The future of the Elongated Man has been up in the air ever since actor Hartley Sawyer was fired from CW’s The Flash over past racist and misogynist tweets. Showrunner Eric Wallace revealed that the character will be recast in season seven for a brief but necessary appearance. However, the door is open for some version of Ralph Dibny to return in the future.
“There are a couple of ways that we can have Elongated Man still appear in at least one episode this season to wrap that storyline up, that gets us what we need and still allows fans to say goodbye to the character, at least for the indefinite future,” Wallace said.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Wallace confirmed that Ralph Dibny will appear in at least one episode of season seven but he’ll be played by a different actor (it’s unclear whether the show is hiring someone new or using an existing The Flash cast member). Sawyer was fired from the show in June after a series of tweets with racist and misogynist references were uncovered; the actor later deleted his Twitter account and issued an apology on Instagram. Wallace said the character is only showing up so he can help wrap up the season six cliffhanger where Sue Dearbon (Natalie Dreyfuss) was framed for Joseph Carver’s murder.
“It’s funny, I guess technically it would be a recasting, but the character won’t be a big part of season seven. He’ll only be a part of just wrapping up the Sue storyline,” Wallace said. “Yes, one could say it is a recasting, but we’re going to do it in a way that I think honours the spirit of the character and provides not only a satisfying conclusion to Sue’s murder mystery, but also it’s done with some humour.”
The reason the character can be recast is because the Elongated Man has the ability to shift his face and body to look like someone else thanks to his elasticity. We haven’t seen this used on the show very much, apart from when Ralph disguised himself as Clifford DeVoe to testify on Barry’s behalf. He’s unable to hold the other person’s form for long before shifting back into his own, and it’s believed to cause him some discomfort. It’s unclear how the show is going to explain this away in season seven, given how we won’t actually see him turn back into his “normal” self. But I’m sure they’ll figure it out.
Of course, that also leaves the question of Sue Dearbon’s future. She marries Ralph in the comics, so it seems there was a path laid out for the two of them. That part might be over for the time being, but Wallace said Dreyfuss isn’t going anywhere. She won’t be a huge part of season seven, but they’re modifying her part to still include her in the season. However, Wallace made sure to point out that it’s not curtains for the Elongated Man. The character could always return in the future, even if the actor is gone for good.
“The beauty of comic book stories and superhero stories are the conventions that heroes come and go, but they never fade away and they never disappear entirely. So we’re going to treat it like we would if we were writing a comic book graphic novel. We’re giving the Elongated Man a bit of a rest for while. But we will leave the door open,” Wallace said.
The Flash is set to return with season seven in January 2021.