Danielle Panabaker Previews New ‘Flash’ Role, What It Means for Caitlin
The forecast calls for Snow as The Flash continues its farewell run this Wednesday at 8/7c.
When last we tuned into the Arrowverse’s longest-running series, Barry (played by Grant Gustin) had received a text from Caitlin’s phone, saying to come to the STAR Labs lounge. But the blue-and-brown haired woman he found there was in fact not Caitlin, and it definitely isn’t dearly departed Frost.
So, who is it that Barry, Iris et al will get to know a bit better when the second of this season’s 13 episodes opens this Wednesday night? TVLine invited original cast member (and sometime director) Danielle Panabaker to share a preview. Plus, what was her reaction when Gustin called with the final-season news?
TVLINE | When did you first learn who or what was going to be introducing herself to Barry in the season premiere?
I think that at the end of Season 8, [showrunner] Eric [Wallace] was already sort of working on this idea. He had two broad strokes in his mind at that point. So, I knew when we were wrapping up Season 8 that I would be coming back in Season 9 as a different character. I knew I would not be Caitlin and, obviously, not Frost.
TVLINE | In your own words, tell us a bit about who we’re going to get to know better this Wednesday night.
On Wednesday night, we start to learn a little bit more about this character who we call “Snow” in the beginning, and she spends a little bit of time with Team Flash. We also understand how she came to Team Flash, who brought her over [to S.T.A.R. Labs] and is helping her on her journey. She has a partner that she’s working with, and that starts to unfold in a more surprising and darker of a storyline, I think, than anyone originally anticipates when they first meet her.
TVLINE | How would you describe Snow’s initial vibe with the team?
This character is a different flavor, and I think that’s part of the challenge of making a show for nine seasons, for 180-whatever episodes — finding characters that still feel fresh and have a different perspective. So, Snow is different than anyone that’s been around Team Flash before. She is a new flavor, absolutely.
TVLINE | As an actress, did you enjoy that challenge, finding some new nuance to give this character? To deliver your lines in a new way, maybe tilt your head a bit differently….
Oh, absolutely. I was really grateful that Eric [Wallace] directed Episode 902, because this character was always something that Eric had in mind, and to be able to work and collaborate with him in order to really find this character and sort of interpret what he had envisioned…. I don’t think it could have been done, or done as well, with any other director.
TVLINE | Now, what does Snow’s arrival mean for Caitlin? Because last we saw her, she was the one heading into the glass coffin….
It is not good news for Caitlin, I will say that. [Laughs] Poor Caitlin has just had a rough go of it these last few years!
TVLINE | When I spoke with Eric last week, he talked up the significance of your new character and how she’ll eventually factor into the series finale. Did that get you excited, seeing her value in the grand scheme of things?
Absolutely. You know, Eric always has a plan in mind. Everything’s really intentional with him, going back many, many seasons, so I always am excited to see how the different storylines are going to tie together.
TVLINE | Besides Snow’s introduction or Episode 9, which you directed [and guest-stars Stephen Amell, David Ramsey and others], is there any other episode this season you’re particularly excited for fans to see?
I think it’s a really fun season all around. You saw how Episode 1 tried to embrace some of the levity that we really had going for us in some earlier seasons, and it’s so nice to see that comedy. I also think it’s nice to let the audience catch their breath, you know, amongst these very serious and scary situations, by seeing the characters having fun. You get a little moment of that at the end of [this week’s episode]. It’s fun to see that sprinkled throughout the season, to see Barry and Iris in love, heading toward their happily ever after.
TVLINE | Lastly, has there been a moment where this being The Flash‘s truly final season hit you?
When Grant called last summer to tell me, I laughed and said, “I’m not sure I believe you because I’ve heard this before!” And then when the news actually hit the press, the first thing I texted him was, “OK, I believe you now.” So, that’s our relationship for you.
It definitely has felt real this season, and I think it’s hit me in different waves. I will say that when directing [Episode 9], I got a little emotional because I have such gratitude for the show and the people who make this show. Oftentimes actors, because we’re the face of the show, get a lot of the attention for it, but this is truly a team sport. And it’s not just the few of us who’ve been here for nine seasons or whatever; there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people working behind the scenes that make the show so special and that I’ve, in particular as a director, gotten the opportunity to collaborate with in a different capacity. I am extremely grateful to all of them and for this opportunity, and to get to direct, knowing that it would be my last time doing it alongside these people who mean so much to me.
We’re just a few weeks away from wrapping up, and I’ll be sad to say goodbye to a lot of the people I’ve worked with. When you work the hours we work, you spend more time with your coworkers than you do with your family, it seems.
TVLINE | You’ve spent many chilly “Fraterdays” in Vancouver working together!
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