Last night’s episode of The Flash, titled “The Once and Future Flash”, ended with a customary tease of who the season’s big bad really is. In the case of season 3, that villain is Savitar, and the climax of “Once of Future Flash” revealed that there indeed a man inside the “Speed God’s” armor – and it may be a man that the members of Team Flash know intimately.
 
Our own Russ Burlingame has already made a pretty compelling argument for Why Savitar is Actually Ronnie Raymond; however, there has been a competing theory amongst fans, that also deserves some discussion and analysis:
 
Is The Flash’s Savitar Actually Future Barry?
 
 
One of the biggest things about Savitar is that he’s been dropping hints all along that this season’s battle with Barry – and the impending prophecy of Iris’ death – are events that he has, in fact, lived before.
 
In “Into the Speed Force” Savitar tells Jesse Quick that he knows everything that will happen, as “I’ve Already Lived It,”; he’s also repeatedly stated that “I’m the future, Flash,” which fans initially took as a statement that Savitar is the inevitable future result of speedsters and The Speed Force. However, it could mean something much more basic and literal: “I’m The Future Flash,” as in: The Flash from the Future.
 
The Flash has been playing with the idea of Barry’s career as a superhero across several epochs, ever since season 1.
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From the Final Crisis teases in Eobard Thawne’s secret room inside S.T.A.R. Labs, to the ramifications of Flashpoint – or the warning that Firestorm team Jefferson Jackson and Martin Stein discovered aboard the Waverider during the “Invasion!” event (that they not even trust Barry himself) – there have been repeated clues that Barry’s various misuses of time travel eventually catch up to him.
 
The version of Barry we meet in “The Once and Future Flash” is also a potential clue: Up until now, there has always been an underlying heroism to Barry Allen; however, the Barry we saw eight years in the future was headed down a dark, and isolated path – one that could conceivably end with him deciding to surrender to the inevitable, and become Savitar. It would explain Killer Frost’s reaction at the end of the episode: seeing an older Barry having himself made the transformation into a villain (his “true” self) would probably be enough to inspire Killer Frost to follow in his footsteps.
 
The larger question in all this is: How would the reveal that Barry is Savitar affect the storyline of The Flash, and its characters?
 
The Positive: On the one hand, having Barry be Savitar, would be a major emotional punch to all the characters on Team Flash – including Barry himself. The thought that Barry himself could murder Iris so violently (perhaps to catalyze his own transformation into Savitar) would drastically affect the character dynamics – even if (when?) Savitar is defeated. It would also set up a larger conflict for the show: Barry having to deal with the fact that he’s not as purely heroic as he once thought – and that he himself is as big a danger to the world as any of the foes he’s faced. The Flash always needs something to brood over – and season 4’s drama could conceivably be Barry dealing with his fear of connecting with anyone, or trusting in his own heroism.
 
The Negative: Having Savitar be a future version of Barry Allen would be utterly predictable – which is a crime The Flash has already committed (with its reveal that Harrison Wells was Reverse-Flash in season 1). Such a reveal would also send the show into an official rut, in which another season-long villain mystery ends in the “reveal” that a close friend is the villain. It would also be repetitive to see Barry lamenting over his choices; it’s basically be the major motif of seasons 1 & 2, and seeing Grant Gustin brood over heroism and/or love again isn’t exactly high on fans’ wish list.
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