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Flash producer on how Elongated Man is the 'Faith' to Barry's 'Buffy'

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Nov 2, 2017

This week’s episode of The Flash introduced a cool new character in the shape and form of Ralph Dibny, aka Elongated Man (Hartley Sawyer), but it also made a few changes from page to screen.

The inclusion of the stretchy superhero created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino for The Flash #112 in May 1960 on the CW superhero series has been in the pipeline for a very long time, but the powers-that-be wanted to wait for the perfect moment to introduce the DC Comics character.

That’s what co-showrunner Andrew Kreisberg revealed in a recent interview with TV Line. “Every once in a while, somebody would bring it up as sort of an episodic thing, and we thought that he was sort of too big a deal,” Kreisberg said. With Season 4 finally moving away from speedster villains, it was the perfect time for them to bring in a (future) member of the Justice League and an amazing detective to boot. 

“We really wanted to bring somebody in and have it feel like something new and something different and something you hadn’t seen a lot of on television. And not just his skill set, but also that character. Shows that have seven years or eight years or nine years, they always have that new character come in around Season 3 or 4 or 5 that helps take you through their way. Obviously they’re not similar characters, but I’m thinking about like Faith on Buffy. That was sort of our hope for Ralph.”

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While Elongated Man is typically a stand-up guy in the comics, the showrunners were looking to shake things up a bit by giving him a new origin story as a former CCPD detective (and a new metahuman) who worked alongside Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) and Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) five years ago.

Dibny lost his job after Barry exposed him as having tempered with evidence during a murder investigation, so when these two reunite, let’s just say they're less than superfriends. But why the changes to the DC character? 

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“You don’t want to add something that you already have. Ralph in the comics is very squeaky-clean … and a good guy. The one thing we didn’t have on this show — because everybody is so likable — is a jerk," he said. "Harry has become a jerk in a different way, but we didn’t have somebody who was just sort of a louse and crude and liked to drink, somebody who would also come in and sort of point out how silly it is that everyone’s in a superhero show. … We thought it would be interesting [to ask], ‘What if you had a little bit of a murkier backstory, and by the time we got to season whatever, he’s the Ralph Dibny that everybody knows and loves from the comics?'”

What do you think of the Arrowverse version of Elongated Man; was it a hit or a miss for you? And after you chime in with your thoughts, check out our recap of “Elongated Journey Into Night.”

(via TV Line)