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The Flash showrunner on ‘challenge’ of shortened Season 7, crossover-style kickoff for Season 8

By Trent Moore
The Flash season 7 finale

The shortened, seventh season of The Flash wrapped up this week — ending a choppy saga that had to deal with leftover storylines from the prior season, plus truncated arcs for this year due to the pandemic and a smaller episode count.

Now, showrunner Eric Wallace has opened up about how it all went down, and what’s to come when the show returns this fall with Season 8.

Wallace told TV Line the reduced episode order of 18 episodes was likely the biggest challenge the producers faced, especially since the first few episodes had to be used to wrap up the Season 6 storylines left unfinished (those episodes couldn’t be shot on time, as production was abruptly shut down due to the pandemic).

“[W]e had a much larger, more involved story to tell in Season 7 that we had to truncate down, essentially… Suddenly we found ourselves having to do three things instead of two, which required a lot of story juggling. We got through it, but I’d say that was a pretty darn big challenge,” Wallace explained to TV Line. “The other challenge was a mental one, for the cast and for the crew, making a television show in the middle of a global pandemic. I mean, I can’t undersell to folks how difficult it was, and what troupers our cast and crew, our writing staff and everybody have been when the world is going through something so intense. They rose up because they felt the need to entertain folks even more, but it comes with a toll. We were really at the end of our ropes at the end of Season 7 and in need of a break, which fortunately we got.”

Not to get too deep into spoiler territory, but Season 7 wrapped with a fairly happy ending — Iris and Barry renewed their vows, surrounded by their loving family — though there are still plenty of threats and questions waiting in the wings for next season. Ahead of the show’s return this fall, Wallace opened up a bit about what fans can expect. The biggest surprise? He’s bringing back the scope and spirit of those classic crossovers… just don’t call it a crossover.

“The other thing I would say is to look out for as much fun in the [season-opening] five-part special event as we can possibly give the audience without calling it a ‘crossover,’” he said. “Because we want them to get that same feeling as a crossover, even though it’s not a crossover.”

Of course, Season 8 will also address the lingering questions of Iris’ unresolved time sickness, those other Forces still hanging around like Dion, and a new baddie who is bigger than anything Team Flash has faced to date. Which, yeah, that’s a tall order as the show heads into its eighth year.

“As always, we’ll continue our graphic novel and interlude formats, to showcase both new and returning villains. For our new villains, one of them in particular will be the biggest and most powerful villain the Flash has yet faced — and that’s saying something! We’ll meet this unique baddie quite early in Season 8,” he teased. “As for those returning villains, there will definitely be some very familiar faces from the last seven seasons who show up once more, in unexpected ways, to make a united Barry and Iris’s life a living nightmare.”

Season 8 of The Flash is slated to premiere Tuesday, Nov. 16.