DC Musings: The Savitar Paradox

First, why would any iteration of Barry want to kill Iris and become what he beheld? Second, how does Barry resolve the situation?

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg discussed revealing Savitar’s identity in “I Know Who You Are.”

“…What’s really cool for anyone who thought that there wasn’t a plan, or we didn’t know, or we were making this up as we go, this was always where we were heading,” Kreisberg says. “The idea that the darkest villain we could come up with was actually a very damaged version of our hero was interesting and fresh to us. We’re not only competing with all the stuff that we’ve done on Flash, but we’re always competing with everything we’ve done on all the other shows. So to have our lead actor be both the hero and the villain isn’t something we’ve done before, so that was exciting for us as storytellers…”

This development may have been where they were heading all along, but fans still have questions. First, why would any iteration of Barry want to kill Iris and become what he beheld? Second, how does Barry resolve the situation?

The answer to the first question could come from “The Once And Future Flash.” Future Barry provided his past self with a detail that our Barry and some viewers may not have caught.

“You want answers, Barry? How’s this? You will go back. You will do everything that you can think of to save her. You’re even gonna create time remnants of yourself, but he’s gonna kill them all, mostly. And then on the night of May 23rd, Iris West will die in your arms.”

Imagine one of Barry’s time remnants escaping Savitar’s cull. Barry created that remnant at his most desperate when Iris’ death was imminent. That remnant would conceivably be trapped psychologically within that desperation. Once Savitar killed Iris, that remnant would be forced to confront the fact that the moment he was created for ticked by and the woman he was created to save died anyway. That futility combined with the grief that the remnant felt as strongly as Barry might have driven the remnant mad enough to become the monster he escaped. After all, as Savitar, he could always be with Iris in the moment he killed her. Savatar birthed his own causal loop.

I’ve addressed the first question: What motivated Savitar? Now, I’ll move on to the second: What can Barry do about Savitar? After all, the initial Speed Force trap will fail, because we and Savitar know it did. He’s not trapped until four years after he killed Iris. Second, we know the speed force trap will fail at the meta level because of plot. The death tableau must be depicted on the screen, because it’s the finale.

Our Barry will find himself looking upon his worst nightmare. He also knows that he doesn’t have the speed to save Iris. I believe he will then do what Eddie Thawne did to break Eobard’s loop. Barry Allen will kill himself, erasing Savitar from the timeline. This will cement the thematic and emotional ties between two men who loved Iris West. It will also allow Barry to atone for Flashpoint, force Wally to replace Barry, as he does in canon, and provide a new temporal paradox to drive Season 4. Also, because the CW won’t be brave enough to permanently part with their leading man. Wally’s story line will involve retrieving Barry (and Jay, while he’s at it) from the Speed Force.

Is this scenario dark? Yes, but it’s also internally logical. If I’m correct, I just hope that next season’s story lines justify the angst.


Raissa Devereux became a life-long genre fan at the age of four when she first saw The Wizard of Oz at a screening at Arizona State University. Years later, she graduated from A.S.U. as an English major, History minor, Whovian, and Trekkie. Now a Florida transplant, she loves the opportunity Sci-Fi Pulse has given her to further explore space travel, time travel, masked heroes, gothic castles, and good yarns.
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