Are the 'Flash' TV Universes Connected?

Something fishy is happening over at The CW, and for once I’m not talking about Harrison Wells’ lairs within lairs within lairs. At this point in the first season, the cast of The Flash includes three actors from the 1990s Flash series — and two are reprising their roles. First, we have John Wesley Shipp as Barry Allen’s Dad. He played Barry Allen, also known as The Flash, in the original CBS series. Next, in the midseason finale, Amanda Pays appeared as Dr. Tina McGee. She played that role in the '90s and was sort of the Cisco Ramon and Caitlin Snow of the series, meaning she helped Barry understand and affect his abilities using the Scientific Method. Now, Mark Hamill will reprise his role as The Trickster in 2015 when The Flash returns from the break. What a year for Mark Hamill, am I right? Between that and the new Star Wars, he’s just reprising all of the roles. Anyway, now that we’ve reached three crossover actors between the two Flash series, my eyebrows are raised.

Three is a magical number. Three is no longer a coincidence. Three is the beginning of a theory. Is the CW series taking place in the same universe as the '90s series? It’s possible that the producers simply cast these actors to appeal to older fans. There was an Iris West in the original series, which could bring this whole Jenga stack crumbling down. However, with a show that has so much fun with the space time continuum to begin with, I can’t see why they wouldn’t have a little fun with these amazing storytelling resources.

Time Travel

We already know that time travel is involved in this series. Harrison Wells and his operating system Gideon have basically confirmed that. Anyone else hoping that the two of them are romantically entwined, a la the movie Her? No? Still, the time travel seems like an optimum way to explain how these characters and universes are connected. Tina McGee and The Trickster may have lead linear lives, but Barry Allen almost certainly has not.

The Harrison Wells of It All

We have yet to meet the Trickster on the show, so we don’t quite have a sense of who he does and does not know. However, Tina McGee does know Harrison Wells. What’s that about? Could Harrison Wells be the link between the two series? Help me, Tom Cavanagh, you’re my only hope! Help me make sense of this casting weirdness.

Oedipal Complex

The elephant in the room, of course, is that Henry Allen is Barry’s father. So it would be super gross for them to be the same person. How do I make logistical sense of this theory without having to gauge my eyes out? See what I did there, AP English students and/or fans of Greek drama? So, let’s assume for the moment that Grant Gustin and John Wesley Shipp are not playing the same character. However, John Wesley Shipp’s character could be the original Barry Allen, and gave his son the same name. He could be the Barry Allen who disappeared in 2024, and he went back in time to try and start over in 2014. That’s still weird though, to marry a woman with his mother’s name and change his name to his father’s name.

Or, Shipp could be playing Henry Allen, and resembles the Barry of the 1990s because Barry went back in time, removed his parents from the past before he was murdered, and placed them in the 1990s. Grant Gustin was born in 1990, after all. Then, they had another son named Barry, and suffered the same fate because of The Butterfly Effect, or Final Destination or something.

Images: Cate Cameron/The CW; theflashgifs, starlingcitygifs/Tumblr