EXCLUSIVE: There has been a change in the CW‘s plans for The Flash. Originally, the character, played by Grant Gustin, was supposed to appear in three episodes of Arrow this season — No. 8, No. 9 and No. 20, the last one serving as a backdoor pilot directed by David Nutter. Episodes 8 and 9, in which the superhero is introduced only as his alter ego Barry Allen, have already been shot. But now the CW has opted to film a traditional stand-alone Flash pilot instead of doing a backdoor pilot as Arrow‘s Episode 20. With Episodes 8 and 9 serving as an origin story, the plan was for The Flash character to make his debut — red costume and all — in Arrow‘s Episode 20. He will now do it in the pilot. The creative team remains the same, with Arrow co-creators Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg and series scribe Geoff Johns writing the pilot and Nutter, who helmed the pilot for Arrow, directing. Berlanti, Kreisberg and Nutter executive produce, with Melissa Kellner Berman co-executive producing.
The decision was made after CW brass saw cuts of Episodes 8 and 9, which have been very well received. Filming a stand-alone Flash pilot would allow the creators to better flesh out the superhero’s story and his world on a bigger budget, as pilot budgets are significantly higher than episodic ones. While no longer a full-blown spinoff, The Flash still will be tethered to the Arrow universe since the the character (as Barry Allen) will first be introduced there. In light of the pilot order, it is unclear whether Episode 20 of Arrow will feature the Flash or any reference to him. The Arrow producers are expected to discuss their ideas for the episode with the CW this coming week. On Arrow, Barry Allen (Gustin) is a Central City assistant police forensics investigator who arrives in Starling to look into a series of unexplained robberies that may have a connection to a tragedy in his past. A comic book fanboy, Barry is obsessed with the Arrow unaware that working with Oliver and Felicity to solve the crime has brought him right into the dangerous world of the vigilante.