Actor John Wesley Shipp has indicated that his character Jay Garrick will return to The Flash in season 7 — but how is this possible post-Crisis?
Following the statements actor John Wesley Shipp made in September 2020, fans of The Flash are no doubt wondering how Jay Garrick could return in season 7. Shipp is a veteran actor who originally played Barry Allen, aka The Flash, in the short-lived 1990s TV series before appearing on The CW's The Flash. Initially playing Barry Allen's father, Henry Allen, in season 1, Shipp returned to the Arrowverse series after his character's death to play a doppelgänger from an alternate Earth. This doppelgänger was another speedster named Jay Garrick who also went by "The Flash," which is a reference to the Golden Age version of The Flash — Garrick's costume was even designed to look like the original comic version of the character.
In the crossover event Crisis on Infinite Earths, Jay Garrick's fate was never revealed — although he appears to be dead. The event saw the destruction of all the alternate Earths, including Earth-3, where Jay Garrick lived with his wife Joan Williams-Garrick. However, reports have suggested that he did survive and will appear in The Flash at some point in the future.
In an interview with Den of Geek, Shipp confirmed that his character did not die in Crisis on Infinite Earths, and he dropped the bombshell that there are plans for his character to return in The Flash season 7. The seasoned actor was careful not to tip his hand, and thus provided just enough information to get readers excited about the role — without spoiling any The Flash season 7 storylines.
How Jay Garrick Could Return In Flash Season 7
The easiest way for Shipp to reprise his role as Garrick would be some sort of time travel or flashback sequence. So far, the Arrowverse has been unclear about how time travel would work in The Flash post-Crisis. Presumably, Barry Allen travelling back in time would result in him visiting an earlier period he doesn't actually remember: the new combined timeline created by Oliver Queen acting as The Spectre at the end of Crisis. Given how Earth-3 was wiped from existence, and no character has discussed the new history having a second, earlier Jay-Garrick version of The Flash, this makes it unlikely that Garrick will appear in a time travel narrative. A flashback is more likely, but there are problems with this theory as well: for starters, it doesn't make sense from a narrative perspective since the two characters' interactions were rare and are assumed to all have happened onscreen, which would render bringing Shipp back to film a new sequence unnecessary. More importantly though, Shipp indicates in the interview that Jay Garrick is on Earth-Prime now, even though that hasn't been explained in the show yet. If season 7 does bring back Garrick, it will have to explain how he and his wife Joan ended up on this Earth.
One possibility is that Garrick won't be Garrick, but the form the Speed Force chooses to take in order to communicate with Barry. The Speed Force was essentially "killed" as a result of the events that occurred during Crisis on Infinite Earths, and will have to be revived or replaced in order for Barry the continue using his speed powers. Again, this wouldn't explain how Garrick and his wife are on Earth-Prime now, as indicated by Shipp. It could be that Garrick's speed-powers may be revived at the same time as the Speed Force, perhaps unlocking his memories pre-Crisis: the Arrowverse hasn't been clear on the ramifications for the Speed Force dying, apart from Barry losing his speed, nor has it been clear about how doppelgängers work post-Crisis. It's possible that the corruption that slowly killed the Speed Force also caused Jay Garrick to lose his powers, along with his memories. Whatever direction the writers will take, The Flash season 7 will have to find a way to explain how Garrick ended up on Earth-Prime, and why he hasn't been mentioned yet.