Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for the flash season 8, episode 18.
A new theory suggests that the version of Eobard Thawne introduced during the flash season 8 came from a time in the past – before it became the Reverse-Flash. Eobard Thawne’s story is difficult to map, given his extensive travel through time, space, alternate realities, and alternate timelines. This means that there are multiple explanations for how an amnesiac and seemingly reformed Eobard Thawne could have existed in Central City in 2022, despite apparently being killed multiple times and erased from existence.
In the original version the flash comics, Thawne was a Flash fanboy from the future who traveled back in time to meet his idol after replicating the circumstances that gave him superspeed. After appearing at the Flash Museum and admiring the exhibits, Thawne discovered, to his horror, that he was destined to become the archenemy of the hero he had revered all his life. This knowledge drove Thawne insane, driving him to devote himself to replacing his former hero or destroying him so he could regain his life.
The exact reasons why the Arrowverse version of Eobard Thawne (Tom Cavanagh) hates Barry Allen have never been revealed, though he has tried to kill and replace him on several occasions. Their most recent battle was during the Armageddon event which opens the flash season 8, where Thawne attempted to trade places with Barry Allen in an alternate future timeline he dubbed the Reverse-Flashpoint. This version of Thawne, who had taken on the appearance of scientist Harrison Wells, was depowered and locked away in a secure ARGUS facility on Lian Yu. This made him all the more surprising when the first Eobard Thawne (Matt Letscher ) appeared in Central City with his original face.
The new Eobard Thawne explained
The new Eobard Thawne first appeared in the flash season 8, episode 18, “The Man with the Yellow Tie”, where he was introduced to Barry Allen as the head of engineering at Fast Track Labs. Thawne had been working there for just over a year, having been hired after it took him seconds to solve a complex equation that had baffled Dr. Meena Dhawan (Kausar Mohammed) for months. He turned out to be a model employee and came to help Dr. Dhawan with his secret project, helping him create an artificial Speed Force.
Thawne and Dhawan fell in love over the next year, with Thawne revealing to his new partner that he had no memory of his past beyond occasional flashes and a firm belief that he was meant to be a speedster. The two worked on building the futuristic machine Thawne had envisioned, which the imprisoned Reverse-Flash identified as the Oscillation Chamber he created as part of his Negative Speed Force when he was questioned by Barry Allen regarding the identity of the new Thawne. They had planned to use Thawne as a test subject for their speed machine, but fate had other plans in store for the pair.
Dhawan suffered from a heart condition which brought her into cardiac arrest the night Thawne was to be self-supported. Faced with the choice between the speed he craved and the woman he loved, Thawne chose to place Dr. Meena Dhawan in the Oscillation Chamber, which could only be used to empower one person. This saved her life and gave her super speed, but it also made her increasingly erratic due to the corrupting influence of the negative speed force they had accidentally harnessed. With the help of Barry Allen, the new Eboard Thawne was able to save the soul of the woman he loved. Additionally, his story convinced The Flash that regardless of the crimes committed by the other versions of Eobard Thawne, this Thawne variant had found redemption through the power of love.
Is the new Thawne a relic of time or a look-alike?
While the events of the flash season 8, episode 18, “The Man with the Yellow Tie” convinced Barry Allen that this new Thawne was a good man, they did nothing to explain where he came from. Barry cycled through several possibilities during the episode, first theorizing that Thawne was from a divergent timeline, like Flashpoint. Thawne’s Flashpoint variant then created several Time Remnants while fighting as part of the Legion of Doom in Legends of tomorrow season 2, before apparently being destroyed by the Black Flash. This raised the possibility that the new Thawne was one of these remnants or a doppelganger of Eobard Thawne from another Earth.
Another interesting possibility was hinted at in the final moments of “The Man with the Yellow Tie,” when STAR Labs received a call from Dr. Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) after Chester contacted him asking for suggestions on how a new Eobard Thawne could exist in 2022. Ray revealed that he spoke with Dr. Nate Heywood (Nick Zano) who recounted the events of Legends of tomorrow season 7 to him and how the legends had apparently witnessed the death of the original Eobard Thawne. Ray also explained how Thawne was recruited by the Time Wraiths and died a hero, helping them save the timeline. It was Ray’s hopeful belief that the Time Wraiths had somehow resurrected Thawne as a reward for his heroism and placed him somewhere where he could do good and find the love he never had. never enjoyed in his first life.
Theory: The new Thawne comes from the past
Although Ray’s theory is a romantic idea, it doesn’t match the little information known about the Time Wraiths. Although powerful, the Time Wraiths’ abilities are limited to the time sphere, and they only seem to be able to hit speedsters due to their connection to the Speed Force. If the Time Wraiths possessed complete power over life and death, they wouldn’t need to bother employing rogue speedsters and time travelers like Booster Gold as guardians of the timeline. They could just make sure that any troublesome time travelers were never born, to begin with.
The simplest explanation for why the new Thawne doesn’t remember anything from his time as the Reverse-Flash is that he hasn’t become the Reverse-Flash yet, coming from the distant past. This, coupled with the fact that we still don’t know how he came to hate Barry Allen in the Arrowverse, raises the troubling possibility that we could see how their rivalry began shortly. While it would be nice to believe that true love could conquer all in the world of the flashthe death of Dr. Meena Dhawan at the hands of Barry Allen could easily push the new Thawne on the road to revenge and lead to him becoming the Reverse-Flash for the first time.
More: The Flash Properly Resolves John Diggle’s Green Lantern Fate
the flash releases new episodes Wednesdays on The CW.
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