bad that we can’t even imagine. All of these inconsistencies to the world that he had once known, a world that he had fought desperately to get back to for what felt like an eternity. To get back to Iris. And this is all before Flashpoint. Imagine how much more of a drastic change he has to live through after that event. Iris could have died for a completely different reason. What if Eobard (posing as Harrison Wells) is the only reason that Barry knows Cisco and Caitlyn as friends and partners? He’d be returning to a life he’s never lived. Not to mention finding Central City in ruins in his absence.
All of these new memories replacing the memories of his old life. That, plus the death of the love of his life could have driven him to do something crazy. What if, and bare with me here, OG Barry (considering it really is the other flash that we saw that night) puts on the suit to actually Save Iris? What if in an act of extreme desperation to have her back in his life he creates the role of Savitar as a way of giving his past self an enemy to work against, kills her in the past as a way to motivate our Barry to save her in his timeline, which would effectively change OG Barry’s timeline? He did say that he created himself, and that only he can bring out his greatness. What if the greatness that he speaks of is Barry’s ability to use tragedy to overcome the odds? After all, we’ve seen Barry do exactly that after losing his mother and father to Reverse Flash and Zoom.
There are a few plot holes in my theory, a small but significant one being the Philosopher’s Stone. It seems to be connected to Savitar and his powers but they never truly clarified what that connection is yet. Could it be that it’s power is the only way that he could bring his plan to fruition? He told our Barry that he wants everything that has been taken from him, could he be referring to a life with Iris? I feel that this would be a compelling reason. In the past two seasons the villains have mirrored Barry so to speak in different ways. Reverse Flash claimed to be the exact opposite of Barry. Zoom had a life similar to Barry in terms of tragedy, but Hunter Zolomon didn’t have friends and a support system to keep him in tact. For Barry to be his own biggest enemy would shake not only our hero, but the team to the core. Maybe seeing Barry as the man in the suit is what put Wally into a catatonic state.
Once again this is all just a theory that I’ve come up with based off of what I’ve seen in the series thus far, and the only way to find out what really happened is to watch the final 3 episodes of the season. But just think for a second, that Savitar isn’t really a villain, but a hero who is so desperate to have his love back that he would go to such extreme lengths to get her back, or maybe to keep her alive in general. What if this is all just an elaborate way to get Barry to stop messing with the timeline? I mean up to this point, he’s been warned by The Speed Force, Jay Garrick, The Reverse Flash, even Freakin’ Aliens (In the Invasion! Crossover). What if it takes a “twisted”, future version of himself to learn his lesson?
I hope that you guys had a fun ride checking out my thoughts on this huge reveal. Got any theories of your own? Let me know in the comments and we can compare notes.