INTERVIEW: Danielle Panabaker (The Flash)

Published in The Music (WA & NSW) and on, June 2015



As The Flash’s writers’ room opens for a second season, star Danielle Panabaker recaps an epic, “heartbreaking” season one with Daniel Cribb and speculates on what’s next. Spoilers ahead.

Season one of DC Comic’s The Flash shot to the forefront of TV ratings around the globe shortly after debuting in October last year, and with the finale airing only weeks before star Danielle Panabaker, who plays bio-engineer Caitlin Snow in the show, heads Down Under for Supanova, she’s still somewhat in mourning when answering her phone. “It was so sad,” Panabaker begins on the show’s “devastating” season finale – second and final spoiler warning.

With the show loosely working off the comic book’s time travel storyline, antagonist Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) and good cop Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett) literally met fast and timely deaths, but there’s some good news for those still struggling to comprehend the revelation. “Unfortunately, Rick Cosnett will not be a series regular next year. I don’t know if he’ll come back in any other capacity, but Tom Cavanagh will be back for season two.”

The final episode set out to answer a wealth of questions raised throughout the previous 22, while tying up loose ends and dropping hints for season two, but due to 25 minutes being cut to make it fit its timeslot, one major question remains. “A question I get a lot on Twitter is about how the meta-humans who are in the pipeline go to the bathroom, and there was a moment they had in the finale that explained that, but unfortunately due to time restrictions, they had to cut that scene,” Panabaker reveals. “I guess that there’s a toilet that pops out of the wall?” she laughs.

It was the time given to each character throughout the season that allowed viewers to build connections with almost every cast member. “I think that’s what’s great about our show. You get a little bit of everything; you get the hero and the big epic battles, but there is a lot of heart in our show and it can be heartbreaking at times.”

Although Panabaker starred on recently-wrapped TV hits Justified and Mad Men, her connection with The Flash is all the stronger because of being there from day one. The difference between her characters on all three shows reveals her diverse skill set and, as far as The Flash is concerned, she’s only just begun to utilise her talent pool.

In the comics, Caitlin Snow becomes supervillain Killer Frost, as teased in a somewhat cryptic manor as the finale approached. “[That] is not necessarily indicative of what’s happening in season two – I think it could be at any point in the future, so I’m extremely excited about the potential of playing Killer Frost, but I’m not sure it’s going to happen next year in season two.”

With intense filming schedules that often result in 14-hour days wrapping at 2am, it’s easy to imagine the reason Panabaker doesn’t carefully study the comic books to shape her transformation into Killer Frost is time restrictions, but it’s more a choice. “I’ve read a few of the comics, but I do think what’s great about our show is that they stay faithful to the comics but also kind of do their own spin on it, so I’m anxious to see how our writers choose to take Caitlin Snow on that journey.”

Sitting on the same network as fellow DC comic TV series Arrow, there were numerous crossover episodes between the two that saw both shows grow to more engaging and exciting levels. It’s the depth and character integration that makes that show so rewarding for fans. John Wesley Shipp, who played Barry Allen in the 1990 series, plays The Flash’s father in this series, Prison Break stars Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell reunite as villains Captain Cold and Mick Rory, Ronnie Raymond is played by Robbie Amell, brother to Arrow lead Stephen Amell, and the list goes on. When time travel and multiple timelines were introduced, the Internet exploded with fan theories and predictions. The Flash’s ending to season one may have taken the show to new levels, but it’s clear the DC franchise is only beginning to scratch the surface of its potential. After spending part of her hiatus in Sydney and Perth for Supanova, Panabaker will return to the set the first week of July to begin shooting its second season. “I think it’s incredible what DC Entertainment has done with [The Flash], and really made it accessible and done such a great job of producing really great television on almost a weekly basis.

“The writers’ room is just opening up and getting started, so there’s not much that I know; I’m not sure there’s much anyone knows about season two, but I can’t wait for it.”