It’s been a while since fans of The Flash have had the opportunity to see Barry Allen push himself and his powers. That wait is over with March 6 episode and the introduction of Flashtime. Flashtime isn't from The Flash comics, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t inspired by them. While it is a new power for Barry, he already showcased the ability once before during this season.
The official synopsis for Episode 15, appropriately titled, “Enter Flashtime” offers a bit of context about the circumstances of the episode. According to The CW, Flash will be getting help from other speedsters: Jesse Quick (Violett Beane) and Jay Garrick (John Wesley Shipp) when a nuclear device detonates in Central City. Using their powers, they move at mind-bending speeds, entering Flashtime. That means that they move so fast that the rest of the world appears to be still, to try to figure out some way to save the city and themselves. In a trailer for the upcoming episode, Barry is also shown to be getting help from his regular teammates, as well.
While entering Flashtime is something only speedsters can do, they can bring in other people to converse and interact with. However, as Shipp explained in an interview with Comicbook.com, Flashtime is something wholly different than the Speed Force. While the Speed Force is a separate world, anything the speedsters do in Flashtime has a real, tangible effect on the world they’re currently in.
“Everything is heightened. It is the same idea going into the Speed Force, but this there's a heightened sense of what's gotta happen in a split second,” he said. “The idea that we all enter Flashtime, which almost but not quite freezes real time, and that if we ever stop, it's game over … speedsters can't run forever ... so how long can we keep going?”
According to an article from Comicbook.com, Flashtime doesn’t really exist in the comics, at least as a named phenomenon. Of course, super-speed is one of the most iconic superpowers for all kinds of different superheroes. The idea of speedsters moving so fast the world remains still isn’t exactly new. As a writer with Fansided notes, back in the '80s, the Wally West version of The Flash would frequently be shown in the comics moving in this way. After all, it’s hard to show someone speeding in still pictures besides showing others frozen in time or in streaks of color — that is how Flash got his name, after all.
This use of super-speed isn’t just used in comics and TV, it has also been featured in movies, too. The Flash featured in Justice League seemed to enter a state of Flashtime to help Wonder Woman grab her dropped sword while fighting against Steppenwolf. In the Marvel comic universe, a similar technique was used to show Quicksilver in the kitchen scene of X-Men: Days Of Future Past.
In an interview with TV Guide, Beene revealed what it was like making the episode. “It was really cool shooting because we had a ton of background, a ton of stunt people, and all the other main actors there, and everyone was just frozen, And we got to like walk around them which was cool.” she said. “[Jesse] and Barry go into Flashtime and try basically for the whole episode to figure out what to do.” In a separate interview with TV Line, she revealed that while the episode may be normal length, the episode only takes place over 10 seconds of real time.
Interestingly, this isn’t even the first instance of Flashtime this season. Barry’s new power seemingly popped up during “The Trial of the Flash,” wherein Barry was able to effectively freeze time to be able to speak to Iris to keep her from revealing his superheroic identity. Now appearing as a central theme of another episode, it hints at Flashtime playing a major role with something down the line. Maybe, it’s through the use of Flashtime that Barry can stop the Thinker.