'The Flash' Newcomer Keiynan Lonsdale Teases Wally West's Big Arrival, Opens Up About Meeting His Own Father
By Philiana Ng
Photo: The CW
A new speedster is coming to Central City and he’s shaking things up!
Australian actor Keiynan Lonsdale makes his anticipated debut on tonight’s midseason finale of The Flash as the beloved DC Comics character Wally West, who in comic lore becomes Kid Flash. On The CW series, he’s not quite ready to follow his superhero destiny just yet, though fans are brimming with excitement at the introduction of the future speedster.
“People have been waiting for Wally for a while so the anticipation is really built up,” Lonsdale, whose casting was announced in August, told ETonline. “I’m excited to see what the fans think and excited to see how he affects the dynamic of the West family and the show.”
In the holiday episode, titled “Running to Stand Still,” Wally arrives in town at a crucial time for the West household -- just a few episodes ago, Iris (Candice Patton) discovered her estranged and dying mother Francine (Vanessa Williams) gave birth to a son that her father Joe (Jesse L. Martin) doesn’t know exists.
It’s a storyline that’s near to Lonsdale’s heart -- he only just met his biological father and siblings a little over a decade ago. “I’m living my own reality,” Lonsdale said. “I love it when art imitates life. For me, it makes it mean even more and it means I can relate to what Wally’s going through.”
When Wally makes his presence known in Central City, he’s “a regular guy” trying to figure out his place in the world and his fractured family situation will complicate matters for Team Flash.
“That’s a difficult thing. You have one parent who’s sick and then you have one parent you all of a sudden are confronted with. That’s a lot to deal with,” the 23-year-old actor-dancer said. “That’s why Wally has a lot of walls up and he has his defenses built pretty high. It’s going to be tough for the Wests to figure that out and for everyone to connect.”
One relationship Lonsdale hopes will mirror the comics is Wally and Iris’ friendship, but it will take some time for the two West siblings to reach that point.
“The end goal is to have a close family, but in order for that to happen, everyone has to go through tough experiences and good experiences,” Lonsdale said of the West siblings’ journey. “I think together that will bring Iris and Wally closer. Once everyone figures out how to be with each other [and] once they’re not strangers anymore, once they can take down those walls that will allow a much closer connection. Fans will be pleased but it’s going to take some [time].”
If you’re expecting Joe to reject Wally once he discovers his fatherly ties to his son, it’s simply not going to happen.
“Joe is a good guy and he’s a great dad. I believe that applies to this situation -- he always steps up and becomes the person he needs to be, and Wally doesn’t necessarily make that easy for him to do,” Lonsdale said. “For Wally, there might be this awesome dude who says he’s your dad but trusting people for him is very difficult, especially when you’re going through hard times in your life. When someone is trying to protect you and you don’t know them, it can be quite frustrating.”
Another key character who will play an integral role in Wally’s life as he ascends to Kid Flash status is The Fastest Man Alive himself, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), though Lonsdale reveals the two won’t be getting along at the start.
“It’s like forcing two people to be siblings and for Wally, it’s like, well, there’s already a lot going on and now there’s this other guy -- him being Barry -- who is in the place Wally is trying to fit himself into [in the West family] so that’s difficult. That creates some tension,” Lonsdale teased.
Lonsdale is equally excited about the prospect of slipping into a suit and has little doubt that when the times comes, it’ll bring immense glee to fanboys and fangirls everywhere.
“It’s going to be a really cool thing when it does happen but I think it’s going to be a slow burn. On one hand, I hope it really takes a long time to get to that point but on the other hand, I really want to just put on the suit!” Lonsdale said with a laugh. “I want to find out what the suit looks like, I want to wear the suit and I want to run. Once it finally comes, Wally will be in the right place for that to happen.”
Even so, the actor points to the winter return in January 2016 as one of his favorite episodes he’s been a part of, specifically one scene “that has a lot of tension built up.”
“It’s going to break some hearts, but not for good reasons,” Lonsdale hinted.
The Flash's midseason finale airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.