One of the most popular aspects of The CW's new show The Flash has been Harrison Wells, as played so mysteriously by Tom Cavanagh. The questions about his character have spurned countless theories from fans about his real identity. There has been a lot of contradictory hints at what Wells really wants, and every time we get more information another question arises. Why is he pretending to be in a wheelchair? Is he inspired by the comics or is he truly a new character completely? What does he want with Barry Allen? Is he a good guy with vicious methods or a bad guy with only the veneer of respectability? But there is one question that I keep hearing above all others. Is Harrison Wells a DC Comics character? There has been a variety of theories about that answer, including that he's Reverse Flash who has been hinted at during the show and appeared in behind-the-scenes photos. Another popular theory posits that Wells is Barry Allen from the future. After watching recent episodes, I came up with the possibility that Wells is Vandal Savage.
Vandal Savage is an immortal who has battled with nearly every major hero in DC Comics, including The Flash. Originally born in prehistoric times, he encountered a meteorite with radiation that granted him genius-level intellect and immortality. Since then, he has assumed a multitude of identities. Though his origin is just as bonkers as it sounds, in various animated series the writers were able to play around with Savage to suit their needs while keeping him as a devastating foe. Time travel and alternate universes factor into his narrative consistently. He finds ways to contact himself in previous and future timelines to further his goals and prevent his own demise. With the veneer of a gentleman, charisma, and intelligence, it is easy to see why people fall under his sway before his brutality becomes fully evident.
I'm not the first to think that Wells is Vandal Savage and Comicbook.com has pointed out clues pointing to this identity. But many people think that theory is a bit too out there. While Wells may not look like Savage, that doesn't discourage me. We've already seen Arrow and The Flash play loosely with established origins. The writers behind The Flash could easily have Savage being born in a different time and change slight details about his past while keeping the ethos of the character in tact. Savage has never solely been a villain to The Flash, but a threat to every member of the Justice League at some point or another. He's pragmatic, charismatic, highly intelligent, and prone to trying on different identities. Sound like anyone?
During a recent episode of The Flash when Arrow 's Felicity brought her nerdy adorableness to Central City, I noticed a weird verbal tic from Wells' I hadn't before. He kept saying very ominous things in past tense. The most glaring example was when he met Felicity for the first time and said he "foresaw" great things from her. It was another example of Wells saying something that comes across like he knows exactly what's going to happen. The same thing happened when he killed Simon Stagg. Wells also said, when the particle accelerator was turned on, that he had been "waiting centuries" for that very moment. Coupled with his keen intelligence, knowledge of future events, and hidden manipulations, it isn't far fetched to take what he said literally.
Fans are all hung up on the newspaper reveal from the end of the first Flash episode. The newspaper dated 2024 makes a lot of people think that Wells traveled from the future and decided to take it with him, which would be an odd thing to pack if you're traveling through time. But maybe that's just me. It would make more sense that the newspaper would be a tool of information. Savage is known for finding ways to contact himself in the past and future, and this newspaper looks like another form of communication.
But if Wells is Savage, will The Flash portray him as a tyrant seeking world domination? Considering the tone of the show, I think they're aiming for a long con and would likely hold off on revealing that. No matter what Wells' true motives and identity turn out to be, the mystery surrounding him has proven to be one of the most fascinating aspects of The Flash. Let's just hope the reveal lives up to the mystery.
Images: Jack Rowland/The CW;