Hartley Sawyer Interview: ‘The Flash’ Season 5 and Ralph’s Journey

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Since making his debut in The CW’s The Flash season four, Hartley Sawyer’s quickly become a fan favorite. His character, Ralph Dibny/Elongated Man, was so popular with fans that Sawyer’s been elevated to a series regular for the show’s fifth season.

The cast of The Flash are San Diego Comic Con veterans, however the 2018 Con marked Hartley Sawyer’s first time joining Team Flash at the sold-out convention. During our roundtable interviews, he talked about his experiences with fans as well as his hopes for Ralph in season five.

Congratulations on becoming a series regular on the show.

Hartley Sawyer: “Thank you. It always feels good to be regular.”

Since you’ll have more time with Ralph, are there any aspects of him you hope you get to play with more this season?


Hartley Sawyer: “Detective. The detective aspect of the character is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. That’s something that we’re definitely going to get into this year. It’s a big, big aspect of the character and I’m really excited about it.”

Will there be a new version of the Elongated Man suit this season?

Hartley Sawyer: “We actually haven’t talked about that. That’s a really, really interesting idea and it gave me an idea for a change. I love that you just said that. But, we haven’t talked about that – but that’s a really interesting idea.”

Are we going to see more of the Ralph and Barry dynamic that we saw from last season? At first, they almost couldn’t stand each other but then they became like brothers.

Hartley Sawyer: “That’s sort of what they are. I don’t think we’re going to see as much of that, at least in the first part of the season, because he’s going to be up to his eyeballs with Nora – with his daughter. They’re going to be figuring that out.

I think he and Ralph developed each other the way they needed to where they could be more self-sufficient. I would love to do more of that, but everybody can’t always get loads of time on the show. It would be nice, but it’s just not the way it works. So, I think we’ll get some of that but not as much as last year.”

The Flash Season 5 Hartley Sawyer

Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow, Hartley Sawyer as Dibny and Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon in ‘The Flash’ season 5 (Photo: Katie Yu © 2018 The CW Network, LLC)

Since Barry’s going to be so busy, who do you hope Ralph interacts with more on the show?

Hartley Sawyer: “I would love to see…there’s going to be a lot of Ralph and Caitlin, which I really like. I think that’s a really sweet relationship and friendship that they have. There’s going to be a lot of Ralph and Cisco since they’re bachelors now and single.

I would love to see, we haven’t talked about it but I would love to see Ralph and Joe West. I just want to see those guys. There’s a lot there. I mean, Joe’s known Ralph for a really, really long time. He knows who he is and what he’s capable of and everything. He was the first person who ever defended Ralph to anybody anyway in the first episode that Ralph came in.”

And Ralph had a major impact on Joe when he was about to cross that line.

Hartley Sawyer: “Great scene. That was such a pivotal scene for the character. That was something that really kind of drew the line in the sand, I think, for a lot of viewers and for me as an actor. I was like, ‘Cool. This is really going to dig into who this guy really is.’ There’s a lot more there than just the wackiness.

But I would love to see more of that Joe stuff. I thought that was a great, fun scene and I love working with Jesse (L. Martin) because he’s awesome. I’d love to see more of that.”

What’s Ralph’s main focus this season?

Hartley Sawyer: “I think finding his place in the team now that he’s back. Last year was all about, like, ‘Am I a hero? Can I do this? Can I not do this?’ But it’s now about finding his place in the team and really what that means to him and what he can bring to the team.”

Does the new season feel any different given the changes behind the scenes?

Hartley Sawyer: “It just feels like the same thing going to work. It really does. It feels like the same thing as last year – just like a natural progression of things. I know the scripts changed a little bit, the tone’s changed a little bit.

The reason this show works is because of the people working together. Working with Grant (Gustin), working with Carlos (Valdes), working with Tom – all those people. Those relationships are always there. I think that’s why this show worked in the first place. I really do. I mean even going back way, way before my time here. It’s because these people really like each other and they’re all really good people and they get along. I think that came through on camera and on TV screens. I really, really do.

When I would watch it I was like, ‘This is really cool.’ I didn’t expect it to be as cool and as great as it was, and it became phenomenal. It’s because of those relationships. Those will always be there so there is that throughline through each season.”

What’s your experience been like with the passionate fandom?

Hartley Sawyer: “It’s been really fun. People do the conventions, the autograph conventions, and I did my first one this past summer. I was super nervous about it and it was one of the most incredible experiences that I’ve had because what it was just so many people coming up being like, ‘I love this. I love this show.’ Or, ‘I went through this really hard thing in my life and the first time I smiled was watching this show when your face fell off.’

I was like, ‘Wow, what more can you ask for than just letting people forget their worries and just tune out and enjoy yourselves. That’s very special to me and that’s been my experience with the fandom is they love it. Love it. I grew up a comic book fan too, so I love all this stuff as well. It’s exciting to be a part of it.”

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Kevin Finnerty

Kevin Finnerty

Professional film critic since 2003 and a member of the San Diego Film Critics Society. Host of “The Movie Guys” radio film review show from 2007 through 2013. Film and television critic for Showbizjunkies.com and a movie buff since 1973.
Kevin Finnerty
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