“We’re not really playing — I don’t wanna say games, but there’s no additional struggle going on with [Barry and Iris] towards the end of the season as we’re finishing up,” Grant, 33, told Us Weekly exclusively about how the show plans to wrap the couple’s story line. “They’re kind of leaning on each other. There’s obviously so much going on in Central City and [Barry and Iris are] expecting a baby and are about to become parents. They’re mostly just staying consistent and leaning on each other. This whole season, I think we really wanted to finish off seeing the beginning of their family and leaving [them] in a good place. I think that’s what we do. I mean, they just kind of get stronger and stronger as the season goes and we’re leaving them in a really good spot as a couple.”
The Glee alum, who has starred on The Flash since its premiere in 2014, made his first appearance as the superhero during a season 2 episode of Arrow the year prior. In March 2022, the CW announced the show — which is now the longest-running Arrowverse series on the network — would wrap up with a 13-episode ninth and final season.
Over the years, fans have grown attached to not only Team Flash, but the relationship between Barry (Gustin) and Iris West (Candice Patton), in particular, even lovingly dubbing the twosome “WestAllen.” The childhood friends to lovers — who first began dating in season 3 and have been together ever since — tied the knot in season 4 and are now proud parents-to-be. That stability, Gustin believes, is something that has contributed to fan’s attachment to the pairing.
“We went for it so early and then [Barry and Iris have] stayed so consistent,” he explained to Us. “Of course, they have, like any relationship, their bumps and struggles along the way. But they’re a pretty steadfast couple.”
The Virginia native added that while there have been “many” seasons where it “felt like WestAllen were separated,” the relationship between the couple has “always [been] consistent and strong” despite whatever was trying to pull them apart. “People probably enjoy that we didn’t really play the typical TV romance games,” he quipped.
One of the duo’s latest challenges was being introduced to their future children, Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy) and Bart (Jordan Fisher), who appeared on the series as adults. While Barry and Iris ultimately handled the strange situation fairly smoothly as a unit, it took Gustin — who shares 2-year-old daughter Juniper Grace Louise with wife Andrea “LA” Thoma — welcoming a child in real life to settle into being a dad on screen.
“Barry was more comfortable with the idea of being a parent to an adult than Grant was playing it,” the Supergirl alum told Us, laughing. “I think once I actually had a kid [who was] a newborn at the time, it was a little easier to, like, wrap my head around the idea of, ‘What if my daughter showed up 20 years in the future?’ I think I would accept the idea faster [now] … It was such a weird concept to me that he was so comfortable with the idea of being a parent to this adult. Having a kid made it a little easier for me to digest it and find ways to play it and connect with my adult child.”
Barry and Iris’ journey has been a core aspect of the longstanding series, but The Flash has soared because of its ensemble. While Gustin has enjoyed working with every one of his costars, he felt a particular loss when Carlos Valdes, who portrayed Cisco Ramon on the Arrowverse series, exited the show in season 7 — and even joked that the twosome could‘ve had a fun romance.
“Cisco’s my personal favorite character on the show, so, he’s [been] greatly missed. I also just love Carlos. I love being around Carlos,” Gustin gushed, adding that Valdes, 34, could make him both “laugh” and “cry” an equal amount while filming. “He’s a genius in many ways. I think their relationship was just always so strong and they were always so vulnerable with each other. I mean, they often had their own struggles as friends the same way Barry and Iris had as they grew and developed their relationship.”
While viewers have yet to see if Valdes will return for the series finale — which will air Wednesday, May 24 — Gustin, for his part, is looking forward to the “next chapter” with his family. That doesn’t mean, however, he wouldn’t be up for suiting up again in the future.
“I can’t wrap my head around it right now, obviously. But if someone called me today or tomorrow and was like, ‘Hey, we have this amazing Flash idea,’ obviously it’s like, I’m gonna take that phone call and listen to that idea,” he revealed. “And I think this is a character that I’m going to — no matter if I play it again [or not] — I’ll probably be associated with this character more than anything else in my career, for the rest of my life. So I’ll always listen to any Flash pitch.”
The Rescued by Ruby star added that he hasn’t “received any of those phone calls” but would “for sure be open” to playing the character again. “I mean, it’s very, very close to my heart. I think it always will be,” he told Us.
Sign up for Us Weekly’s free, daily newsletter and never miss breaking news or exclusive stories about your favorite celebrities, TV shows and more!
The Flash season 9 airs on The CW Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET.