‘The Flash’ Season 4: Tom Cavanagh on the Many Versions of Harrison Wells

The Flash star Tom Cavanagh
‘The Flash’ star Tom Cavanagh at Comic Con 2017 (Photo by Richard Chavez © Showbiz Junkies)

The Flash star Tom Cavanagh did an impressive job of talking about Harrison Wells while not giving anything away during our roundtable interview at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con. Cavanagh joined his fellow The Flash cast members – Grant Gustin, Danielle Panabaker, Candice Patton, Jesse L. Martin, Keiynan Lonsdale, and Carlos Valdes – at the pop culture convention to discuss the upcoming fourth season of the comic book-inspired series which is set to premiere on October 10, 2017. During our interview, Cavanagh talked about how much he’s enjoyed the different iterations of Harrison Wells and the challenges of bringing each Harry to life.

Can you talk about the many different versions of Harrison Wells and who he’ll be this season?

Tom Cavanagh: “Yeah, there may be a few versions. I’m going to start with Harry, but one of the strengths of the show has always been to…we created this area of privilege where it’s like we have an explanation and a pathway that allows us to be more than one person. We’ve created a cage and then we can rattle the cage, and the cage is the multiverse. Different Earths – Earth-19 Wells, Earth-2 Wells, Earth-1 Wells, you know, Eobard Thawne. There’s all this. It’s been a joy to be on a show that’s a long-running show but that allows me to play more than one character. It’s a real privilege.

Most of what I hear from people who watch are like, ‘What’s it going to be this year?’ We don’t have a huge interest in repeating ourselves, but it’s nice to start off with a base and then use whatever our story arcs are as the season progresses to manufacture another version of Wells.

What I hear is, ‘We’re missing a daily antagonist,’ which is the reason for Harry in season two. ‘We’re missing some humor,’ that was the reason for H.R. in season three. And, what I always hear from the fans is like, ‘So it’s going to be one of those guys that we saw for a split second – Cowboy Wells, Steampunk Wells, Mime Wells?’ And I’m like, ‘No, you don’t want guys spitting all over the cortex, A). And B), you already did Tom Felton with the British accent, and you don’t want a mime.’ We’ll have to come up with something a little more inventive, a little more creative, a little different. Again, the reason I signed on to the show was the Reverse Flash; that’s always in the back pocket. As we move further along, I think there’s always room to pull the yellow suit out.”

As an actor, it’s a great challenge for you to play.

Tom Cavanagh: “It’s phenomenal. It’s really trouble for the wardrobe department, but for me it’s (great). Yeah, when I’m playing two guys in one scene they’re always like, ‘Who is he? What are you wearing? Which guys is he?’ Literally, they lose their minds. It’s great.”

Do you ever feel like an actor in search of an anthology? He’s like an anthology character.

Tom Cavanagh: “It is. Not to belabor the point, but it does feel like a privilege to be in a show where the producers have created the reason – and a good reason – behind being a number of different people. If you’re fortunate enough to be in a long-running show, oftentimes you’re just playing the same person season after season after season. For me to be able to have a different guy, it’s great.”

So, what’s it like for Wells to have been killed so many times?

Tom Cavanagh: “We always know going in… Like, I always know what it’s going to be. That was the reason for the drumsticks last year for H.R. We wanted some kind of non-verbal tableau that sort of gave us an idea of what we were missing, or the spirit of the guy. And like very early on I was like, ‘I want to use these drumsticks!’ And then when he goes to kill Savitar, we have that moment where the drumsticks will slow-motion fall out – and we ended up doing it. But, I didn’t tell these guys. Grant (Gustin) would always be like, ‘Why do you have drumsticks?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, exactly, why?’”

Since you’re keeping what’s happening with season four Wells so close to the vest, do you know some things that you’re going to spring on them in character once they give you the Wells you’re going to be for the new season? Do you have some ideas already you want to incorporate?

Tom Cavanagh: (Laughing) “Yes.”

Could there ever possibly down the line be a female version of Harrison Wells?

Tom Cavanagh: “I’m not going to say whether we’re not going to do that because I don’t know, but that’s been part of the discussions. There should be in the way that there could be a female Flash, all this. Like I say, when you create the reason behind it, it’s like, ‘Great, we can go anywhere.’ We’ve got a multiverse to choose from. We can go anywhere. I liked the relationship between the younger Jesse Quick, that kind of dynamic, and who knows what powers and what her storyline arc is going to be going forward. This show’s going to run, I heard, for like 27 years. (Laughing) I think there’s a lot of room for a lot of things.”

More on The Flash Season 4:
Grant Gustin Interview
Danielle Panabaker Interview
Candice Patton Interview
Keiynan Lonsdale Interview
Todd Helbing Interview

Watch the full Tom Cavanagh The Flash interview: