Exclusive: The Flash's Keiynan Lonsdale on bringing Wally West to life, super-sibling rivalry

Contributed by
Dec 7, 2015, 12:06 PM EST

The world of The Flash is getting a whole lot bigger this week, as Keiynan Lonsdale prepares to bring Wally West — aka Kid Flash — to life on The CW series. So, what can we expect from his arrival in Central City?

We chatted with Lonsdale about what it’s been like translating the character to the small screen, and he teased Wally’s arrival will definitely shake things up for Team Flash. As for how he’ll get along with Barry? Lonsdale promised some major “sibling rivalry” as another son starts vying for Joe’s attention. This could be interesting.

Wally West was originally introduced to DC Comics lore way back in 1959, and eventually served as the full-fledged Flash for decades in the comics. His TV origin is a bit different (instead of being Iris’ cousin, he’s now her long-lost brother), but Lonsdale has signed on a series regular — so his version of Wally will definitely be sticking around for a while.

Here’s what Lonsdale had to say about his new superhero gig…

Were you a comic or superhero fan growing up? When you landed the gig as Wally West, how’d you prepare for the role, since we’re talking about a character with decades of comic history to draw from?

I wasn’t that into comics growing up, to be honest, but I always liked watching the films and knew the characters. I guess I was only really educated on The Flash when I started watching The CW show. From then, and obviously auditioning, I started buying the comics. DC just sent me a bunch of the old classics to learn a bit more about Wally West. I feel like I’ve been getting a good fix, now.

You’re getting ready to make your on-screen debut, but what has it been like walking into a show like The Flash, with such a fervent, engaged fan base?

It’s crazy, and really cool. Obviously, in the project I did before, the Divergent films, that was a similar type of thing, being based on the books and with the fanbase there. But with The Flash, a comic book world is a whole different thing I’m learning about. The people are super dedicated and enthusiastic about this character and these stories. One of the coolest parts is, these people are so creative, and getting to see their interpretations of Wally West even before I’ve come on. A lot of people have been really supportive.

What can we expect from Wally’s debut this Tuesday? We know he’s Iris’ secret brother, but what can you tease about how that introduction goes with him showing up in Central City?

You’re going to see Wally there for the first time, and it’s going to shake things up. He’s going to step into the world that is The Flash, and the West family, trying to figure out how he’s going to deal with Joe and Iris, and Barry as well — and how they feel about him. There’s a lot of that going forward. We’ll see how much you get to see in the next episode [laughs], but I can say it’s a nice introduction.


Who is Wally, and how does his presence change the dynamic of Team Flash in the back half of Season 2 moving forward?

He’s just a regular kid at this point, and he doesn’t become Kid Flash or anything just yet. But, he’s into drag racing. That’s his ‘thing,’ or his ‘job’ as you might say, at the moment. That’s his passion. Plus, it leads in with the speed and all that [laughs].

That’s the kind of cool thing, introducing him as a regular kid, because you get to see how someone goes from a regular guy and developing into that and into their future. Everyone is very excited about it. It’s going to take some getting used to for him, to get used to all these people and being introduced to this new world, and the fact that there’s metahumans everywhere, and finding out Barry is The Flash.

Wally’s arrival is almost certainly going to shake things up for Iris and Joe, so what can you tell us about how his introduction affects the West family?

He’s Joe’s son and Iris’ brother, so that’s a big thing to drop onto any family, and their dynamic is already interesting, because Barry is already a son to Joe. So, bringing another son in, who he hasn’t seen grow up at all, but is his blood, that’s a huge deal and confusing, and a big challenge for everyone. It’s very emotional, and there’s a lot of heavy stuff going forward. For me, I love working with both Jesse and Candice as my family, and especially just feel connected to them both. It makes the scenes a lot stronger to me, and has more of an impact.”

What’s the dynamic between Wally and Barry? The West family connection is what brings him into the fold, but his relationship with Barry informs so much of the character historically.

I will say, it’s not an easy relationship. You might see some sibling rivalry develop, because he’s stepping into a family he doesn’t know, and he has a father and sister he doesn’t know. But they have someone else, where Wally feels he should be, in Barry’s position, because Barry is already in their family and has their love.

Knowing that, in the comics, Wally eventually gets to suit up himself and take up the mantle of The Flash — where would you like to see the character go, long-term?

Personally I’d love to be him working side by side with Barry Allen, with The Flash. To me, that’d be the most exciting kind of thing, to see that. There’s so much to love about Wally West and Barry Allen, and it would be cool to have a partner in crime, or really the opposite, to defeat crime [laughs]. That’s what I want, to see what kind of craziness they can get into together.

Describe the back half of Season 2 in six words: 

Intense, scary, hilarious, Zoom, family, and speed.