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The Flash’s Robbie Amell on his ‘messed-up’ return as a terrifying big bad in Season 8

Ronnie is back, but it's a way scarier version than the one we remember.

By Trent Moore
Robbie Amell as Ronnie in The Flash.

We’ve known for a while that early era Flash co-star Robbie Amell would be making a return to the Arrowverse this season, and now we finally know how it happens.

Amell finally made his first proper appearance in the new season in this week’s episode of the long-running CW series, though he’s not exactly the version of Ronnie Raymond fans had been expecting. Ronnie originally died in the Season 2 premiere, sacrificing himself to save the world, though he’s popped up with mentions, flashbacks and alt-universe versions in the seasons since.

Team Flash had been investigating a mysterious black fire during Season 8, trying to piece together its motivations and why it seemed to be feeding on grief. It appeared to Caitlin, Ronnie’s former fiancé, claiming to be Ronnie and asking for help — so Caitlin of course springs into action to try and save her former love. But it turns out that wasn’t the Ronnie she remembered. Instead of Firestorm (Ronnie’s old super-powered alter ego), this is Deathstorm, a seemingly evil version of him born from the energy created by Ronnie’s sacrifice.

“I think it’s pretty messed up that [Caitlin] finally gets her husband back after so many seasons, and he’s not the version that she’s hoping for. It’s really fun for me, because it’s always a bit more fun to get to be the bad guy — and to put Team Flash through a bit of a wringer. But it’s definitely a bummer for Caitlin,” Amell told TV Line about his return.

Though he’s excited to dip his toe into playing a bad guy, Amell said he absolutely would’ve returned to the show regardless of how the arc played out. It was simply all a matter of timing (Amell also stars in Amazon’s sci-fi comedy Upload). He also revealed the pitch to him made it seem like Season 8 would likely be the show’s last, though The CW has since picked up Flash for a shortened ninth season (though it sounds like Season 9 could be the end of the road).

“Would I have come back [as nice Ronnie]? Yes, of course,” he said. “[I]t was really cool to come back and have a bit of gravity to my character. But I would have popped in if it was the lighthearted version as well, with just the flashbacks.”

As keen eyed fans likely recalled, we met a version of Deathstorm in a previous alt-universe crossover event, though that version was effectively just a “evil” Firestorm going by the name of Deathstorm. That Earth-2 version was evil, but the Deathstorm we have now is a full-on, black-flaming skull version more akin to the 2010 comic book version of the character — or thinking live action — something more with the horror vibes of Marvel’s Ghost Rider.

The Flash airs Wednesdays on The CW.